Stephen Farry Portrait

Stephen Farry

Alliance - North Down


Select Committee Meeting
Wednesday 25th May 2022
09:00
Northern Ireland Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Investment in Northern Ireland
25 May 2022, 9 a.m.
At 9.30am: Oral evidence
Paul MacFlynn - Co-Director at Nevin Economic Research Institute
Nichola Hughes - Director at Sustainable NI
Alexandra Brennan - Co-Ordinator at Northern Ireland Women's Budget Group
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Department Event
Wednesday 22nd June 2022
11:30
Northern Ireland Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
22 Jun 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Northern Ireland
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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
Wednesday 18th May 2022
Achieving Economic Growth
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 1 Alliance Aye votes vs 0 Alliance No votes
Tally: Ayes - 229 Noes - 312
Speeches
Tuesday 17th May 2022
Oral Answers to Questions
T6. The Foreign Secretary is about to make a statement regarding unilateral changes to the Northern Ireland protocol that risk …
Written Answers
Thursday 19th May 2022
Local Government: Elections
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, whether candidates in future local government elections in Northern Ireland have …
Early Day Motions
Tuesday 11th May 2021
UK-EU veterinary agreement
That this House recognises that the absence of a UK-EU veterinary agreement on sanitary and phytosanitary rules on movements of …
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 4th October 2021
3. Gifts, benefits and hospitality from UK sources
Name of donor: National Liberal Club
Address of donor: Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2HE
Amount of donation or nature and …
EDM signed
Wednesday 18th May 2022
Centenary of policing in Northern Ireland since the formation of the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1922
That this House marks the centenary of policing in Northern Ireland since the formation of the Royal Ulster Constabulary in …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 5th February 2020
Trade Agreements (Exclusion of National Health Services) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to exclude requirements relating to National Health Services procurement, delivery or commissioning from international trade agreements; to require …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Stephen Farry has voted in 408 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
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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
Brandon Lewis (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
(37 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(34 debate interactions)
Michael Gove (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
(29 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Northern Ireland Office
(71 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(49 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(23 debate contributions)
Home Office
(11 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Stephen Farry's debates

North Down Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petitions with highest North Down signature proportion
Petitions with most North Down signatures
Stephen Farry has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Stephen Farry

16th May 2022
Stephen Farry signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 18th May 2022

Centenary of policing in Northern Ireland since the formation of the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1922

Tabled by: Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party - Strangford)
That this House marks the centenary of policing in Northern Ireland since the formation of the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1922; notes the 462 officers who lost their lives in the line of duty or service during that time and the thousands of others who sacrificed their mental health and …
4 signatures
(Most recent: 18 May 2022)
Signatures by party:
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
Alliance: 1
16th May 2022
Stephen Farry signed this EDM as a sponsor on Wednesday 18th May 2022

32nd anniversary of the death of four Ulster Defence Regiment soldiers at Ballydugan

Tabled by: Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party - Strangford)
That this House notes the 32nd anniversary of the slaughter of the four UDR Soldiers killed at Ballydugan on 9th of April 1990; extends its sincere and enduring sympathies to the families of Private John Birch, Lance Corporal John Bradley, Private Michael Adams and Private Steven Smart; highlights the fact …
4 signatures
(Most recent: 18 May 2022)
Signatures by party:
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
Alliance: 1
View All Stephen Farry's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Stephen Farry, 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.


Stephen Farry has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Stephen Farry has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Stephen Farry has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


395 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
14 Other Department Questions
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether official in his department have held discussions with their counterparts in the Northern Ireland Executive's Department for the Economy to help ensure that the Shared Prosperity Fund aligns with its Skills Strategy.

The UK Government engaged with departments across the Northern Ireland Executive on the design of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) ahead of publishing the Fund’s Prospectus on 13 April. In particular, officials in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities have engaged with departments across the Northern Ireland Executive so the UK Government can develop a list of interventions aligned to each of the three UKSPF investment priorities.

The UK Government will take a role in convening partners from across Northern Ireland to develop the UKSPF Investment Plan. We will refine the plan in consultation with stakeholders in a way that reflects the needs of Northern Ireland’s economy and society. This group could include representatives from Northern Ireland Executive Departments, local authorities, businesses and the community and voluntary sector.

