Simon Lightwood Portrait

Simon Lightwood

Labour (Co-op) - Wakefield

First elected: 23rd June 2022

Shadow Minister (Transport)

(since September 2022)

Simon Lightwood is not a member of any APPGs
1 Former APPG membership
Music Education
Seafarers' Wages Bill [HL]
11th Jan 2023 - 17th Jan 2023


Scheduled Event
Tuesday 12th March 2024
Ten Minute Rule Motion - Main Chamber
Details to be provided
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Department Event
Thursday 21st March 2024
09:30
Department for Transport
Oral questions - Main Chamber
21 Mar 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Transport (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Tuesday 27th February 2024
Leasehold and Freehold Reform Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 150 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 179 Noes - 294
Speeches
Wednesday 28th February 2024
Pedicabs (London) Bill [Lords]
I agree with my hon. Friend. I would have liked to have seen the Government hold to their promise of …
Written Answers
Tuesday 27th February 2024
Personation
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to his Department's policy paper entitled Fraud strategy, …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 20th March 2023
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: Wakefield Council
Address of donor: Wakefield One, PO Box 700, Wakefield WF1 2EB
Amount of donation or …
EDM signed
Monday 11th July 2022
Maximum temperature in the workplace
That this House notes that recent surveys of workplace health and safety representatives show that high temperatures are one of …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Simon Lightwood has voted in 283 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

7 Dec 2022 - Landlord and Tenant - View Vote Context
Simon Lightwood voted Aye - against a party majority and in line with the House
One of 1 Labour Aye votes vs 141 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 291 Noes - 159
View All Simon Lightwood 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
Lindsay Hoyle (Speaker)
(8 debate interactions)
Rebecca Pow (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
(5 debate interactions)
Richard Holden (Conservative)
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
(5 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department for Transport
(19 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(8 debate contributions)
Home Office
(6 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
Legislation Debates
Pedicabs (London) Bill [HL] 2023-24
(877 words contributed)
Illegal Migration Act 2023
(487 words contributed)
Seafarers’ Wages Act 2023
(207 words contributed)
View All Legislation Debates
View all Simon Lightwood's debates

Wakefield 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).

Simon Lightwood has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Simon Lightwood

11th July 2022
Simon Lightwood signed this EDM on Monday 11th July 2022

Maximum temperature in the workplace

Tabled by: Ian Mearns (Labour - Gateshead)
That this House notes that recent surveys of workplace health and safety representatives show that high temperatures are one of their top concerns; regrets that workers in the UK have no guaranteed legal safeguards from working in uncomfortable high temperatures, and that the consequences of this range from dizziness, tiredness, …
56 signatures
(Most recent: 10 Jul 2023)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 35
Scottish National Party: 9
Independent: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Liberal Democrat: 2
Conservative: 1
Green Party: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
Alba Party: 1
View All Simon Lightwood's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Simon Lightwood, 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.


Simon Lightwood has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Simon Lightwood has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Simon Lightwood has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Simon Lightwood has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


146 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
2 Other Department Questions
12th Jun 2023
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the statutory safeguards to prevent people with disabilities being overlooked for promotion in employment.

The Equality Act 2010 states that it is unlawful direct discrimination for an employer to treat a disabled employee less favourably than one who does not have a disability. This would include decisions on promotion within an organisation.

The 2010 Act additionally places a reasonable adjustment duty on employers that could be relevant to how a promotion exercise is conducted, for example ensuring job application forms are accessible to visually impaired employees and job interviews are accessible to the deaf or hard of hearing.

The 2010 Act also enables employers to take positive action to increase the number of senior managers who are disabled, where this is disproportionately low. For example, where two candidates are equally qualified for a role and one is disabled, positive action allows the employer to select the disabled candidate.

Where disabled employees, as defined under the 2010 Act, feel that they have been unfairly passed over for promotion, they may discuss their concerns with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), which provides authoritative and impartial advice free to employees or employers in relation to employment discrimination issues via their website (http://www.acas.org.uk) and telephone helpline 0300 123 1100 or text relayservice to 18001 0300 123 1100. Acas also provides employees and employers with Early Conciliation to help them resolve/settle their workplace dispute without going to court.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, what steps her Department is taking before publishing the gambling white paper; and when she plans to publish that paper.

The Gambling Act Review is wide-ranging and aims to ensure that gambling regulation is fit for the digital age. We are finalising a White Paper setting out our conclusions and next steps and will publish it in due course.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, when the Government expects to complete processes and exchange diplomatic notes with Australia so that a commencement date can be set for the UK - Australia Free Trade Agreement.

Our ground-breaking free trade agreement (FTA) with Australia is our first ‘from scratch’ since we left the EU, and is set to benefit every nation and region of the UK. We are working hard to bring the FTA into force at the earliest opportunity so businesses and consumers can reap the benefits.

The Trade (Australia and New Zealand) Act received Royal Assent on 23 March and we are working to lay the remaining statutory instruments required to implement the agreement, and to complete the remaining procedural steps, as soon as possible. We expect to be able to bring the agreement into force this spring.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will make an assessment of the impact on (a) consumers and (b) businesses of the recent cyber attack on Royal Mail.

The cyber incident affecting Royal Mail is an operational matter for the business to address. Royal Mail has been working with the National Cyber Security Centre and law enforcement partners to resolve the incident.

Universal postal service performance standards are set and monitored by Ofcom as the independent regulator for postal services. Ofcom requires Royal Mail to have plans in place in the event of an incident that may severely disrupt postal services and it has informed Ofcom of the incident.

Ofcom continues to monitor Royal Mail’s performance to ensure it is providing the best service possible to its customers.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, pursuant to the Answer of 22 May 2023 to Question 185463 on Alternative Fuel Payments: Houseboats, what progress his Department has made on establishing whether there is a robust method for households without a permanent address to be able to claim the alternative fuel payment support.

The Government has determined that the most robust mechanism available for establishing whether someone resides permanently on a boat for the purposes of the EBSS Alternative Funding is to use the Canal and River Trust’s list of those who cruise continuously and held a long-term licence during the application window for the scheme.

Therefore, the Government has set up a process to issue a £600 support voucher to those itinerant boat dwellers through the Energy Bills Support Scheme Alternative Funding for continuous cruisers. Eligible individuals will not need to apply for this support.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
16th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether his Department plans to announce details of an alternative fuel payment for people who live on houseboats as continuous cruisers.

The Government has been engaging with key stakeholder groups who represent those households without a permanent address. The Government is keen to support these households to ensure they can receive energy bills support. Officials are working to establish whether there is a robust method for these households to provide proof of eligibility, whilst protecting public funds, so they can claim the AFP support.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
29th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether people who live on houseboats as continuous cruisers are eligible to receive the alternative fuel payment.

The Government is keen to support these households and to ensure that they can receive the Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) via the Alternative Fund (AF) where eligible. The Government is currently working to find an acceptable method for these households to provide proof of eligibility, whilst protecting public funds, so they can claim the AFP AF support.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
15th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many SMEs in Wakefield constituency have received Government support in the last 12 months.

The Government recognises the impact rising prices are having on businesses, including those in Wakefield.

Businesses in Wakefield will have benefitted from the Government’s reversal of the National Insurance rise, saving SMEs on average £4,200, cut fuel duty for 12 months and the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, to protect SMEs from high energy costs over the winter. The Employment Allowance was increased to £5,000 from April and we have continued to provide business rate relief worth over £7bn, freezing the business rates multiplier for a further year.

The Government is providing financial support - 309 SMEs in Wakefield have received Start Up Loans to the value of £3,833,148 as of November 2022.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has had discussions with businesses in Wakefield on the potential impact of the cost of living crisis on those businesses.

The Government recognises the impact rising prices are having on businesses, including those in Wakefield.

The Government has reversed the National Insurance rise, saving SMEs £4,200 on average, cut fuel duty for 12 months and brought in the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, which is shielding businesses across the country from soaring energy prices, saving some around half of their wholesale energy costs. The Employment Allowance was increased to £5,000 from April and we have continued to provide business rate relief worth over £7bn, freezing the business rates multiplier for a further year.

We have also announced £13.6 billion of support for businesses over the next five years, reducing the burden of business rates for SMEs.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that small and medium-sized enterprises in Wakefield constituency are receiving the correct level of support under the Energy Bill Relief Scheme.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme is set out clearly in legislation so will be applied in a uniform way by all licensed suppliers. The regulations include a robust compliance and enforcement regime to ensure requirements are being met. Suppliers are also required to inform customers about the details of support, including the amount of the discount and discounted supply price.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
8th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when further details of the Alternative Fuel Payments scheme will be announced and when payments will be made to eligible households.

The vast majority of Alternative Fuel Payments eligible households in Great Britain will receive payment automatically via their electricity supplier with no need to take any action, and we anticipate this payment being made as soon as possible in the new year.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
27th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department is taking steps to provide financial support to people who were previously eligible for the Warm Home Discount Scheme and are no longer eligible following changes in eligibility criteria.

The Government has expanded and reformed the Warm Home Discount scheme in England and Wales to target fuel poverty better, provide the majority of the rebates automatically, and standardise the eligibility across all participating energy suppliers. Over 3 million households will receive a rebate this winter.

Energy suppliers can provide additional support to households through the Industry Initiatives portion of the scheme, through measures such as financial assistance, debt write-off, benefit entitlement checks, energy advice, and energy efficiency.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
27th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department will take steps to provide support for people who do not have electricity provided through a domestic electricity supply contract and cannot access the Energy Bills Support Scheme.

As announced on 29 July, the EBSS Alternative Funding will be available to provide equivalent support of £400 for energy bills for households that will not receive the EBSS. This includes those who do not have a domestic electricity meter or a direct relationship with an energy supplier.

The Government is finalising the details of the Alternative Funding to ensure the process is up and running for applications this winter.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
25th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to (a) encourage entrepreneurship and (b) support small business expansion.

The Government is committed to supporting SMEs through exemption of new regulations where possible. This exemption was recently extended to businesses with up to 500 employees, potentially reducing red tape and bureaucracy for up to 40,000 more businesses.

The British Business Bank is supporting over £12.2bn of finance to over 96,000 SMEs. Schemes include Start-Up Loans and the Recovery Loan Scheme.

The Government has also acted to reverse the National Insurance rise, which will save small businesses £4,200 on average.

19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what support his Department is providing for (a) electricity-only households and (b) those with inefficient Economy 7 storage heaters which require upgrades.

The Energy Bills Support Scheme (EBSS) is delivering a £400 non-repayable government discount. Electricity suppliers are delivering this support to British households with a domestic electricity meter over six months from October 2022. The Department will closely monitor the impact of prices on consumption over the months ahead and is actively considering how storage heaters are affected by the scheme.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
10th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of decoupling renewable energy from the wholesale energy market, in the context of the impact of gas prices on that market.

The Government has introduced the Energy Prices Bill, including powers to help address the link between high global gas prices and the cost of low-carbon electricity, allowing consumers to benefit from the ‘green dividend’ of low-priced clean energy.

The Government recently launched the Review of Electricity Market Arrangements (REMA) - a major review into Britain’s electricity market design. It is considering a broad range of enduring reforms, including ways of increasing investment in low carbon capacity which would result in gas-fired generation being the price setter for electricity less often, and reforms to the wholesale market so that volatile gas prices do not set the price of cheaper renewables, which could have the effect of decoupling gas and electricity prices.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to page 28 of the Policy paper entitled High stakes: gambling reform for the digital age, published on 27 April 2023, what threshold the Government plans to apply to determine the largest competitions; and whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of regulating online competitions below that threshold.

Prize draws and competitions have grown significantly in popularity in recent years, and given they sit outside of existing regulation, it’s right that the Government should explore the potential for regulating the largest competitions of this type.

Our first priority is to gather data and evidence about the size of the market for prize draws and the scale of possible gambling-related harm. We will then assess the impact and proportionality of different potential regulatory approaches as part of a consultation, including potential thresholds for regulation.

Stuart Andrew
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 2 May 2023 to Question 182481 on Secondary Education: Teachers, whether her Department is taking steps to ensure the quality of continuing professional development provision for non-specialist teachers teaching religious education.

The number of teachers remains high, with over 468,000 full time equivalent teachers working in state funded schools across the country, over 27,000 more than there were in 2010.

The Department provides funded Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) courses for 9 subjects, including religious education, for those who have yet to start an initial teacher training course. Eligibility is subject to an applicant meeting the requirements to train to teach in England and the applicant accepting a conditional offer which specifies the requirement to complete a SKE course. Eligible participants can receive a bursary of £175 per week. Religious education courses last 8 weeks.

Once teachers are qualified and working in schools, the responsibility for supporting non specialist teachers rests with head teachers, as they are best placed to assess the needs of their staff and provide appropriate support, such as continuing professional development.

Oak National Academy will provide both specialist and non specialist teachers with access to high quality digital curriculum resources. This includes resources for religious education. Oak will work closely with the sector and utilise sector expertise when developing these new curriculum resources.

The Department has also transformed the training and support available to teachers of all subjects. An entitlement to at least three years of structured training, support and professional development for all new teachers has been created, to bring teaching into line with other prestigious professions such as law, accountancy and medicine. Underpinning this is the new Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework and the Early Career Framework, and together, these ensure that new teachers will benefit from at least three years of evidence based training, across ITT and into their induction.

Beyond the first few years of teaching, the Department’s priority is to help all teachers and head teachers to continuously develop their expertise throughout their careers so that all pupils get the best start in life.

National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) are available to education professionals at all levels, from those who want to develop expertise in high quality teaching practice, to those leading multiple schools across trusts. The qualifications have been designed with professionals in mind, using the latest and best available evidence, and can be completed flexibly around existing commitments.

Four specialist NPQs are available, for those who want to broaden their existing knowledge, expertise, and skills in specialist areas of teaching practice including an NPQ in Leading Teaching where participants will learn how to lead the teaching of a subject, year, group or phase.

4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 2 May 2023 to Question 182481 on Secondary Education: Teachers, whether her Department (a) provides and (b) plans to provide support for non-specialist teachers who do not qualify for an eight-week subject knowledge enhancement course and need to increase their subject knowledge for religious education.

The number of teachers remains high, with over 468,000 full time equivalent teachers working in state funded schools across the country, over 27,000 more than there were in 2010.

The Department provides funded Subject Knowledge Enhancement (SKE) courses for 9 subjects, including religious education, for those who have yet to start an initial teacher training course. Eligibility is subject to an applicant meeting the requirements to train to teach in England and the applicant accepting a conditional offer which specifies the requirement to complete a SKE course. Eligible participants can receive a bursary of £175 per week. Religious education courses last 8 weeks.

Once teachers are qualified and working in schools, the responsibility for supporting non specialist teachers rests with head teachers, as they are best placed to assess the needs of their staff and provide appropriate support, such as continuing professional development.

Oak National Academy will provide both specialist and non specialist teachers with access to high quality digital curriculum resources. This includes resources for religious education. Oak will work closely with the sector and utilise sector expertise when developing these new curriculum resources.

The Department has also transformed the training and support available to teachers of all subjects. An entitlement to at least three years of structured training, support and professional development for all new teachers has been created, to bring teaching into line with other prestigious professions such as law, accountancy and medicine. Underpinning this is the new Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Core Content Framework and the Early Career Framework, and together, these ensure that new teachers will benefit from at least three years of evidence based training, across ITT and into their induction.

Beyond the first few years of teaching, the Department’s priority is to help all teachers and head teachers to continuously develop their expertise throughout their careers so that all pupils get the best start in life.

National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) are available to education professionals at all levels, from those who want to develop expertise in high quality teaching practice, to those leading multiple schools across trusts. The qualifications have been designed with professionals in mind, using the latest and best available evidence, and can be completed flexibly around existing commitments.

Four specialist NPQs are available, for those who want to broaden their existing knowledge, expertise, and skills in specialist areas of teaching practice including an NPQ in Leading Teaching where participants will learn how to lead the teaching of a subject, year, group or phase.

24th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department plans to take steps to increase the confidence of non-subject specialist secondary teachers in teaching (a) music, (b) drama and theatre, (c) religious education and (d) geography as additional subjects.

The number of teachers remains high, with over 465,500 full-time equivalent (FTE) working in state funded schools across the country, which is over 24,000 more than in 2010.

To improve recruitment in particular subjects, a range of measures have been put in place, including bursaries, to encourage talented trainees to teach key subjects. For example, geography trainees may receive a tax-free bursary of £25,000.

Responsibility for supporting non-specialist teachers rests with secondary schools, as they are best placed to assess the needs of their staff and provide appropriate support, such as continuing professional development (CPD). The Department provides support to schools through a range of relevant programmes, including in music, English (which includes drama), religious education (RE) and geography.

Through the existing Music Hub programme, the Department will be placing a stronger emphasis on CPD for music education. Music Hubs currently offer CPD support, including to non-specialist secondary music teachers.

In RE, the Department is continuing to offer eight-week subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) courses, for candidates who have the potential to become outstanding teachers, but need to increase their subject knowledge. More information on these courses is available at: www.gov.uk/guidance/subject-knowledge-enhancement-an-introduction.

Although the Department does not provide specific funding for geography, non-specialist teachers secondary teachers can access resources offered by the Geographical Association at all stages of their careers to ensure they receive appropriate support and to enable them to constantly improve their practice.

Across all these subjects, curriculum resources will be procured by Oak National Academy, starting with English, geography and music in the first tranche of work and subsequently for RE during the second tranche of its work. Oak will work closely with the sector and utilise sector experience when producing new materials. This will ensure that high-quality lessons are available nationwide, benefitting specialist and non-specialist secondary teachers, as well as pupils.

Additionally, National Professional Qualifications (NPQs) are available to education professionals at all levels, from those who want to develop expertise in high quality teaching practice, to those leading multiple schools across trusts. The qualifications have been designed with professionals in mind, using the latest and best available evidence, and can be completed flexibly around existing commitments.

Four specialist NPQs are available for those who want to broaden their existing knowledge, expertise, and skills in specialist areas of teaching practice. This includes an NPQ in Leading Teaching, where participants will learn how to lead the teaching and learning of a subject, year, group or phase.

17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to support neurodiverse university students; and whether she supports mandatory neurodiversity training for university staff.

This government believes it is important that all students, including those with neurodiverse conditions and/or disabilities, receive an appropriate level of support wherever and whatever they choose to study. The government is committed to ensuring that all students receive the support they need to enable them to study alongside their fellow students on an equal basis.

The government expects all higher education (HE) providers to fulfil their responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 to be making reasonable adjustments for all students, including students with neurodiverse conditions and disabled HE students, not just those in receipt of Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA).

In terms of funding, DSA is available in addition to the standard support package to help students with the additional costs they may face in HE because of their disability, including long-term health conditions, mental health conditions, or specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia.

DSA is not means tested and does not have to be repaid. It is available to full-time and part-time students at undergraduate and postgraduate level, alongside support available from HE providers, and in line with the recommendations of the student’s DSA Needs Assessment. There is no list of approved disabilities: to receive DSA, any student must be eligible for the main support package and disabled in line with the definition contained in the Equality Act 2010.

Wherever possible, disabled students and students with neurodiverse conditions should expect to have their needs met through inclusive learning practices and individual reasonable adjustments made by their HE providers.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Government takes to help ensure that families are kept together throughout the fostering and adoption process.

Before the decision is made to remove a child, local authorities, where possible, offer early help and support in order to keep the families together. In ‘Children's Social Care: Stable Homes, Built on Love’, the government has outlined plans to build on the strengths of current early help services, through the creation of Family Help. The aim is to provide effective, joined up support to help families overcome multiple and complex problems before they escalate. Further details are available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/childrens-social-care-stable-homes-built-on-love.

The department recognises the value of family arrangements, including Kinship Care. We have made a commitment to implement or explore each of the recommendations on Kinship Care from the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care, including a commitment to invest £9 million to establish a new kinship carer training offer in this Spending Review period and over £45 million to begin implementing family network support packages through the Families First for Children pathfinder. As part of this, the department will also invest in pilots that solely focus on Family Network Support Packages, in seven local areas. These pilots will allow us to test and evaluate the impact of these packages on keeping families together and keeping children out of care, and build on the investment we have already made to establish a network of up to 100 peer support groups for kinship carers across England.

When it is not possible for a child to live with their parent, a person with parental responsibility, or someone named in a child arrangements order, section 22C of the Children Act 1989 states that the local authority must:

  • Give preference to a placement with an individual who is a relative, friend or other person connected with the child.
  • Be satisfied that placement with foster carers is, in their opinion the most appropriate placement available.
  • Ensure as far as reasonably practicable that the placement allows the child to live near their home and does not disrupt their education.

The Children Act 1989 makes clear that when determining the most appropriate placement for a looked after child who has a sibling, the local authority must also, as far as reasonably practicable, ensure the placement is such that the child can live with their sibling if that sibling is also looked after.

Where a child is placed in foster care, the local authority has a duty to promote contact between the child and their friends, relatives and others connected to the child or with parental responsibility, unless this is not reasonably practical or consistent with the child’s welfare. Details for promoting and maintaining contact must be included in the child’s care plan.

Where the court decides the best decision for the child is adoption, it is important that siblings are placed together. The adoption statutory guidance says that siblings should be adopted by the same prospective adopter, unless there is good reason why they should not be. Where an agency is making a placement decision on two or more children from the same family, it should be based on a comprehensive assessment of the quality of the children’s relationship, their individual needs and the likely capacity of the prospective adopter to meet the needs of all the siblings being placed together. Where it is not possible for the siblings to be placed together, the agency should carefully consider the need for the children to remain in contact with each other and the need for adoption support.

Where safe and appropriate, maintaining relationships with birth family members is important to wellbeing of the child. The government committed to improving contact practice in the National Adoption Strategy. Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) leaders are trialling what good contact practice looks like, with a view to setting national standards in this area. RAAs are also currently trialling a programme called ‘Letterswap,’ a new digital platform to improve the current ‘Letterbox’ system.

Claire Coutinho
Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero
20th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to support schools with costs associated with the removal of asbestos from school buildings where it is deemed necessary due to the repair or development of those buildings.

Well-maintained, safe school buildings are a priority for the Department. The Department takes the issue of asbestos in schools seriously and is committed to supporting schools, Local Authorities and Academy Trusts to fulfil their duty to manage asbestos safely.

The Department has allocated over £13 billion for improving school buildings since 2015, including £1.8 billion committed for the 2022/23 financial year. This funding can be used for asbestos removal during the completion of works when it is required.

The Department expects all Local Authorities, governing bodies and Academy Trusts to have robust plans in place to manage asbestos in school buildings effectively, in line with their legal duties. To support this, the Department published updated guidance on ‘Managing asbestos in your School’ in 2020, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/asbestos-management-in-schools.

The Department follows expert advice from the Health and Safety Executive that as long as asbestos-containing materials are in good condition, well protected, and are unlikely to be worked on, it is usually safer to manage them in place. Asbestos is often removed as part of wider work to improve or replace buildings. Asbestos containing materials should also be removed if they are likely to be disturbed during routine maintenance work or daily use of the building, and will release fibres, without being easily repaired and protected.

6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many zero emission buses had been allocated Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas funding as of 6 February 2024; and how many of those buses (a) have been ordered and (b) are on the road as of that date.

The following table presents information on the number of zero emission buses funded through the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas 1 (ZEBRA 1) programme by local transport authority. The numbers in this table are not official statistics: they are based on the latest information available and are therefore indicative and subject to change.

ZEBRA 1 funding was awarded in March 2022 for local transport authorities except Oxfordshire who received funding in December 2022.

Local Transport Authority

Number of buses funded

Number of buses ordered

Number of buses in service

Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority

30

30

30

Kent County Council

33

33

0

Leicester City Council

116

116

74

Warrington Borough Council

105

105

0

South Yorkshire Combined Authority

27

27

0

Norfolk County Council

70

70

26

North Yorkshire County Council

39

39

0

Portsmouth City Council & Hampshire County Council

62

62

0

Blackpool Council

90

0

0

Nottingham City Council

68

48

0

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

170

170

0

Hertfordshire County Council

27

0

0

West Midlands Combined Authority

124

0

0

City of York Council

53

53

27

West Yorkshire Combined Authority

136

119

0

Oxfordshire County Council

159

159

9

1,309

1,031

166

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate he has made of the number of laser attacks on airborne emergency service vehicles; and what assessment he has made of the impact of such attacks on those vehicles.

Whilst information on this is tracked through Mandatory Occurrence Forms, along with a range of other information, data on the specific number of incidences is not publicly released. However, I can say that in terms of a high-level trend, the current rate of laser incidents encountered by emergency service helicopters is similar to that of 2019 and 2020.

Anthony Browne
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many buses funded through the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas scheme (a) have been ordered and (b) are on the road.

The Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) 1 scheme provided funding to 16 local transport authorities in England outside London. The scheme will fund up to 1,300 zero emission buses, though this is subject to change as projects are progressed by local transport authorities. Of the buses funded, an estimated 984 have been ordered and 137 are on the road.

Overall, since February 2020, an estimated 4,200 zero emission buses have been funded across the UK, this includes buses funded by ZEBRA 1.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of allowing Bus Service Improvement Plan funding to be used for light rail systems in areas where funding has been awarded.