As set out in the annex to the Prospectus on interventions in Northern Ireland, relevant plans and strategies in Northern Ireland will be considered as the UKSPF plan for Northern Ireland is developed, including, but not limited to, the draft Skills Strategy for Northern Ireland.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he has taken to engagement with the disability employment sector in Northern Ireland on the Shared Prosperity Fund.

The Government has been engaging with key stakeholders on the design and priorities of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund since 2016, including holding a series of engagement events across the UK.

Since the publication of the UKSPF Heads of Terms at Spending Review 2020, officials have engaged widely on the UKSPF, across a wide range of sectors and organisations, including the voluntary and community sector in Northern Ireland.

The UK Government will take a role in convening partners from across Northern Ireland to develop Northern Ireland’s UKSPF Investment Plan. We will refine the plan in consultation with stakeholders in a way that reflects the needs of Northern Ireland’s economy and society. This group could include representatives from Northern Ireland Executive Departments, local authorities, businesses and the community and voluntary sector.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, whether Ukrainian nationals who have recently arrived in Northern Ireland via the Republic of Ireland, either knowingly or unknowingly, are eligible for the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Ukrainian nationals who are already in the UK are not currently eligible for this scheme. I refer the Hon. Member to the FAQs published online at: www.gov.uk/guidance/homes-for-ukraine-scheme-frequently-asked-questions.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland Minister for Communities on the Homes for Ukraine programme.

Ministers and officials are in regular discussions with their counterparts in the Northern Ireland Executive.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans he has to designate his Department under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 with respect to its activities in Northern Ireland.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities is committed to working with the Northern Ireland Executive to deliver for all the people of Northern Ireland. Whilst DLUHC is not designated under Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 it is committed to carrying out its functions in line with its obligations under the Equality Act 2010, and with due regard to the considerations set out in Section 75.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what plans he has to allocate matched funding to projects currently supported by the European Social Fund in Northern Ireland during the 2022-23 financial year.

The Government is currently engaging with the Northern Ireland Executive at an official level regarding the concerns raised by some Northern Ireland stakeholders around programmes currently running under the European Social Fund.

UK-wide funding for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) will ramp up to at least match receipts from EU structural funds in Northern Ireland. which on average reached around £1.5 billion per year. Spending Review 2021 fulfils this commitment, with the announcement of over £2.6 billion for the UKSPF over the next three years.

The Government will publish further details on the fund in due course.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will set out any differences in assessment criteria for bids to the different Levelling Up funds in Northern Ireland compared to elsewhere in the UK.

At Autumn Budget 2021, the Government awarded nearly £50 million in funding to Northern Ireland as part of the first round of the Levelling Up Fund and a further £300k in funding from the Community Ownership Fund


The following week we announced 31 successful Community Renewal Fund projects in Northern Ireland, totalling nearly £12.4 million.

Community Ownership Fund assessment criteria was the same in every country of the UK. The assessment criteria for Levelling Up Fund and Community Renewal Fund, including the different criteria used in Northern Ireland, are published on gov.uk.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/972992/UKCRF_assessment_criteria_v1.1.pdf

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/992647/technical-note-for-application-form.pdf

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to manage the period between the European Social Fund-funded projects in Northern Ireland and the commencement of Shared Prosperity Fund-supported projects to help ensure that there are no gaps in funding and to reduce potential risk of redundancies for jobs dependent on that funding.

At Spending Review 2021, the Government announced over £2.6 billion for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

We are ensuring that domestic UK-wide funding will at least match EU receipts, reaching around £1.5 billion a year in 2024-25 when EU funding ceases, while also providing for a smooth transition onto the new, domestic regime.

The Government will publish further details on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in due course.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what structures or processes are in place to ensure that the application of the Shared Prosperity Fund in Northern Ireland is aligned to policies of the Northern Ireland Executive.

The UK Government will continue to engage the devolved administrations and local partners as we develop the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. We have committed that the devolved administrations will be represented on the governance structures for the Fund. The Government will publish further details on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in due course.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what his timetable is for opening applications to the Shared Prosperity Fund in Northern Ireland.