BSIP and BSIP+ funding is intended to be used by LTAs to support the aims of the National Bus Strategy to make buses more frequent, more reliable, easier to understand and use, better co-ordinated and cheaper. It can also be used to support and protect existing bus services that would otherwise be at risk. It should not be used to support other modes, including light rail systems, where it is not clear that the primary benefits accrue to buses.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress his Department is making on introducing national minimum standards for taxi and private hire vehicles.

The Government has taken action to support taxi and private hire vehicle licensing authorities in England to use their existing powers to set consistent licensing standards. The Government published the Statutory Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Standards in 2020, statutory guidance, which focus on safeguarding standards to protect children and vulnerable adults, although the measures benefit all passengers. On 17 November 2023 the Government issued updated Best Practice Guidance, following consultation, which seeks to drive consistency on licensing issues outside of the scope of the statutory guidance and maintaining high standards of safety and accessibility.

The Government remains committed to legislating for national minimum standards when Parliamentary time allows. The guidance already issued would be a natural starting point when setting future legislation.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the Government plans to release the revised guidance on franchising as set out in the National Bus Strategy for England.

The Department is currently revising The Bus Services Act 2017 Franchising Scheme Guidance, originally published in November 2017. The revised guidance will provide simplified and updated advice on the franchising process for local bus services and is due to be published later this year.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Future Mobility Zones Fund.

The Department has made no assessment of the effectiveness of the Future Mobility Zones Fund. An external evaluation of Future Transport Zones (as the zones were renamed) has been commissioned and is still in progress.

23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department plans to renew e-scooter trials beyond May 2024.

No decision has been made on renewing the e-scooter trials beyond May 2024.

23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many and what proportion of zero emission buses funded through the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas scheme have been allocated per local transport authority, and per manufacturer.

The following table presents information on the number of zero emission buses funded through the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme by local transport authority. The numbers in this table are not official statistics: they are based on the latest information available and are therefore indicative and subject to change. Where available, information has been provided on the status of the buses and the name of the bus manufacturer has been included.

Local Transport Authority  

Number of buses funded

Number of buses ordered

Bus manufacturer 

Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority

30

30

Volvo

Kent County Council

33

5

5 buses manufactured by Volvo. 28 - Irizar

Leicester City Council

116

116

110 – Wrightbus  
6 – Pelican/Yutong

Warrington Borough Council

105

105

Volvo

South Yorkshire Combined Authority

27

27

4 – Alexander Dennis Ltd  
23 – Pelican/Yutong

Norfolk County Council

70

70

Wrightbus

North Yorkshire County Council

39

39

20 – EvoBus/Mercedes 19 – Alexander Dennis Ltd

Portsmouth City Council & Hampshire County Council

62

62

Wrightbus

Blackpool Council

90

0

Bus manufacturer subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

Nottingham City Council

68

24

24 - Pelican/Yutong  
Bus manufacturer for remaining buses subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

170

170

Volvo

Hertfordshire County Council*

27

0

Bus manufacturer for remaining buses subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

West Midlands Combined Authority

124

0

Bus manufacturer subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

City of York Council

53

53

Wrightbus

West Yorkshire Combined Authority

136

72

57 – Wrightbus
15 – Mercedes Bus manufacturer for remaining buses subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

Oxfordshire County Council

159

159

104 - Wrightbus  
55 – Alexander Dennis Ltd  

1,309

932

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 13 July 2023 to Question 193239 on Buses: Exhaust Emissions, whether the 4,233 zero-emission buses include buses which were (a) funded or (b) delivered before February 2020.

None of the zero-emission buses outlined in my answer of the 13 July were funded, ordered or delivered prior to February 2020.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to help tackle high levels of bus and coach driver vacancies in England.

Whilst it is the responsibility of the sector to recruit and retain drivers, the Department for Transport regularly engages with industry to understand issues in recruiting and retaining bus and coach drivers, and how Government can help. Latest intelligence from the sector suggests that the shortage has reduced over the course of this year.

The Department for Transport and Confederation of Passenger Transport co-chaired a Bus and Coach Summit in November 2022. The summit brought together experts from industry, national and local government to look at issues facing driver recruitment and retention to bus and coach operators, and identified ideas and actions to help address these. Many of these are owned by industry, who as aforementioned, are responsible for recruiting drivers.

We are also ensuring there is sufficient access to Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) practical driving tests, whether through the bus and coach industry’s network of delegated examiners, or directly through Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency test centres.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he held discussions with potential private funders on the HS2 Euston tunnel and terminus prior to the publication of the Network North plans.

DfT and HS2 Ltd have consulted and commissioned studies on private finance and have regular discussions with potential private funders. We continually review the best ways to deliver and fund our major infrastructure projects, including harnessing the private sector to finance and deliver projects where appropriate. Following the Network North announcement ministers here and at HM Treasury have had a series of roundtables with investors and the supply chain to talk about opportunities including Euston.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what estimate his Department has made of the time it will take to deliver private finance for the (a) tunnel and (b) terminus for Euston HS2.

The Network North paper published by the Department for Transport on 4 October 2023 sets out that we will appoint a development company, separate from HS2 Ltd, to manage the delivery of this project. We will also take on the lessons of success stories such as Battersea Power Station and Nine Elms, which secured £9 billion of private sector investment and thousands of homes. So we will harness the future growth that the station will unleash to support its development, to ensure we get the best possible value for the British taxpayer - and ensure that funding is underpinned by contributions from those people and businesses its development supports.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with (a) local authority leaders and (b) the Mayor of West Yorkshire on the Network North plans for the Leeds mass transit system to provide better connections to Wakefield.

Since publication of the Network North paper, DfT ministers have spoken to a range of local MPs and local leaders, including the Mayor of West Yorkshire. This includes during a visit by the Secretary of State and Rail Minister to Bradford on 5th October. We will continue to engage closely with partners and local leaders as delivery plans are defined to ensure that projects deliver the services that people need and want.

Huw Merriman
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many zero emission buses had been allocated Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas funding as of 23 October 2023; and how many of these buses (a) have been ordered and (b) are on the road as of that date.

Since February 2020, an estimated 4,200 ZEBs have been funded across the UK.

The first round of the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme provided £270m funding to 16 local transport authorities in England outside London. The scheme will fund up to 1,309 zero emission buses, though this is subject to change as projects are progressed by local transport authorities. The second round of the scheme was launched in September, with £129m funding to be provided to schemes by March 2024.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has had discussions with the (a) European Union Aviation Safety Agency and (b) Civil Aviation Authority on potential reciprocal arrangements for pilot licences since 1 January 2023.

Since 1 January 2023, EASA licences are invalid for operations within the UK meaning any pilots wishing to operate within the UK or on any UK registered aircraft require a UK CAA issued licence. Conversely, any UK registered pilot who wishes to work for an airline operating by or in an EU country must apply for an EASA licence, which can be obtained through applying in any EASA competent authority.

The Department continues to work closely with the EU to find ways of working together to support a diverse industry, however, the Government is not seeking to reopen the withdrawal agreement and there are no plans at current to re-join EASA.

18th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his Department's policy is on personnel licensing in the aviation sector.

Personnel who currently hold EASA licences and would like to work in the UK will now have to apply for a new UK CAA licence, as mutual acceptance of licences between the UK and the EU has ceased following the UK’s withdrawal from EASA. Any UK personnel who seek to work within the EU will have to apply for a licence from an EASA competent authority.

13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 13 July 2023 to Question 193239 on Buses: Exhaust Emissions, if he will list the Government schemes which will be funding the 4,233 zero emission buses

The following table presents information on the estimated number of zero emission buses that have been funded across the United Kingdom since February 2020. The numbers in this table are not official statistics: they are based on the latest information available and are therefore indicative and subject to change. The table includes zero emission buses funded by the devolved administrations. They have been able to make this investment as a result of ongoing funding support provided by the UK Government.

Funding scheme

Number of buses funded

Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas Scheme

1,342

All Electric Bus Town or City Scheme

275

Transforming Cities Fund

38

City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement

100

Levelling Up Fund

52

Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme

82

Local transport authority funding

43

England Outside London

1,932

Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme (London)

126

Transport for London funding settlement

1,290

London total

1,416

England total

3,348

Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme (Wales)

68

Welsh Government funding

50

Wales total

118

Scottish Government funding

558

Northern Ireland Executive funding

244

UK total

4,268

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 13 July 2023 to Question 193239 on Buses: Exhaust Emissions, how many and what proportion of zero emission buses funded by the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (a) are and (b) will be built in Britain.

The following table presents information on the number of zero emission buses funded through the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme by local transport authority. The numbers in this table are not official statistics: they are based on the latest information available and are therefore indicative and subject to change. Where available, information has been provided on the status of the buses and the name of the bus manufacturer has been included.

Local Transport Authority

Number of buses funded

Number of buses ordered

Bus manufacturer

Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority

30

30

Volvo

Kent County Council

33

5

5 buses manufactured by Volvo.
Bus manufacturer for remaining buses subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

Leicester City Council

114

114

108 – Wrightbus  
6 – Pelican/Yutong

Warrington Borough Council

105

105

Volvo

South Yorkshire Combined Authority

27

4

4 – Alexander Dennis Ltd  
Bus manufacturer for remaining buses subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

Norfolk County Council

70

70

Wrightbus

North Yorkshire County Council

39

0

Bus manufacturer subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

Portsmouth City Council & Hampshire County Council

62

62

Wrightbus

Blackpool Council

115

0

Bus manufacturer subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

Nottingham City Council

78

24

24 - Pelican/Yutong  
Bus manufacturer for remaining buses subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

170

170

Volvo

Hertfordshire County Council*

27

0

Bus manufacturer subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

West Midlands Combined Authority

124

0

Bus manufacturer subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

City of York Council

53

53

Wrightbus

West Yorkshire Combined Authority

136

57

57 – Wrightbus  
Bus manufacturer for remaining buses subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

Oxfordshire County Council

159

159

104 - Wrightbus  
55 – Alexander Dennis Ltd  

1,342

853

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 13 July 2023 to Question 193239 on Buses: Exhaust Emissions, how many and what proportion of zero emission buses funded through the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas scheme have been allocated per local transport authority.

The following table presents information on the number of zero emission buses funded through the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme by local transport authority. The numbers in this table are not official statistics: they are based on the latest information available and are therefore indicative and subject to change. Where available, information has been provided on the status of the buses and the name of the bus manufacturer has been included.

Local Transport Authority

Number of buses funded

Number of buses ordered

Bus manufacturer

Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority

30

30

Volvo

Kent County Council

33

5

5 buses manufactured by Volvo.
Bus manufacturer for remaining buses subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

Leicester City Council

114

114

108 – Wrightbus  
6 – Pelican/Yutong

Warrington Borough Council

105

105

Volvo

South Yorkshire Combined Authority

27

4

4 – Alexander Dennis Ltd  
Bus manufacturer for remaining buses subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

Norfolk County Council

70

70

Wrightbus

North Yorkshire County Council

39

0

Bus manufacturer subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

Portsmouth City Council & Hampshire County Council

62

62

Wrightbus

Blackpool Council

115

0

Bus manufacturer subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

Nottingham City Council

78

24

24 - Pelican/Yutong  
Bus manufacturer for remaining buses subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

170

170

Volvo

Hertfordshire County Council*

27

0

Bus manufacturer subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

West Midlands Combined Authority

124

0

Bus manufacturer subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

City of York Council

53

53

Wrightbus

West Yorkshire Combined Authority

136

57

57 – Wrightbus  
Bus manufacturer for remaining buses subject to outcome of procurement process by local transport authority or bus operator.

Oxfordshire County Council

159

159

104 - Wrightbus  
55 – Alexander Dennis Ltd  

1,342

853

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
10th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many zero emission buses had been allocated Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas funding as of 10 July 2023; and how many zero emission buses funded through the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas scheme (a) have been ordered and (b) are on the road as of 1that date.

The Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme provided funding to 16 local transport authorities in England outside London. The scheme will fund up to 1,307 zero emission buses, though this is subject to change as projects are progressed by local transport authorities. Of the buses funded, an estimated 748 have been ordered and 68 are on the road.

We are committed to supporting the introduction of at least 4,000 zero emission buses and achieving an all zero-emission bus fleet across the UK. Since February 2020, across the UK an estimated 4,233 zero emission buses have been funded, of which an estimated 2,464 have been ordered and 1,604 are on the road. These numbers are not official statistics: they are based on the latest information and are therefore subject to change.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
22nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government plans to review the potential merits of extending the length of time that Blue Badges can be issued for to people with permanent disabilities.

The legislation allows for badges to be issued with a three-year validity period. Local authority administrators already have the discretion to add a ‘not for reassessment’ marker to individual Blue Badge records, including for applicants with permanent disabilities, which can help to streamline the reapplication process in those cases.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding his Department provided to (a) bus operators and (b) local authorities for fuel costs in each of the last three years for which data is available.

The Bus Service Operator Grant (BSOG) given to commercial operators is to help them keep fares lower and enable services which may be unprofitable to continue running. The funding that operators receive is calculated based on fuel consumption and allows them to partially offset some of their operational costs, which may include fuel costs. Since 2010, over £200 million has been made available to commercial operators annually.

BSOG funding given to local authorities is used to support bus services, including through subsidy for socially necessary bus routes; this is not related to fuel costs. Since 2013, over £42 million has been provided to local authorities annually.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
13th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent steps he has taken to prevent illegal modifications being made to vehicles in England.

The Department is committed to ensuring that vehicles meet relevant safety, environmental and construction standards, which are periodically updated. These have been important in reducing air and noise pollution from vehicles and improving vehicle safety.

Vehicle owners have relative freedom to modify their vehicles, subject to ongoing compliance with relevant standards. Compliance is monitored by the Department’s Market Surveillance Unit based in the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). Current and past market surveillance activity includes targeted investigation of illegal vehicle modifications. These will be prosecuted where there is sufficient evidence to do so.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
13th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what was the average length time between allocating funding and buses operating for buses funded through the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas scheme.

The Department has not estimated this.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
13th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has carried out of the effectiveness of the noise camera trials at tackling noise pollution from antisocial drivers.

Roadside trials of noise camera technology commenced on 18 October 2022 and finished on 1 February 2023. The Department is reviewing the trial outcomes before considering next steps.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the news story entitled UK on track to reach 4,000 zero emission bus pledge with £200 million boost, published by his Department on 26 March 2022, whether these buses will be provided to all regions of the UK.

We are committed to supporting the introduction of 4,000 zero emission buses and achieving an all zero emission bus fleet across the entire UK. Across the UK, an estimated 3,400 zero emission buses have been funded since February 2020.

On 26 March 2022 the Department announced £198.3 million funding from the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme for local transport authorities in England outside of London.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
16th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, which local transport authorities (a) applied for and (b) were successful in applying for funding from the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas scheme.

We are committed to supporting the introduction of 4,000 zero emission buses and achieving an all zero-emission bus fleet across the entire UK. Across the UK, an estimated 3,400 zero emission buses have been funded since February 2020. The ZEBRA scheme will support an estimated 1,342 zero emission buses.

The following local transport authorities have received funding through the ZEBRA scheme:

  • Blackpool Council
  • Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority
  • City of York Council
  • Hertfordshire County Council
  • Kent County Council
  • Leicester City Council
  • Norfolk County Council
  • North Yorkshire County Council
  • Nottingham City Council
  • Oxfordshire County Council
  • Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council
  • South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority
  • Transport for Greater Manchester
  • Warrington Borough Council
  • West Midlands Combined Authority
  • West Yorkshire Combined Authority

In October 2021 the Government announced that Milton Keynes Council had been awarded funding from the ZEBRA scheme to introduce 56 electric buses and charging infrastructure. The buses were due to be operated by bus operator Arriva. In November 2022 Arriva informed Milton Keynes Council that they could no longer support the existing ZEBRA proposal. Arriva and Milton Keynes Council then worked to develop revised proposals for the Department to consider. After the reviewing the revised proposals ministers decided not to provide funding to Milton Keynes Council for the project.

The following local transport authorities applied to the ZEBRA scheme but did not receive funding:

  • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council
  • Derby City Council and Derbyshire County Council
  • East Sussex County Council and Brighton & Hove City Council
  • Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
  • Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council
  • Reading Borough Council
  • Southampton City Council
  • Swindon Borough Council
  • Tees Valley Combined Authority
  • Torbay Council
  • Transport North East
  • Warrington Borough Council
  • West Sussex County Council & Surrey County Council
  • Worcestershire County Council

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
16th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the £2 bus fare cap scheme on bus patronage.

The Department has published interim evaluation findings for the £2 Bus Fare Cap (Evaluation of the £2 bus fare cap - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)). Key findings from the first month of the scheme include:

  • There were high levels of awareness, with around 7 in 10 survey respondents reporting being aware of the scheme.
  • Around a third of survey respondents felt that the scheme was having a positive impact on their disposable income they have for other spending or saving.
  • Overall, 10% of respondents reported using the bus more since the fare cap scheme was introduced.

The findings are from the early stages of the scheme and it has not yet been possible to draw conclusions about the extent to which any changes in patronage are due to the fare cap scheme as opposed to other factors. However, findings are broadly aligned with external evidence including survey research from Transport Focus in March 2023 which found that 11% of respondents reported using the bus more as a result of the fare cap scheme, and the evaluation is ongoing and will provide further findings on the impact of the scheme as it progresses.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
16th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government is taking steps to incentivise the procurement of British-built buses through the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas scheme.

We are committed to supporting the introduction of 4,000 zero emission buses and achieving an all zero-emission bus fleet across the entire UK. Across the UK, an estimated 3,400 zero emission buses have been funded since February 2020. The ZEBRA scheme will support an estimated 1,342 zero emission buses, with 731 buses ordered so far.

Orders for zero emission buses will be placed by local transport authorities or bus operators. UK bus manufactures are well placed to secure orders for zero emission buses from the ZEBRA scheme.

Of the 731 zero emission buses ordered so far, 454 orders have been placed with UK based manufacturer Wrightbus and 59 with UK based manufacturer Alexander Dennis Ltd.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make an assessment of trends in the levels of bus and coach driver vacancies.

The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) estimated that almost 1 in 10 bus driver positions in the UK were vacant in September 2022. However, intelligence from the sector suggests that the shortfall has reduced significantly in recent months.

In November 2022, the Department and CPT co-chaired a Bus and Coach Driver Summit to understand and address the issues causing driver shortages. Following the Bus and Coach Driver Summit, the Department has been working with CPT to take forward the actions identified at the summit.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the Government plans to release the revised guidance on franchising as set out in the National Bus Strategy for England.

The Department is currently revising The Bus Services Act 2017 Franchising Scheme Guidance, published in November 2017. The revised guidance will provide simplified and updated advice on the franchising process for local bus services and is due to be published later this year.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many zero emission buses funded through the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas scheme (a) have been ordered and (b) are on the road.

Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme funding was awarded in October 2021, March 2022 and March 2023. The scheme will support an estimated 1,342 zero emission buses of which, so far, 725 have been ordered and 6 are currently on the road. We are committed to supporting the introduction of 4,000 zero emission buses and achieving an all zero-emission bus fleet across the entire UK. Across the UK, an estimated 3,400 zero emission buses have been funded so far.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the Government plans to publish its guidance on the (a) definition and (b) role of socially necessary bus services as set out in the National Bus Strategy for England.

We plan to publish new guidance on socially and economically necessary bus services during this Parliament.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
17th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in Spain on reciprocity for the acceptance of Blue Badges between the UK and Spain.

The recognition of disabled parking cards issued outside of Spain is at the discretion of the Spanish local parking authority and advice to travellers is that they should check locally before parking.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
8th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many bids for Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas funding have been received by his Department as of 8 March 2023; how many zero emission buses have been allocated Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas funding as of 8 March 2023; and how many zero emission buses funded through the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas scheme have been delivered to operators as of 8 March 2023.

Nationally the Government has committed to support for 4,000 zero emission buses. This is being supported by a number of schemes, including the ZEBRA scheme. Across the UK, an estimated 3,452 Zero Emission Buses (ZEBs) have been funded so far.

23 local transport authorities applied to the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) scheme. 17 of them were successful and awarded a share of £270 million funding.

In March 2023 the Department announced an additional £25.3m funding to four local areas: City of York Council, Norfolk County Council, Portsmouth City Council & Hampshire County Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

Table 1 presents information on the status of ZEBs that have been funded through the ZEBRA scheme. The numbers in Table 1 are not official statistics: they are based on the latest publicly available information and are therefore subject to change.

Local Transport Authority

Number of ZEBs

ZEB Status 

Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority

30

Funded

Kent County Council

33

Funded

Leicester City Council

96

90 ordered 6 on the road

Milton Keynes City Council*

56

Funded

Warrington Borough Council**

105

Funded

South Yorkshire Combined Authority

27

Funded

Norfolk County Council

70

70 Ordered

North Yorkshire County Council

39

Funded

Portsmouth City Council & Hampshire County Council

62

62 Ordered

Blackpool Council

115

Funded

Nottingham City Council

78

12 ordered 66 funded

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

170

Funded

Hertfordshire County Council***

27

Funded

West Midlands Combined Authority

124

Funded

City of York Council

53

53 Ordered

West Yorkshire Combined Authority

136

57 ordered

Oxfordshire County Council

159

159 Ordered

* Following the operator's withdrawal of support, the Department is working closely with the local transport authority to determine next steps.

** In response to changes to the local bus network the number of buses for the Warrington project has been reduced from 120 to 105.

*** Following the operator's withdrawal of support, the Department is working closely with the local transport authority to determine next steps.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
8th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many successful bids for Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas funding have been (a) revised downwards and (b) withdrawn as of 8 March 2023; and how many individual zero emission buses those revisions and withdrawals represent.

£270 million funding was awarded from the Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas scheme to 17 local transport authorities.

Since funding was originally awarded a number of projects have seen the number of buses that will be delivered revised upwards. In March 2023 the Department announced an additional £25.3m funding to four local areas for an additional 117 zero emission buses:

  • City of York Council received £1.9m to deliver 9 additional buses.
  • Norfolk County Council received £11.5m to deliver 55 additional buses.
  • Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council received £6.2m to deliver 28 additional buses.
  • West Yorkshire Combined Authority received £5.7m to deliver 25 additional buses.

Since the award of funding Warrington Borough Council has amended their project in response to changes to the local bus network. This has reduced the number of zero emission buses that will be delivered as part of this project from 120 to 105 buses.

In November 2022 the Department was informed by Milton Keynes City Council (MKCC) that the bus operator had withdrawn support for the project. Since then, the Department has been working with MKCC to determine next steps.

In March 2023 the Department was informed by Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) that the bus operator had withdrawn support for the project. The Department is working with HCC to determine next steps.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many times the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain have fined bus operators in the last five years; and what the total value of those fines were by each nation and region.

Statistics on the number of public inquiries conducted by Traffic Commissioners by traffic area, the general purpose for public inquiries being held, and any penalties imposed are published in the annual report of the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/traffic-commissioners-annual-reports.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will provide a breakdown of the reasons why the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain have launched public inquiries into bus operators in the last five years.

Statistics on the number of public inquiries conducted by Traffic Commissioners by traffic area, the general purpose for public inquiries being held, and any penalties imposed are published in the annual report of the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/traffic-commissioners-annual-reports.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
9th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many times have the Traffic Commissioners launched a public inquiry into bus operators in each (a) region and (b) nation in each of the last five years.

Statistics on the number of public inquiries conducted by Traffic Commissioners by traffic area, the general purpose for public inquiries being held, and any penalties imposed are published in the annual report of the Traffic Commissioners for Great Britain at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/traffic-commissioners-annual-reports.

Richard Holden
Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office)
29th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much money from the public purse has been paid to Arriva (a) to deliver bus services in Wakefield, (b) from the COVID-19 bus service support grant and (c) from the Bus Recovery Grant since 1 January 2019.

The Government has made available nearly £2 billion of support to date, through emergency and recovery grants, to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic for bus services. This includes a further £150 million to continue to provide COVID recovery support until October to give services the maximum amount of time to recover. We are unable to provide the amounts provided to individual operators under these schemes as this information is commercially sensitive. West Yorkshire Combined Authority received over £8 million in recovery funding through these schemes.

The Government also spends over £200 million every year through the Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG) to operators directly to keep fares down and make more bus routes viable. Arriva Yorkshire North Ltd, Arriva Yorkshire Ltd and Arriva Yorkshire West Ltd have received over £43 million in BSOG funding since 2010-11 to deliver services in Yorkshire, including Wakefield. The Government provides a further £42 million annually through the Bus Service Operators Grant to Local Authorities so that they can subsidise socially necessary bus services. West Yorkshire Combined Authority receives over £2 million of this funding annually.

22nd Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what data his department holds on the number and proportion of individuals in receipt of housing cost support at the shared accommodation rate with rent costs that (a) exceed and (b) are below the local housing allowance in each (i) rental market area and (ii) local authority area; and what estimate he has made of the median average gap between housing cost support and rent costs for individuals eligible for only the shared accommodation rate per (A) rental market area and (B) local authority area.

This information is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate costs.

The Shared Accommodation Rate (SAR) of the Local Housing Allowance applies to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit claimants who are under 35 years of age, living on their own, and renting privately, they will be entitled to the SAR regardless of the size of property that they rent. These rules reflect the housing expectations of people of a similar age not in receipt of benefits.