At Spending Review 2021, the Government announced over £2.6 billion for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, with funding ramping up to £1.5 billion in 2024/25.

The Government recognises the importance of reassuring local areas on the future of local growth funding and of providing clarity on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The Government will publish further details on the fund in due course.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what percentage of all levelling up funding awarded to date has been awarded to projects in Northern Ireland.

The Government has introduced a number of new funding programmes to level up the whole of the UK, including Northern Ireland. To date, this has seen 2.9% of the Levelling Up Fund awarded from the first round to projects in Northern Ireland, equating to almost £50 million.

In the first round of the UK Community Ownership Fund, 5.6% of the funding was awarded; and through the UK Community Renewal Fund 6% of the funding will go to benefit communities across Northern Ireland.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
26th May 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to her oral contribution at the Women and Equalities Committee on 25 May 2021 on the Role of the Government Equalities Office, where she stated that we’re also working hard with business to ensure there is support for LGBT people in business, particularly in small businesses, if she will publish a list of those businesses with whom she and officials of the Government Equalities Office have met.

The Government Equalities Office has engaged widely with employers across the UK to understand the experiences of LGBT employees in different sectors, meeting representatives from over 150 businesses during 2019/20 to share experiences on making workplaces genuinely LGBT-inclusive.

In March 2021, for example, the Minister for Women and Equalities met with a number of self-employed and SME businesses to discuss their personal experiences, and thoughts on best practice for promoting LGBT equality at work.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, pursuant to her oral contribution of 24 September 2020, Official Report, column 1137, on the Gender Recognition Act Consultation, where she stated that We have met 140 representative organisations, including LGBT and women’s organisations, if she will publish a list of those organisations with whom she and the Government Equalities Office met to discuss reform of the Gender Recognition Act 2004.

During the Gender Recognition Act consultation process, the Government met with approximately 140 organisations. The list, which was previously published via a Freedom of Information request in 2019, is provided as an annex to this answer.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
8th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the Government’s response to the statement from the EU Commission dated 30 June 2021 entitled EU-UK relations: solutions found to help implementation of the Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The Government has been clear that it welcomes Vice President Sefcovic’s indications that the EU is looking at further solutions.

However, the issues raised are only a smaller subset of a much larger set of problems created by the way the Protocol is being implemented – we need engagement on these fundamental barriers that we have identified during discussions.

In addition, where solutions were flagged, discussions are generally not advanced enough to determine whether they sufficiently address even the narrow issues with which they are concerned. We would need to see the full details of the proposals and discuss further to ensure any of these will work in practice.

We are considering our next steps and discussing with all those with an interest. We will set out our approach to Parliament in a considered way before the summer recess.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Answer of 23 March 2021 to Question 171772 on UK Trade with EU: Northern Ireland, what discussions he has had with (a) the European Commission and (b) individual EU member states on instances in which parcels or packets coming directly from Northern Ireland into the EU have been incorrectly required to have CN22 customers labels.

The Government has worked with parcel operators to ensure processes are set up such that importing EU countries should be clear that goods from Northern Ireland should not face customs processes. Where instances of non-compliance with the Protocol have been identified, we have been raising these issues with the Commission as part of our wider work to address outstanding issues with the Protocol, in order to minimise disruption to everyday lives in Northern Ireland.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
27th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will set out the proposed membership of the Joint Consultative Working Group in relation to the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The Joint Consultative Working Group (JCWG) is an official level group and Article 15(2) of the Northern Ireland Protocol establishes that the JCWG shall be composed of representatives of the United Kingdom and the European Union.

The Group’s rules of procedure set out that, where appropriate and by decision of the co-chairs, experts or other persons who are not members of delegations may be invited to attend meetings of the JCWG in order to provide information on a particular subject. This has not been necessary so far.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
27th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans the Government has to include representation from trade unions on the Joint Consultative Working Group in respect of the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The Joint Consultative Working Group (JCWG) is an official level group and Article 15(2) of the Northern Ireland Protocol establishes that the JCWG shall be composed of representatives of the United Kingdom and the European Union.