LHA rates are not intended to cover all rents in all areas.

For 2022/23 we are projected to have spent almost £30 billion to support renters with their housing costs.

In addition, LHA rates, including SAR will be increased from April 2024 to the 30th percentile of local market rents at a cost of £1.2 billion. This will mean 1.6 million private renters in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit (UC) will gain on average around £800 a year in additional help towards their rental costs in 2024-25.

For those who face a shortfall in meeting their housing costs and require additional support Discretionary Housing Payments (DHP) are available from local authorities. Since 2011 the Government has provided nearly £1.7 billion to local authorities for households who need additional support with their housing costs.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what guidance his Department provides to the (a) risk review team and (b) enhanced review team on suspension and termination.

All members of ERT are provided with full training and with guidance which is clear about how case suspensions and terminations (closures) should be handled.

If a suspension is put in place on a claim, the claimant is made fully aware of any actions they need to take and information they need to provide in order to progress the review of their case.

A clear explanation is also provided to the claimant about the potential consequences should they fail to fully comply with these requirements within the required timescales. The guidance also ensures that ERT team members consider potential customer vulnerability throughout the duration of any intervention.

As the NAO have reported in the Annual Report and Accounts 2022-23, ‘The majority of 2022-23 savings (£650 million) came from the Enhanced Review Team (ERT), which provides a rapid response service for detailed checking of high-risk Universal Credit claims before they go into payment. These estimates also suggest that preventative actions have a much higher level of return than investigating fraud and error after it has occurred.’

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of claimants who were given a negative decision following the suspension of their claim by the Risk Review Team or Enhanced Review Team (a) appealed that decision and (b) had a tribunal allow their appeal in each of the last five years.

The Risk Review Team (RRT) has now been incorporated in to a broader and wide-ranging Enhanced Review Team (ERT), aimed at identifying and stopping fraud early.

As the NAO have reported in the Annual Report and Accounts 2022-23. ‘The majority of 2022-23 savings (£650 million) came from the Enhanced Review Team (ERT), which provides a rapid response service for detailed checking of high-risk Universal Credit claims before they go into payment. These estimates also suggest that preventative actions have a much higher level of return than investigating fraud and error after it has occurred.’

Data on how many and what proportion of cases handled by ERT have resulted in suspension is not available to this level for ERT and to produce it would incur disproportionate costs. This is due to large volumes of data being held across different clerical platforms, which would need to be forensically examined.

Likewise, data on cases closed, reinstated, or remaining suspended, cannot be provided within reasonable costs.

We are unable to provide the number of claimants who have appealed decisions on cases closed following RRT/ERT action and the number who have been successful in their appeals over the last five years because ERT only started completing reviews in April 2020.

We are unable to give per year figures since the formation of ERT due to the lengthy dispute process and are also unable to identify which appeals would have previously been suspended, due to this data not being held. However, the cumulative total of cases for RRT and ERT that have been through the dispute process are:

  • Appealed to date - 1118
  • Outcome in claimant’s favour – 228
Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of benefit claims suspended by the (a) Risk Review Team and (b) Enhanced Review Team in each of the last three years (i) have subsequently been (A) closed and (B) reinstated and (ii) remain suspended.

The Risk Review Team (RRT) has now been incorporated in to a broader and wide-ranging Enhanced Review Team (ERT), aimed at identifying and stopping fraud early.

As the NAO have reported in the Annual Report and Accounts 2022-23. ‘The majority of 2022-23 savings (£650 million) came from the Enhanced Review Team (ERT), which provides a rapid response service for detailed checking of high-risk Universal Credit claims before they go into payment. These estimates also suggest that preventative actions have a much higher level of return than investigating fraud and error after it has occurred.’

Data on how many and what proportion of cases handled by ERT have resulted in suspension is not available to this level for ERT and to produce it would incur disproportionate costs. This is due to large volumes of data being held across different clerical platforms, which would need to be forensically examined.

Likewise, data on cases closed, reinstated, or remaining suspended, cannot be provided within reasonable costs.

We are unable to provide the number of claimants who have appealed decisions on cases closed following RRT/ERT action and the number who have been successful in their appeals over the last five years because ERT only started completing reviews in April 2020.

We are unable to give per year figures since the formation of ERT due to the lengthy dispute process and are also unable to identify which appeals would have previously been suspended, due to this data not being held. However, the cumulative total of cases for RRT and ERT that have been through the dispute process are:

  • Appealed to date - 1118
  • Outcome in claimant’s favour – 228
Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of benefit claims (a) flagged and (b) investigated by the (i) Risk Review Team and (ii) Enhanced Review Team have resulted in the suspension of benefits in each of the last three years.

The Risk Review Team (RRT) has now been incorporated in to a broader and wide-ranging Enhanced Review Team (ERT), aimed at identifying and stopping fraud early.

As the NAO have reported in the Annual Report and Accounts 2022-23. ‘The majority of 2022-23 savings (£650 million) came from the Enhanced Review Team (ERT), which provides a rapid response service for detailed checking of high-risk Universal Credit claims before they go into payment. These estimates also suggest that preventative actions have a much higher level of return than investigating fraud and error after it has occurred.’

Data on how many and what proportion of cases handled by ERT have resulted in suspension is not available to this level for ERT and to produce it would incur disproportionate costs. This is due to large volumes of data being held across different clerical platforms, which would need to be forensically examined.

Likewise, data on cases closed, reinstated, or remaining suspended, cannot be provided within reasonable costs.

We are unable to provide the number of claimants who have appealed decisions on cases closed following RRT/ERT action and the number who have been successful in their appeals over the last five years because ERT only started completing reviews in April 2020.

We are unable to give per year figures since the formation of ERT due to the lengthy dispute process and are also unable to identify which appeals would have previously been suspended, due to this data not being held. However, the cumulative total of cases for RRT and ERT that have been through the dispute process are:

  • Appealed to date - 1118
  • Outcome in claimant’s favour – 228
Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average waiting time was for the Pensions Ombudsman to respond to enquiries in the latest period for which data is available; and if he will set a timetable for reducing those waiting times.

The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO) has seen a consistent increase in demand for its services in recent years and has worked to improve and streamline processes. In 2022/23 TPO resolved around 99% of its general enquiries within 28 days of being logged on TPO’s system, compared to a target of 90%. In the same year, TPO closed almost 70% of pension complaints within 12 months, against a target of 55%.

TPO recently experienced a cyber incident which temporarily impacted its ability to respond to enquiries and progress pension complaints. The organisation is currently assessing the effect on waiting times and developing plans to reduce these.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
5th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 27 June 2023 to Question 190908 on Universal Credit: Childcare, whether the introduction of upfront payments for childcare costs for people on Universal Credit will apply to claimants who are already in work and do not increase their hours.

For those UC claimants who are already in work, the amount they can claim back has significantly increased by more than £300 a month for one child, from £646.35 to £950.92, and by more than £500 a month for two or more children, from £1,108.04 to £1,630.15.

Universal Credit (UC) claimants who are already in work and not increasing their working hours will not be eligible for the upfront childcare costs support.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 25 May 2023 to Question 186268 on Universal Credit: Childcare, whether he plans for proposed changes to the Universal Credit childcare element to be introduced to all Universal Credit recipients.

The UC childcare element is available to all eligible lone parents and couples, regardless of the number of hours they work. For couples, both parents need to be in paid work to be eligible, unless one of the allowable exceptions is met.

UC claimants with dependent children that wish to take on more hours, move into work or those that have high childcare costs, can benefit from one or both of the changes.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate his Department has made of the total amount paid in fraudulent State Pension claims in Yorkshire and the Humber in the last financial year.

State Pension is rarely the target for serious and organised criminals.

Since 2020/21, a total of four serious fraud investigations have taken place involving State Pension (one in 2020/21 and three in 2022/23). As none of these investigations have reached court yet, outcomes cannot be provided.

Investigations of this type are extremely complex. We cannot break down the average length of investigations, as this information is not recorded by our Economic Serious Organised Crime team (ESOC).

Estimates on the value of fraud and error in the benefit system can be found in our annual statistical report on the Monetary Value of Fraud and Error. The level of fraud in State Pension in 2022/23, was estimated to be 0.0%. Our estimates do not break down data by region.

Fraud and error in the benefit system - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average length was of investigations undertaken by his Department's serious fraud team into cases relating to the state pension in each of the last three years.

State Pension is rarely the target for serious and organised criminals.

Since 2020/21, a total of four serious fraud investigations have taken place involving State Pension (one in 2020/21 and three in 2022/23). As none of these investigations have reached court yet, outcomes cannot be provided.

Investigations of this type are extremely complex. We cannot break down the average length of investigations, as this information is not recorded by our Economic Serious Organised Crime team (ESOC).

Estimates on the value of fraud and error in the benefit system can be found in our annual statistical report on the Monetary Value of Fraud and Error. The level of fraud in State Pension in 2022/23, was estimated to be 0.0%. Our estimates do not break down data by region.

Fraud and error in the benefit system - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
2nd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many investigations his Department's serious fraud team carried out into cases relating to the state pension in each financial year since 2020-21; and what the outcomes of these investigations were.

State Pension is rarely the target for serious and organised criminals.

Since 2020/21, a total of four serious fraud investigations have taken place involving State Pension (one in 2020/21 and three in 2022/23). As none of these investigations have reached court yet, outcomes cannot be provided.

Investigations of this type are extremely complex. We cannot break down the average length of investigations, as this information is not recorded by our Economic Serious Organised Crime team (ESOC).

Estimates on the value of fraud and error in the benefit system can be found in our annual statistical report on the Monetary Value of Fraud and Error. The level of fraud in State Pension in 2022/23, was estimated to be 0.0%. Our estimates do not break down data by region.

Fraud and error in the benefit system - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
22nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what his timescales are for introducing upfront payments for childcare costs for people on Universal Credit.

The changes to the Universal Credit childcare element will be introduced from Summer 2023.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the time taken by his Department to respond to complaints about Personal Independence Payments sent by Members.

When the department receives a complaint from a Member of Parliament, the aim is to contact them within 15 working days to tell them of the outcome, or when they can expect a response, if it will take longer.

We will always aim to resolve the complaint as quickly as we can, however, on occasion that the complaint is complex, we will contact the Member of Parliament to let them know when they can expect a response.

The DWP has made significant improvements to the complaints service since 2021; we triage all complaints, giving priority to vulnerable claimants who may be at risk, and those with benefit payment issues. We continually monitor complaints, including the volumes, and have introduced further improvements including developing a consistent approach to complaints through new quality standards. We are committed to learning from complaints, using insight to support further improvements and our service to customers.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of the system of payment enforcement used by the Child Maintenance Service.

The Child Maintenance Service (CMS) continues to take rigorous action to collect maintenance, combining robust negotiation activity with the highly effective use of its extensive range of Enforcement Powers. This approach is driven by the Payment Compliance strategy increasing CMS compliance influencing activities to tackle non-paying cases and challenge non-compliant behaviours. CMS applies a Continuous Improvement focus to Enforcement strategy and processes.

Total child maintenance collected using Enforcement Actions amounted to £36.1 million in the quarter to December 2022 compared with £33.6 in December 2021 and £30.8 in December 2020. This rise in collections is linked directly to increased collections through Deductions from Earnings Orders, lump sum and regular deductions taken directly from paying parents’ bank accounts, Liability Order and Bailiff actions and making full use of all available sanctions.

(Source – Child Maintenance Service published Statistics : National Tables – table 7.1 ‘Enforcement Actions’, April 2015 to December 2022).

As a result of a focussed effort to increase enforcement activity £49.1 million was paid through the Collect & Pay service in the quarter ending December 2022 compared to £46.6. million in the quarter ending December 2021.

(Source – Child Maintenance Service published Statistics : National Tables – table 5 ‘Money Due and Paid each quarter’ January 2015 to December 2022).

There has been a consistent downward trend in the proportion of unpaid maintenance as a proportion of maintenance arranged since 2017, falling from 12.5% in 2017 to 8% in December 2022.

(Source – Child Maintenance Service published Statistics : National Tables - table 6 ‘ how much maintenance CMS has arranged March 2015 to December 2022).

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Kickstart placements have (a) been advertised and (b) commenced by young people in Wakefield constituency in the last year.

As of 27 June 2022, 420 jobs had been advertised and 220 had been commenced by young people in the Wakefield constituency.

As of 27 June 2022 nationally, there have been over 163,200 Kickstart jobs started by young people. The last Kickstart jobs were started by young people on 31 March 2022, and we expect the number of starts to increase further as employers report commencement of employment.