The Group’s rules of procedure set out that, where appropriate and by decision of the co-chairs, experts or other persons who are not members of delegations may be invited to attend meetings of the JCWG in order to provide information on a particular subject. This has not been necessary so far.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
13th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to convene a meeting of the SPS Specialised Committee under the UK-EU Trade and Co-operation Agreement.

Now that the Trade and Cooperation Agreement has been ratified, its committees will begin their work. The dates and arrangements for the first meeting of each committee, including the SPS Specialised Committee, are yet to be finalised.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will publish the attendance of the Joint Consultative Working Group on 29 January 2021; and how membership of that group was determined.

Article 15(2) of the Northern Ireland Protocol establishes that the Joint Consultative Working Group shall be composed of representatives of the United Kingdom and the European Union. The Government has committed to including representatives of the Northern Ireland Executive as part of the UK delegation to meetings. The JCWG briefly convened for a very short period on 29 January to adopt the Rules of Procedure. This was not a full meeting so was attended by limited delegations of only three officials from each side.

The Rules of Procedure adopted by that Working Group were those included as an Annex to the EU’s Council Decision 2020/1599 adopted on 23 October 2020; and no amendments were made.

The Working Group will continue to meet at dates decided by the co-chairs.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that recruitment to public service and non-public service posts are open to (a) people from Northern Ireland with an Irish identity and (b) EU/EEA nationals and others with indefinite right to remain.

The UK Government is working to increase the interchange and rotation of officials between posts within the Civil Service, including those working for the UK Government, agencies and public bodies, and the devolved administrations, as well as with the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

Northern Ireland civil servants who were originally appointed on merit through fair and open competition may freely transfer to posts in UK Government Departments. Appointments to the Northern Ireland Civil Service are regulated by the Northern Ireland Civil Service Commissioners.

With regards to working in the Civil Service, as set out previously, there is no change to the eligibility requirements for individuals who are Irish nationals following the UK’s exit from the EU, and they are eligible for all non-reserved posts. The Government has committed to maintaining the rights and opportunities of those with status under the EU Settlement Scheme to be eligible for employment in non-reserved posts within the Civil Service.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the implications for equality of not allowing transfers from the Northern Ireland civil service to the UK civil service.

The UK Government is working to increase the interchange and rotation of officials between posts within the Civil Service, including those working for the UK Government, agencies and public bodies, and the devolved administrations, as well as with the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

Northern Ireland civil servants who were originally appointed on merit through fair and open competition may freely transfer to posts in UK Government Departments. Appointments to the Northern Ireland Civil Service are regulated by the Northern Ireland Civil Service Commissioners.

With regards to working in the Civil Service, as set out previously, there is no change to the eligibility requirements for individuals who are Irish nationals following the UK’s exit from the EU, and they are eligible for all non-reserved posts. The Government has committed to maintaining the rights and opportunities of those with status under the EU Settlement Scheme to be eligible for employment in non-reserved posts within the Civil Service.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure that employees can transfer from the UK civil service to the Northern Ireland civil service.

The UK Government is working to increase the interchange and rotation of officials between posts within the Civil Service, including those working for the UK Government, agencies and public bodies, and the devolved administrations, as well as with the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

Northern Ireland civil servants who were originally appointed on merit through fair and open competition may freely transfer to posts in UK Government Departments. Appointments to the Northern Ireland Civil Service are regulated by the Northern Ireland Civil Service Commissioners.

With regards to working in the Civil Service, as set out previously, there is no change to the eligibility requirements for individuals who are Irish nationals following the UK’s exit from the EU, and they are eligible for all non-reserved posts. The Government has committed to maintaining the rights and opportunities of those with status under the EU Settlement Scheme to be eligible for employment in non-reserved posts within the Civil Service.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to assist Northern Ireland based companies, experiencing supply chain interruption from suppliers in Great Britain, to identify alternative suppliers in the EU.

Further to the answers given by my Right Honourable Friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the House today, the Government has no such policy.

For those moving goods into Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, there is a substantial package of support available including the free to use Trader Support Service and the Movement Assistance Scheme, where SPS certification is required.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of implementing a bespoke mechanism to facilitate the timely passage of guide dog puppies from Great Britain to Northern Ireland with an agreed derogation from the Northern Ireland Protocol.

I refer the hon. Member to the response by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to the urgent question on 2 February 2021, and the letter by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to the European Commission Vice-President. Further steps are necessary to address regulatory barriers and provide time for a light-touch long-term approach to be codified.

The Government is engaging with the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) to explore means to streamline pet travel between the UK and Ireland, recognising the high standards of animal health that the UK and Ireland share.

In the meantime, DAERA have confirmed that there will be no routine compliance checks on pets/assistance dogs entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain until 1 July 2021. NI-based pets/assistance dogs returning to Northern Ireland from Great Britain can continue to use an NI-issued EU Pet Passport to re-enter Northern Ireland, and will not need an animal health certificate. Further guidance is set out here: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/travelling-pets

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government is taking to ensure the continued flow of parcels and other deliveries from Great Britain to Northern Ireland in light of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

I refer the hon. Member to the response by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to the urgent question on 2 February 2021, and the letter by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster to the European Commission Vice-President. Further steps are necessary to address regulatory barriers and provide time for a light-touch long-term approach to be codified.

The Government is engaging with the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) to explore means to streamline pet travel between the UK and Ireland, recognising the high standards of animal health that the UK and Ireland share.

In the meantime, DAERA have confirmed that there will be no routine compliance checks on pets/assistance dogs entering Northern Ireland from Great Britain until 1 July 2021. NI-based pets/assistance dogs returning to Northern Ireland from Great Britain can continue to use an NI-issued EU Pet Passport to re-enter Northern Ireland, and will not need an animal health certificate. Further guidance is set out here: https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/articles/travelling-pets

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Draft unilateral declarations by the European Union and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee on human and veterinary medicines cover medical devices.

The Unilateral Declaration on Medicines (available on gov.uk) allows for the phased implementation in Northern Ireland of relevant medicines regulation, and in particular the Falsified Medicines Directive. Medical devices are not subject to the Falsified Medicines Directive and are not in scope of the declaration. Businesses and authorities moving medical devices can make use of the Trade Support Service and the UK Trader Scheme. Full guidance on the regulatory requirements for medical devices are set out on gov.uk. Medical devices will be able to be moved smoothly between Great Britain and Northern Ireland from 1 January 2021.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure UK access to warnings from the EU Safety Gate site with respect to goods placed on the market in (a) Northern Ireland and (b) Great Britain.

Alerts under the EU Safety Gate system are publicly available, the UK will continue to monitor and assess relevant public notifications.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the agreement reached at the fourth meeting of the Specialised Committee on the Northern Ireland Protocol on medicines covers all medicines entering Great Britain that may subsequently transit to Northern Ireland or all medicines entering the UK.

The UK and EU agreed, at the Ireland/Northern Ireland Specialised Committee on 5 November, to a pragmatic approach to implementing medicines regulations which ensures no disruption to the flow of medicines to Northern Ireland. This includes a one year time-limited approach to the application of the regulatory requirements for imports from other parts of the United Kingdom into Northern Ireland and the ‘safety feature’ elements of the Falsified Medicines Directive. Further guidance will be published shortly setting out the arrangements in detail.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
16th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of commissioning a memorial to remember the victims of the Transatlantic slave trade and slavery.

May I apologise for the delay in answering this question. The UK deplores the human suffering caused by slavery and the slave trade. They are among the most dishonourable and abhorrent chapters in the history of humanity.

Public and private organisations are able to propose, fund, develop and deliver memorials marking incidents and historical moments.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the planned timescale is for a system of rebates to be (a) designed and (b) implemented for goods that remain in Northern Ireland from Great Britain that do not enter the Republic of Ireland.

Further to the statement by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 19 October, the approach outlined in the Command Paper in May, and the guidance published on 7 August regarding the operation of the Northern Ireland protocol, the UK Government has been unequivocal in its commitment to delivering unfettered access for Northern Ireland goods to the rest of the UK market. This is a clear commitment of the Withdrawal Agreement, and the UK will guarantee it in legislation before the end of the year.

The Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 sets out the goods that will benefit from unfettered access in the first instance. This initial approach will be replaced by a longer-lasting regime during 2021 that will be developed alongside Northern Ireland businesses, and the Northern Ireland Executive. Further details will be set out in due course but our approach will ensure that, at all stages, Northern Ireland businesses will continue to enjoy unfettered access to the whole of the UK market from 1 January 2021.

The Protocol applies whether or not the UK and EU reach agreement on a free trade agreement.

The Government has no plans to publish a Border Operating Model for goods' movement between Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the simple reason that - as the Withdrawal Agreement makes clear - there is no border within the UK, and the UK as a whole will be leaving the EU's customs territory at the end of the transition period. The Government has however committed to publishing further detailed information and guidance as soon as possible when relevant details are resolved, including where matters depend on discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. This is the case on the question of goods 'at risk', as well as further detail on labelling requirements for agrifood goods.

Further to Article 15 (2) of the Protocol and my answer to PQ 99785, the membership of the Joint Consultative Working Group will be composed of representatives of the UK, including the Northern Ireland Executive, and the EU. The Group will meet shortly.

Regarding the supply of medicines, discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee are ongoing.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to enable the Trader Support Service to support businesses moving goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland via the Holyhead to Dublin route.

Further to the statement by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 19 October, the approach outlined in the Command Paper in May, and the guidance published on 7 August regarding the operation of the Northern Ireland protocol, the UK Government has been unequivocal in its commitment to delivering unfettered access for Northern Ireland goods to the rest of the UK market. This is a clear commitment of the Withdrawal Agreement, and the UK will guarantee it in legislation before the end of the year.

The Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 sets out the goods that will benefit from unfettered access in the first instance. This initial approach will be replaced by a longer-lasting regime during 2021 that will be developed alongside Northern Ireland businesses, and the Northern Ireland Executive. Further details will be set out in due course but our approach will ensure that, at all stages, Northern Ireland businesses will continue to enjoy unfettered access to the whole of the UK market from 1 January 2021.

The Protocol applies whether or not the UK and EU reach agreement on a free trade agreement.

The Government has no plans to publish a Border Operating Model for goods' movement between Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the simple reason that - as the Withdrawal Agreement makes clear - there is no border within the UK, and the UK as a whole will be leaving the EU's customs territory at the end of the transition period. The Government has however committed to publishing further detailed information and guidance as soon as possible when relevant details are resolved, including where matters depend on discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. This is the case on the question of goods 'at risk', as well as further detail on labelling requirements for agrifood goods.

Further to Article 15 (2) of the Protocol and my answer to PQ 99785, the membership of the Joint Consultative Working Group will be composed of representatives of the UK, including the Northern Ireland Executive, and the EU. The Group will meet shortly.

Regarding the supply of medicines, discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee are ongoing.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the labelling requirements will be for businesses that move goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Further to the statement by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 19 October, the approach outlined in the Command Paper in May, and the guidance published on 7 August regarding the operation of the Northern Ireland protocol, the UK Government has been unequivocal in its commitment to delivering unfettered access for Northern Ireland goods to the rest of the UK market. This is a clear commitment of the Withdrawal Agreement, and the UK will guarantee it in legislation before the end of the year.

The Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 sets out the goods that will benefit from unfettered access in the first instance. This initial approach will be replaced by a longer-lasting regime during 2021 that will be developed alongside Northern Ireland businesses, and the Northern Ireland Executive. Further details will be set out in due course but our approach will ensure that, at all stages, Northern Ireland businesses will continue to enjoy unfettered access to the whole of the UK market from 1 January 2021.

The Protocol applies whether or not the UK and EU reach agreement on a free trade agreement.

The Government has no plans to publish a Border Operating Model for goods' movement between Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the simple reason that - as the Withdrawal Agreement makes clear - there is no border within the UK, and the UK as a whole will be leaving the EU's customs territory at the end of the transition period. The Government has however committed to publishing further detailed information and guidance as soon as possible when relevant details are resolved, including where matters depend on discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. This is the case on the question of goods 'at risk', as well as further detail on labelling requirements for agrifood goods.