Notes section:

We have previously published the number of jobs approved and advertised as of 31 January 2022, here: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2022-01-31/114956. At that point, over 235,000 jobs had been advertised and over 305,000 had been approved. The Kickstart Scheme has now closed to employer applications and, as of March 2022, all approved jobs proceeding to the advertisement stage, have been advertised. As such, these totals will not increase further.

Attached are tables listing the number of Kickstart jobs which have been made available and started by young people to date by Local Authority and Parliamentary Constituency. The figures used are correct as of the 27 June 2022 and these figures have been rounded according to departmental standards.

It is important to note that the information provided shows the location of the job not the home location of the young person who has started the job. In some cases, employers will report the address of their head office rather than the precise location of the job where the young person is working.

Jobs made available (advertised) and job starts quoted here include some unfunded Kickstart jobs, these are included in our national total but are not included in our geographic breakdown. Also included in the Great Britain total are a small number of jobs made available (less than 100 in total) that have an unrecorded job location.

The number of approved jobs is defined as the number of jobs associated with approved applications recorded on the Kickstart application system on the date above. This total excludes approved jobs that have been withdrawn from the Kickstart Scheme by agreement with employers and gateways. This is generally because, over time, some previously approved jobs were removed where the employer chose not to follow up the application.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system, which has been developed quickly.

The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

6th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps she is taking to increase access to NHS-provided weight loss surgery in the Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust.

Integrated care boards are responsible for commissioning National Health Service specialist and bariatric weight management services. Rates of bariatric surgery fell across West Yorkshire during the pandemic as hospitals focused on surgeries that were more clinically urgent. More patients are, however, starting to receive treatment again. To speed up access to surgery, the West Yorkshire Association of Acute Trusts, which includes the Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust, are working to ensure that people who have been waiting the longest times are offered the opportunity to have their surgery at an alternative hospital, if they wish.

Additionally, local areas and care providers in West Yorkshire are working together to review obesity and bariatric surgery commissioning policies and processes to ensure that they are providing care in the best and most efficient way possible, to make the most of resources and to offer treatment to more people who need it.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Oct 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department plans to take to improve the way referrals are made by schools to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, in the context of Coroner Abigail Combes' prevention of future deaths report in September 2023.

The Department is committed to improving the way referrals are made by schools to child and adolescent mental health services, through the work of mental health support teams, enhancing join up between schools and mental health services. There are now almost 400 mental health support teams in place across England, covering over three million children or around 35% of pupils in schools and colleges. We are aiming to increase this coverage to 50% by April 2025.

We are progressing work with NHS England and stakeholders to increase access to children and young people’s mental health services as outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan. The National Health Service is working towards implementing a new waiting time standard for children, young people and their families/carers presenting to community-based mental health services to start to receive care within four weeks from referral.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
6th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when his Department plans to publish a (a) response to the consultation on hub and spoke dispensing and (b) timetable for the implementation of secondary legislation.

We are finalising our response to the consultation and the timetable for bringing forward the implementing of the legislation and our aim is to publish this as soon as possible. The timetable for bringing forward the implementing legislation will be dependent on the availability of Parliamentary time across the four nations.

We are committed to pursuing legislative changes to level the playing field and enable all community pharmacies to make use of hub and spoke arrangements.

13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to support community pharmacies in Wakefield.

The consolidated National Health Service pharmaceutical list is published once a quarter and can be accessed via the NHS Business Services Authority Open Data portal, which is available at the following link:

https://opendata.nhsbsa.net/dataset/consolidated-pharmaceutical-list

This shows that as of March 2023 there were 22 pharmacies in Wakefield constituency and 74 in Wakefield district.

The Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework 2019-24 five-year deal commits £2.592 billion each year to the sector. In September 2022, we announced an additional one-off £100 million investment across this and last financial year. In May, as part of the Delivery plan for recovering access to primary care, we announced a further investment of up to £645 million over two years to expand the services offered by community pharmacies.

13th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an estimate of the number of pharmacies in Wakefield (a) constituency and (b) district.

The consolidated National Health Service pharmaceutical list is published once a quarter and can be accessed via the NHS Business Services Authority Open Data portal, which is available at the following link:

https://opendata.nhsbsa.net/dataset/consolidated-pharmaceutical-list

This shows that as of March 2023 there were 22 pharmacies in Wakefield constituency and 74 in Wakefield district.

The Community Pharmacy Contractual Framework 2019-24 five-year deal commits £2.592 billion each year to the sector. In September 2022, we announced an additional one-off £100 million investment across this and last financial year. In May, as part of the Delivery plan for recovering access to primary care, we announced a further investment of up to £645 million over two years to expand the services offered by community pharmacies.

23rd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve waiting times for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Wakefield constituency.

Information on waiting times is not collected as a national access and waiting times standard for children and young people’s mental health services in England has not yet been defined or set.

The NHS Long Term Plan commits to increasing investment into mental health services by at least an additional £2.3 billion a year by March 2024. This will allow 345,000 more children and young people, including children and young people in Wakefield, to access NHS funded mental health support and improve waiting times.

NHS England has also consulted on the potential to introduce five new waiting time standards as part of its clinically led review of NHS access standards. One of these is that children, young people and their families/carers presenting to community-based mental health services, should start to receive care within four weeks from referral. We are now working with NHS England on the next steps.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
23rd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the average waiting time is for referral to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Wakefield constituency.

Information on waiting times is not collected as a national access and waiting times standard for children and young people’s mental health services in England has not yet been defined or set.

The NHS Long Term Plan commits to increasing investment into mental health services by at least an additional £2.3 billion a year by March 2024. This will allow 345,000 more children and young people, including children and young people in Wakefield, to access NHS funded mental health support and improve waiting times.

NHS England has also consulted on the potential to introduce five new waiting time standards as part of its clinically led review of NHS access standards. One of these is that children, young people and their families/carers presenting to community-based mental health services, should start to receive care within four weeks from referral. We are now working with NHS England on the next steps.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
25th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve patient access to primary care.

We are investing at least £1.5 billion to create an additional 50 million general practice appointments by 2024 by growing and diversifying the workforce.

We have recruited over 29,000 additional primary care staff, and there are nearly 2,000 more doctors in general practice compared to 2019.

Our Recovery Plan for Primary Care supports practices to address access challenges by tackling the 8am rush for appointments, cutting bureaucracy for GPs and expanding community pharmacy services.

23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of NHS patients who require (a) medication information and (b) patient information booklets in an additional language.

No specific estimate has been made of the number of National Health Service patients who require medication information and patient information booklets in an additional language.

NHS trusts are expected to adhere to statutory requirements under the Equality Act 2010, and to their responsibilities under the Public Sector Equality Duty.

23rd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what requirements there are for NHS Trusts to provide (a) medication instructions and (b) patient information booklets in multiple languages.

NHS trusts are expected to adhere to statutory requirements under the Equality Act 2010, and to their responsibilities under the Public Sector Equality Duty. In 2018 NHS England published ‘Guidance for Commissioners: interpreting and translation services in primary care’, which outlines commissioners’ responsibilities for supporting primary care services to support patients who may need translation and interpretation support. This includes the requirement that health-related written documents in English (for example health information leaflets), which are usually made freely available to patients, should be translated where needed into other languages at no cost to the patient.

14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has taken recent steps to increase the availability of hormone replacement therapy implants in NHS hospitals.

The services provided are a matter for the National Health Service locally. Under the NHS Constitution, patients in England have a right to medicines and treatments that have been recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for use in the NHS, if a prescriber discusses treatment options with the patient and says that they are clinically appropriate for them. There are also arrangements in place for additional, local decision making in the absence of a relevant NICE recommendation.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment has he made of the adequacy of the availability of hormone replacement therapies.

There have been no specific discussions. However, the Department regularly engages with NHS England at a regional and national level on the supply of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medicines to ensure appropriate management plans are put in place where there are supply issues and to minimise any impact to patients. The Department also meets regularly with individual suppliers to discuss the supply position, identify issues and take action to address them. We are also holding quarterly roundtables with HRT manufacturers, wholesalers and community pharmacists to monitor progress and agree what more needs to be done to ensure supply is sufficient to meet demand.

Access to high-demand products has improved since actions have been taken by industry with our support, as well as the issuance of Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs) for some HRT products facing supply issues to limit dispensing to three months’ supply to even out distribution and allow specified alternative products to be supplied, as necessary. 21 SSPs for HRT products have been issued since April 2022. The majority of these have been withdrawn as supply issues have been resolved and only five SSPs remain in place.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
14th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has had recent discussions with NHS trusts on the adequacy of the availability of hormone replacement therapies.

There have been no specific discussions. However, the Department regularly engages with NHS England at a regional and national level on the supply of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medicines to ensure appropriate management plans are put in place where there are supply issues and to minimise any impact to patients. The Department also meets regularly with individual suppliers to discuss the supply position, identify issues and take action to address them. We are also holding quarterly roundtables with HRT manufacturers, wholesalers and community pharmacists to monitor progress and agree what more needs to be done to ensure supply is sufficient to meet demand.

Access to high-demand products has improved since actions have been taken by industry with our support, as well as the issuance of Serious Shortage Protocols (SSPs) for some HRT products facing supply issues to limit dispensing to three months’ supply to even out distribution and allow specified alternative products to be supplied, as necessary. 21 SSPs for HRT products have been issued since April 2022. The majority of these have been withdrawn as supply issues have been resolved and only five SSPs remain in place.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that it meets its 75 per cent target for the uptake of the NHS Healthy Start scheme by March 2023.

The NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA) operate the Healthy Start scheme on behalf of the Department. The NHSBSA is committed to increasing uptake of the scheme to ensure as many children as possible have a healthy start in life. The NHSBSA promotes the Healthy Start scheme through its digital channels and has created free tools to help stakeholders promote the scheme locally. The NHSBSA has also reached out to stakeholders to see how it can support them to promote the scheme.

14th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the number of families who may be eligible for backdated payments due to delays in digitisation of the Healthy Start scheme; and whether his Department is taking steps to provide interim support to those families.

The NHS Business Services Authority operate the Healthy Start scheme on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care. They identified an issue with the application process following the digitisation of the scheme and worked with Department for Work and Pensions to resolve the issue quickly. All those who may be eligible for a backdated payment have received or are due to receive payments.

2nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of including metachromatic leukodystrophy in the newborn blood spot test; and whether the UK National Screening Committee is expected to report on that issue.

The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) has not yet reviewed the evidence for including metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD) in National Health Service newborn blood spot screening. It was, however, sent a request to review the possibility of including the condition as part of its annual call for new screening topics, which it is currently evaluating.

Individuals can sign up to receive alerts when the UK NSC starts reviewing any new condition, including MLD, via the UK NSC website.

2nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, what steps he is taking to raise awareness of the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

We encourage people to get in touch with their general practitioner if they notice or are worried about symptoms that could be cancer. NHS England is running the ‘Help Us, Help You’ (HUHY) campaigns, which seeks to address the barriers that are deterring patients from accessing the National Health Service. A campaign on abdominal and urological symptoms launched on 31 October 2022 and ran through to December 2022, addressing symptoms of ovarian cancer. NHS England is in the process of planning HUHY activity for 2023/24.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to take steps to (a) review NHS hospital car parking charges for medical students and (b) provide funding for medical students in financial need.

Currently the Government has no plans to review National Health Service hospital car parking charges for medical students. NHS trusts determine car parking charges locally. All trusts that charge for car parking have implemented free hospital car parking for those with the greatest need. This includes NHS staff working overnight, which extends to students employed by the trust. The Government reviews funding arrangements for all healthcare students before the start of each academic year.

Whilst we will attempt to address a variety of issues with the finite resources available to us, we must also strike a balance between ensuring students are financially supported during their studies and delivering maximum value for money for the taxpayer.

24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has taken recent steps to commission research into postural tachycardia syndrome; and whether he plans to take steps to commission further research into postural tachycardia syndrome.

The Department commissions research through the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR). Since 2018, the NIHR has not funded specific research into postural tachycardia syndrome. The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health. Applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards made based on the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality. It is not usual practice for the NIHR to ring-fence a proportion of its budget for research into particular conditions and there are no current plans to commission specific research for postural tachycardia syndrome.

15th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the oral contribution of the Minister of State for Social Care of 27 Oct 2022, Official Report, col. 494, what his Department's expected timetable is for the conclusion of work commissioned on the potential merits of guaranteeing the right to maintain contact in care settings; and whether he plans to publish the outcomes of that work.

The Government’s guidance states that every resident should be able to have at least one visitor in all circumstances. We are currently engaging with stakeholders and reviewing a range of options to avoid instances where residents are unable to receive visitors.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is taking steps to procure 70,000 additional monkeypox vaccines.

We have procured over 150,000 vaccine doses to date. The UK Health Security Agency’s expert advice, endorsed by Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, is to offer two vaccine doses to a defined high-risk cohort of 111,000 individuals in the United Kingdom. Since August 2022, the safe and clinically effective use of fractional dosing allows one vial of the vaccine to provide three doses. This ensures that we have sufficient doses to deliver the current vaccination strategy in full.

26th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to improve the diagnostic rates of ADHD in adult women.

Local commissioners are responsible for ensuring appropriate provision to meet the health and care needs of the local population. Integrated care boards and National Health Service trusts should have due regard to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s guideline ‘Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: diagnosis and management’.

This guideline aims to improve the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), recognising that ADHD may be under-diagnosed in women and girls and to improve the quality of care and support that people of all ages receive. Diagnosis of ADHD may be undertaken in a variety of care settings and therefore there is currently no single established dataset to monitor the number of ADHD diagnoses nationally. NHS Digital is working to improve the quality of relevant datasets, such as the Mental Health Services Dataset and the Community Services dataset.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
19th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of allowing people diagnosed with Crohn's and Colitis to access a medical exemption card.

There are no current plans to review or extend the prescription charge medical exemptions list to include long term conditions such Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Approximately 89% of prescription items are currently dispensed free of charge and there are wide range of exemptions from prescription charges already in place for which those with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis may meet the eligibility criteria and be in receipt of free prescriptions.

To support those who do not qualify for an exemption from prescription charges, the cost of prescriptions can be capped by purchasing a prescription pre-payment certificate, which can be paid for in instalments. A holder of a 12-month certificate can get all the prescriptions they need for just over £2 per week. Additionally, people on a low income who do not qualify for an exemption from prescription charges can also seek help under the NHS Low Income Service, which provides help with health costs on an income-related basis.

11th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps her Department is taking to help improve access to NHS dental services in Wakefield constituency.

In September, we announced ‘Our plan for patients’, which outlines how we will meet oral health needs and increase access to dental care, including in Wakefield.

The plan includes improvements to ensure dentists are renumerated fairly for more complex work, allowing greater flexibility to reallocate resources and to utilise dentists with greater capacity to deliver National Health Service treatment, whilst enabling full use of the dental team. The plan also includes streamlining processes for overseas dentists and holding the local NHS to account for dentistry provision. In addition, Health Education England is also reforming dental education to improve the recruitment and retention of dental professionals.

11th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether her Department has provided additional (a) financial and (b) other support to help tackle (i) patient backlogs and (ii) increased workloads in GP surgeries in Wakefield.

The ‘Delivery plan for tackling the COVID-19 backlog of elective care’, published in February 2022, stated the ambition to reduce patient backlogs for planned National Health Service treatments and the government plans to spend more than £8bn from 2022/23 to 2024/25. We made £520 million available to expand general practice capacity during the pandemic. This was in addition to at least £1.5 billion announced in 2020 by 2024 which includes supporting increased workloads in GP surgeries, including in Wakefield. In September 2022, ‘Our plan for patients’ announced measures to support GP practices increase access and manage workload such as the provision of 31,000 phone lines and freeing up funding rules to widen the types of staff that work in general practice, including in Wakefield.

12th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to help improve access to NHS dentistry in Wakefield.

From July 2022, NHS England and NHS Improvement have asked practices to deliver 100% of contracted units of dental activity and 100% of units of orthodontic activity to safely improve access for patients.  An additional £50 million was provided for National Health Service dentistry for the final quarter of 2021/22 to support the provision of urgent care to patients. Of this funding, £8,633,000 was made available to the North East and Yorkshire region, including Wakefield.

The Department and NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with stakeholders, including the British Dental Association, on improvements to the NHS dental system to increase access, including in Wakefield.

29th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what date his Department agreed to extend the service at King Street NHS walk-in centre beyond September 2022; and if he will provide details of the timescale and process for commissioning the procurement of that service.

The decision to extend the contract at King Street NHS walk-in centre for 12 months from the end of the existing contract in March 2022, was agreed on 11 November 2021. This extension allows a review of urgent services to be completed according to national guidance, including patient engagement. In summer 2022, the proposed model will be taken through initial governance routes with engagement or consultation in autumn 2022. This is dependent on the scale of the change proposed and will be agreed through local Overview and Scrutiny arrangements and with the relevant guidance from NHS England and NHS Improvement. From January to February 2023, any revisions to the proposals will be made, following the consideration of the responses and the governance arrangements will be approved. In March 2023, the public will be informed of the integrated urgent care service offer.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade) (Minister for Women)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to help tackle (a) stigma and (b) discrimination against people living with HIV at an international level.

Addressing stigma and discrimination and ensuring equality of access to HIV prevention, testing and treatment services is critical to the global HIV response. The UK is a champion for human rights.

At the UN High Level Meeting on HIV in June 2021, the UK worked hard to secure the highest level of commitment from our global partners and garner support for the ambitious, rights-based Global AIDS Strategy 2021-2026, so the world has the best chance of meeting the 2030 goal to end AIDS. We also endorse the Global Fund's 2023-2028 Strategy, which includes a focus on addressing inequities and structural drivers of HIV infection and AIDS-related deaths including barriers to services due to stigma, discrimination and criminalisation.

Our funding to the Robert Carr Fund, UNAIDS and the Global Fund helps to support legal and policy reform to combat stigma and discrimination and to improve access to HIV services for those most at risk, as well as supporting civil society and grassroots organisations to challenge harmful policies and attitudes that exclude minorities and put them at greater risk of HIV infection and increase access to services for these groups, including LGBT+ people.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government (a) is taking and (b) plans to take to collaborate with international partners to (i) strengthen international health systems and (ii) help ensure that HIV (A) prevention, (B) testing and (C) treatment services are integrated into primary healthcare structures around the world.

Health systems strengthening is key to the UK's long-term approach to protecting and promoting good health, including HIV prevention and response. The UK will focus on integrating essential services, including HIV services, through improved primary health care that includes public health functions, quality of care, rights and equity, including for women with HIV who have some of the highest maternal death rates.

Furthermore, our Ending Preventable Deaths paper recognises the important contribution of global health institutions such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and outlines ways we will engage with our partners to ensure a strong, integrated approach that will support the entire health system and primary health care- including integrating HIV services.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential steps the Government can take to support (a) new (i) prevention methods, (ii) vaccines and (iii) point-of-care diagnostics and (b) other areas of research and innovation related to global HIV interventions.

FCDO supports research and market shaping initiatives into new, innovative HIV commodities to improve their development, access and affordability. We have invested around £400 million in innovative research through our Product Development Partnerships, and our commitments to MedAccess, Unitaid and CHAI support access to innovations. For example, FCDO funding for the International Partnership on Microbicides supported the development the dapivirine ring, the first long-acting HIV prevention product to help address women's unmet need for new methods of HIV-prevention. Furthermore, our catalytic funding to MedAccess- an innovative social financing company for healthcare products- has led to the development of HIV-syphillis dual tests, and to securing HIV self-tests at a historic price of $1.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
8th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the ways in which the Government can leverage its diplomatic relationships to (a) advocate for increased global funding for HIV programs and (b) encourage other countries to prioritise the HIV/AIDS agenda.

The UK was proud to play a strong role with our international partners in shaping the progressive and ambitious new Global AIDS Strategy 2021-26 and subsequent UN Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS. Adequate and sustainable financing and strong political will at every level is critical to the global community's ability to achieve these goals. The UK will continue to advocate for funding for HIV programmes and political prioritisation of the HIV/AIDS agenda at international and national levels. UK investments in organisations, such as the Global Fund , for UNAIDS, Unitaid and the Robert Carr Fund, support these diplomatic interventions and help countries to implement actions under the political declaration to prevent new HIV infections and stop AIDS related deaths.

Andrew Mitchell
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) (Minister for Development)
16th May 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the time taken by HMRC s to respond to complaints raised by Members on behalf of their constituents.

The Cabinet Office asks all government departments to reply to 80 per cent of Ministerial correspondence within 20 working days.

However, HMRC aims to reply to 80 per cent of Ministerial correspondence within 15 working days.

The Cabinet Office also publishes data on departmental performance in dealing with correspondence from MPs and peers on an annual basis.

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/data-on-responses-to-correspondence-from-mps-and-peers

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
11th Jan 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that HMRC process refunds promptly for people owed payments following their self-assessment tax returns.

HMRC has a service level agreement to issue the majority of Self-assessment (SA) repayments in 15 working days. HMRC are currently achieving this level of service, and are issuing approximately 80 per cent within 10 days, although some repayments do take longer due to additional security and compliance checks.

There is an automated process for issuing repayments resulting from the submission of online SA Returns so these will be issued when the returns are submitted, subject to any additional checks.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
29th Jun 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many people in Wakefield constituency were (a) paying National Insurance contributions and (b) earning under £25,000 per year on 29 June 2022.

In 2022-23 there are projected to be 2.2 million individuals paying individual National Insurance Contributions (Class 1, 2 or 4) and 3.0 million individuals with earnings under £25,000 in Yorkshire and the Humber, which includes the Parliamentary Constituency of Wakefield.

These estimates are based on the 2019-20 Survey of Personal Incomes, projected using economic assumptions consistent with the Office for Budget Responsibility’s March 2022 Economic and Fiscal Outlook.

HM Treasury does not publish this information at constituency level.

Lucy Frazer
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
16th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to his Department's policy paper entitled Fraud strategy, published on 3 May 2023, what progress his Department has made on introducing an identity checklist outlining the steps needed to (a) recover and (b) secure a stolen identity; and what his planned timeline is for the introduction of that identity checklist.

The Home Office published the Identity theft checklist on 5th December 2023. The checklist can be found on the Action Fraud website here: Identity fraud and identity theft | Action Fraud.

Tom Tugendhat
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
15th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of waiting times for decisions on applications for British citizenship.

The Secretary of State’s Home Department publishes data on the processing of applications for British citizenship on the Gov.UK website. This includes performance against the service standard for completing applications. The most recent Migration Transparency data published in November 2023 shows that 99.98% of straightforward applications were decided within service standard.

The link to the latest Migration Transparency Data can be found here:

Visas and citizenship data: Q3 2023 - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
10th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum seekers resident in (a) Wakefield constituency and (b) Wakefield District are living in hotel contingency accommodation as of 10 January 2024.

Data on the number of supported asylum seekers in accommodation is published in table: Asy_D11 here: Asylum and resettlement datasets - GOV.UK). Data is published on a quarterly basis.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
10th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people resident in Wakefield constituency are awaiting an outcome for an asylum application as of 10 January 2024.

The Home Office publishes data on asylum in the ‘Immigration System Statistics Quarterly Release’. Data on applications awaiting an initial decision is published in table Asy_D03 of the ‘Asylum applications, decisions and resettlement detailed datasets’. Please note that this information is not broken down by local authority.

The Home Office publishes data on asylum seekers in receipt of support by local authority in table Asy_D11 of the ‘Asylum and resettlement local authority data’ detailed datasets. Information on asylum seekers who are not claiming support is not available by local authority.

Information on how to use the datasets can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of each workbook. Additionally, the data shows a snapshot as at the last day of each quarter, rather than the number of asylum applications awaiting a decision over the entire quarter. The latest data relates to as at 30 September 2023. Data as at 31 December 2023 will be published on 29 February 2024.

Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
10th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people resident in Wakefield constituency have been awaiting an outcome for an asylum application for longer than (a) six months, (b) nine months and (c) 12 months.

The Home Office publishes data on asylum in the ‘Immigration System Statistics Quarterly Release’. Data on applications awaiting an initial decision is published in table Asy_D03 of the ‘Asylum applications, decisions and resettlement detailed datasets’. Please note that this information is not broken down by local authority.

The Home Office publishes data on asylum seekers in receipt of support by local authority in table Asy_D11 of the ‘Asylum and resettlement local authority data’ detailed datasets. Information on asylum seekers who are not claiming support is not available by local authority.

Information on how to use the datasets can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of each workbook. Additionally, the data shows a snapshot as at the last day of each quarter, rather than the number of asylum applications awaiting a decision over the entire quarter. The latest data relates to as at 30 September 2023. Data as at 31 December 2023 will be published on 29 February 2024.

Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
21st Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to review powers of entry into premises in the next 12 months; and if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of giving paramedics powers to force entry to homes in emergency calls.

Neither the Home Office nor the Department for Health and Social Care is currently planning a review of powers of entry.

Police officers have the power to enter a premises without a search warrant for the purpose of “saving life or limb” (Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, section 17[1][e]). This can include responding to a health emergency, depending on the circumstances.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the contract his Department awarded to Migrant Help to provide assistance to those seeking asylum, (a) how many cases have been referred to Migrant Help by the Home Office, and (b) how many replies have been received from Migrant Help within the target response time.

The Home Office introduced the Advice Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE) service, as operated by Migrant Help, to provide an independent resource for asylum seekers to request help, report issues and property defects, provide feedback or make complaints.

Asylum seekers are able to contact Migrant Help 24/7 by telephone, webchat or email, and there are strict service level agreements in place to resolving contacts, dependent on issue type. The contract has a range of Key Performance Indicators by which performance in all areas is reported on and monitored. Details of the AIRE contract is found at AIRE - Advice Issue Reporting and Eligibility - Contracts Finder.

As Migrant Help provide a range of services via multiple channels to a large cohort, to provide the information requested could only be done at a disproportionate cost.

8th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, where Migrant Help are contracted by her Department to provide assistance to those seeking asylum, what steps her Department is taking to ensure hon. Members receive prompt responses to constituent queries in relation to that service.

The Home Office introduced the Advice Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE) service, as operated by Migrant Help, to provide an independent resource for asylum seekers to request help, report issues and property defects, provide feedback or make complaints.

Asylum seekers are able to contact Migrant Help 24/7 by telephone, webchat or email, and there are strict service level agreements in place to resolving contacts, dependent on issue type. The contract has a range of Key Performance Indicators by which performance in all areas is reported on and monitored. Details of the AIRE contract is found at AIRE - Advice Issue Reporting and Eligibility - Contracts Finder.

As Migrant Help provide a range of services via multiple channels to a large cohort, to provide the information requested could only be done at a disproportionate cost.

26th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to tackle violence against women and girls.

Tackling Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) is a government priority. VAWG is an unacceptable, preventable issue which blights the lives of millions.

We have made significant progress since we published the Tackling VAWG Strategy in July 2021, including action to tackle the causes of these crimes. We have:

  • supported the introduction of a new full-time National Policing Lead for VAWG, DCC Maggie Blyth, to help strengthen the police response;
  • ratified the Istanbul Convention on 21 July 2022, demonstrating to women in the UK and to our partners overseas our commitment to tackling VAWG;
  • launched our national communications campaign, ‘Enough’, to challenge the harmful behaviours that exist within wider society, educate young people about healthy relationships and consent, and ensure victims can recognise abuse and receive support. Phase two of the campaign started on 25 October;
  • announced we will add VAWG to the Strategic Policing Requirement meaning it will be set out as a national threat for forces to respond to alongside other threats such as terrorism, serious and organised crime and child sexual abuse;
  • allocated £55 million to communities through the Safer Streets Fund and Safety of Women at Night Fund, including for extra CCTV, streetlighting and work to change attitudes and work to preventing VAWG in public spaces at night;
  • published a refreshed National Statement of Expectations and accompanying VAWG Commissioning Toolkit to outline the activity that local areas should undertake to ensure victims and survivors of VAWG get the help and support they need;
  • criminalised virginity testing, to send a clear message that this practice is wholly unacceptable in our society;
  • appointed joint Transport Champions to help make public transport safer for women and girls; and
  • piloted a tool, StreetSafe, which enables the public to anonymously report areas where they feel unsafe.

In addition, in May 2022, the Home Office launched a competition on What Works to prevent violence against women and girls. This will provide multi-year funding to providers and be accompanied by extensive evaluation to increase our understanding of what works.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
13th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans her Department has to tackle offences related to drug dealing.

The Government’s ten-year Drug Strategy, From Harm to Hope, sets out a whole system approach to reducing drug-related crime and it is through this strategy that we are mobilising a robust and innovative end-to-end plan which attacks every phase of the supply chain, undermining the business of drugs supply from source to street.

This includes £300m of dedicated investment over three years to drive work on tackling drug supply, including £145m to bolster our successful County Lines Programme, which from the start of the Programme in 2019, up until April this year, has led to over 2,400 lines closed, over 8000 arrests, and more than 9,500 individuals engaged through safeguarding interventions.

Police have also closed over 500 more lines so far since April 2022, bringing the total since 2019 to over 2,900. As part of this programme we are investing up to £5m over the next three years to provide specialist support to victims of county lines exploitation and their families.

13th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to help tackle anti-social behaviour.

The Government is committed to tackling and preventing anti-social behaviour (ASB). We know the serious impact that persistent ASB can have on both individuals and the wider community.

We provided the police, local authorities and other local agencies with a range of flexible tools and powers that they can use to respond quickly and effectively to ASB through the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

It is for local areas to decide how best to deploy these powers depending on the specific circumstances. They are best placed to understand what is driving the behaviour in question, the impact that it is having, and to determine the most appropriate response.

13th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many neighbourhood police officers there are in (a) Wakefield constituency and (b) West Yorkshire Police.

The Home Office collects and publishes data annually on the number of full-time equivalent police officers by function in the ‘Police workforce, England and Wales’ statistical bulletin, available here: Police workforce England and Wales statistics - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

These data are collected by Police Force Area only, and lower levels of geography, such as Parliamentary Constituencies or Metropolitan Boroughs are not collected.

Data on the number of police officers by function in West Yorkshire Police, as at 31 March 22 are available in the Table F1 of the data tables that accompany the release here: Police workforce, England and Wales: 31 March 2022: data tables

Some forces are not able to make a clear distinction between certain function subgroups and therefore record the majority of, or all, employees under the wider function. This is particularly apparent for ‘Neighbourhood Policing’. It is therefore recommended to refer to the wider function of ‘Local Policing’.

13th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much funding her Department has provided (a) to West Yorkshire Police and (b) for policing in Wakefield constituency in the 2022-23 financial year.

On 2 February 2022, the Government published a total police funding settlement of up to £16.9 billion in 2022/23, an increase of up to £1.1 billion when compared to 2021/22.

West Yorkshire Police’s funding will be up to £541.9m in 2022/23, an increase of up to £31.1m compared to 2021/22. The Home Office does not allocate funding to individual constituencies. Decisions about the allocation of police resources locally, are a matter for Chief Constables and directly elected local policing bodies (including Police and Crime Commissioners, Mayors exercising with PCC functions and the London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime).

13th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of charge rates for anti-social behaviour in Wakefield constituency.

The Government is committed to tackling and preventing crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB). We know the serious impact that persistent ASB can have on both individuals and communities.

The Home Secretary has set out her priority to deliver justice and high-quality outcomes for victims, and concern at the current levels of cases being investigated and converted into charges and prosecutions.

This government is committed to ensuring the Criminal Justice System works better together, including improving the charge rates which have dropped for many crimes.

13th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has taken recent steps to promote the use of Neighbourhood Watch schemes.

Neighbourhood Watch and the Home Office have been crime prevention partners for over 20 years. The Home Office provides grant funding as a contribution to its core costs and to promote programmes that match Home Office priorities.

Neighbourhood Watch’s focus has always been on reducing neighbourhood crime, making communities safer and supporting vulnerable members of the community. Neighbourhood Watch has long understood the importance of local partnerships including with the police. Coordinators and volunteers work closely with forces to provide crime prevention campaigns focusing on local priority crime types.

As crime changes and cyber enabled crimes become more prevalent, Neighbourhood Watch has adapted to the new trends. As well as providing advice as to what its members and the public can do to report and keep safe from the more traditional crimes of burglary and theft, it also includes fraud, cyber and county lines in its remit. All campaigns focus on simple actions for people to take that will have the most impact on reducing crime.

13th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the level of visibility of police officers in their communities.

Decisions about the deployment of police officers is an operational matter for Chief Constables.

The Beating Crime Plan sets out our expectations of police forces to tackle crime, including our approach for achieving greater visibility in community policing. The public should be able to contact their local police, know their names and how to reach them. The Government is clear that we expect police to be visible in their neighbourhood, confronting crime and making streets safer.

We are continuing work to increase the number of police officers in England and Wales. As at 30 June 2022, 13,790 additional officers have been recruited in England and Wales through the Police Uplift Programme. This is 69% of the target of 20,000 additional officers by March 2023.

29th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of the police response to reports of antisocial behaviour in Wakefield constituency.

The Government is committed to tackling and preventing anti-social behaviour (ASB). We know the serious impact that persistent anti-social behaviour can have on both individuals and communities.

We provided the police, local authorities, and other local agencies with a range of tools and powers that they can use to respond quickly and effectively to ASB through the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

However, it is for local areas to decide how best to deploy these powers depending on the specific circumstances. They are best placed to understand what is driving the behaviour in question, the impact that it is having, and to determine the most appropriate response.

It is for Chief Constables and PCCs, as operational leaders and elected local representatives, to decide how best to respond to local crime priorities and to help ensure that the police have the resources they need, we have given them the biggest funding increase in a decade and are recruiting 20,000 additional officers by March 2023, which provides extra resource to protect the public and keep us safe.

Home Office statutory guidance was updated in June 2022. It supports for local areas to make effective use of the anti-social behaviour powers. The guidance highlights the importance of multi-agency approaches (this is not limited to use of powers).

23rd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent estimate he has made of when the Levelling Up Partnerships will be formed in each of the areas selected for the scheme.

I refer the Hon. Member to the Written Statement made on 16th March 2023, UIN HCWS641, by my Rt. Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State.

23rd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether he plans to provide additional funding to places identified for a Levelling Up Partnership.

I refer the Hon. Member to the Written Statement made on 16th March 2023, UIN HCWS641, by my Rt. Hon. Friend, the Secretary of State.

23rd Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, which forms of photo ID that are issued by Government are eligible for use at polling stations.

This information is set out in the Elections Act 2022.

26th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what estimate his Department has made of the number of electors in the Wakefield constituency who do not have the required ID to vote in the May 2023 local elections.

I refer the Hon. Member to the response given to Question UIN 182686 on 3 May 2023.

9th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of bringing in Voter ID for local elections in May 2023 on voter turnout.

I refer the Hon. Member to the response to the UQ I gave on the floor of the House on 21 February 2023.

Lee Rowley
Minister of State (Minister for Housing)
10th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what guidance his Department has provided on whether driving licences need to be surrendered by people who receive single justice procedure notices for speeding fines.

The Ministry of Justice has not issued guidance on the surrender of driving licences. The Police are responsible for issuing the single justice procedure notice for traffic offences and they removed references to surrendering the licence from their notices when the legislation was commenced.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
9th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to help tackle delays in processing lasting power of attorney applications by the Office of the Public Guardian.

OPG are working hard to reduce the length of time that customers are currently waiting for their LPAs to be registered. To tackle the backlog of applications that arose during the pandemic and meet the increased demand for services, OPG have hired extra staff and teams are working overtime and across multiple shift patterns to ensure customers receive their LPAs as quickly as possible. OPG have introduced process efficiencies and continue to make sure they are doing all they can to improve the application journey for customers. These measures are starting to take effect and customers should see waiting times begin to reduce.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
26th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to tackle low prosecution rates for cases of rape and sexual assault.

The government remains committed to improving the Criminal Justice System response to rape and increase the number of adult rape cases reaching court. In June 2021, we published the End-to-End Rape Review Action Plan which set out a programme of work to address problems across the system and set out a public ambition to more than double the number of adult rape cases reaching court by the end of this Parliament. We continue to deliver on the cross-system Action Plan by:

  • More than quadrupling funding for victim support from £41m in 2009/10 to £192m by 2024/25 and increasing the number of Independent Sexual and Domestic Abuse Advisors to over 1,000 by 2024/25;

  • Introducing a single source of 24/7 support for victims of rape and sexual abuse later this year;

  • The police and Crown Prosecution Service are continuing to roll out a new investigatory model for rape – known as Operation Soteria – which focuses on the suspect’s, rather than the victim’s, behaviour. This has now begun operating across 19 police forces;

  • This September we also completed the rollout of pre-recorded cross-examination for victims of sexual and modern slavery offences in all Crown Courts in England and Wales. This will spare victims the glare of a live courtroom;

  • In June, we announced enhanced specialist sexual violence support in selected Crown Courts which includes improving facilities & technology at court, ensuring strong on-site support, improving communication with victims and better training;

  • To help improve waiting times for victims of crime and reduce the Crown Court backlog, over the next three financial years, we are also investing an extra £477 million for the Criminal Justice System.

These measures are starting to have an impact. According to latest data, we are currently on-track to reach our ambitions set out in the Rape Review.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
21st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of X-ray scanners deployed to prevent illegal items entering prisons; and whether he plans to roll these out to all prisons.

We have invested £100m to combat crime in prisons, including reducing the conveyance of illicit items such as drugs and mobile phones.

Since 2020, we have installed an additional 75 x-ray body scanners, bringing the total to 97 and providing coverage to the entire closed male estate. As of April 2022, there have been approximately 20,000 positive indications recorded.

A full evaluation of our security investments is underway and will be published in 2023. Further deployment of x-ray body scanners across the prison estate will be informed by the results of this evaluation.