Further to Article 15 (2) of the Protocol and my answer to PQ 99785, the membership of the Joint Consultative Working Group will be composed of representatives of the UK, including the Northern Ireland Executive, and the EU. The Group will meet shortly.

Regarding the supply of medicines, discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee are ongoing.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress has been made on ensuring the continued supply of medicines from Great Britain to Northern Ireland in the event that a UK-EU mutual recognition agreement is not reached before the end of the transition period.

Further to the statement by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 19 October, the approach outlined in the Command Paper in May, and the guidance published on 7 August regarding the operation of the Northern Ireland protocol, the UK Government has been unequivocal in its commitment to delivering unfettered access for Northern Ireland goods to the rest of the UK market. This is a clear commitment of the Withdrawal Agreement, and the UK will guarantee it in legislation before the end of the year.

The Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 sets out the goods that will benefit from unfettered access in the first instance. This initial approach will be replaced by a longer-lasting regime during 2021 that will be developed alongside Northern Ireland businesses, and the Northern Ireland Executive. Further details will be set out in due course but our approach will ensure that, at all stages, Northern Ireland businesses will continue to enjoy unfettered access to the whole of the UK market from 1 January 2021.

The Protocol applies whether or not the UK and EU reach agreement on a free trade agreement.

The Government has no plans to publish a Border Operating Model for goods' movement between Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the simple reason that - as the Withdrawal Agreement makes clear - there is no border within the UK, and the UK as a whole will be leaving the EU's customs territory at the end of the transition period. The Government has however committed to publishing further detailed information and guidance as soon as possible when relevant details are resolved, including where matters depend on discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. This is the case on the question of goods 'at risk', as well as further detail on labelling requirements for agrifood goods.

Further to Article 15 (2) of the Protocol and my answer to PQ 99785, the membership of the Joint Consultative Working Group will be composed of representatives of the UK, including the Northern Ireland Executive, and the EU. The Group will meet shortly.

Regarding the supply of medicines, discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee are ongoing.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the potential merits are of an Australia-style future relationship with the EU.

Further to the statement by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 19 October, the approach outlined in the Command Paper in May, and the guidance published on 7 August regarding the operation of the Northern Ireland protocol, the UK Government has been unequivocal in its commitment to delivering unfettered access for Northern Ireland goods to the rest of the UK market. This is a clear commitment of the Withdrawal Agreement, and the UK will guarantee it in legislation before the end of the year.

The Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 sets out the goods that will benefit from unfettered access in the first instance. This initial approach will be replaced by a longer-lasting regime during 2021 that will be developed alongside Northern Ireland businesses, and the Northern Ireland Executive. Further details will be set out in due course but our approach will ensure that, at all stages, Northern Ireland businesses will continue to enjoy unfettered access to the whole of the UK market from 1 January 2021.

The Protocol applies whether or not the UK and EU reach agreement on a free trade agreement.

The Government has no plans to publish a Border Operating Model for goods' movement between Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the simple reason that - as the Withdrawal Agreement makes clear - there is no border within the UK, and the UK as a whole will be leaving the EU's customs territory at the end of the transition period. The Government has however committed to publishing further detailed information and guidance as soon as possible when relevant details are resolved, including where matters depend on discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. This is the case on the question of goods 'at risk', as well as further detail on labelling requirements for agrifood goods.

Further to Article 15 (2) of the Protocol and my answer to PQ 99785, the membership of the Joint Consultative Working Group will be composed of representatives of the UK, including the Northern Ireland Executive, and the EU. The Group will meet shortly.

Regarding the supply of medicines, discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee are ongoing.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to facilitate inward processing relief for goods at risk of moving into the EU on Great Britain to Northern Ireland trade routes.

Further to the statement by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 19 October, the approach outlined in the Command Paper in May, and the guidance published on 7 August regarding the operation of the Northern Ireland protocol, the UK Government has been unequivocal in its commitment to delivering unfettered access for Northern Ireland goods to the rest of the UK market. This is a clear commitment of the Withdrawal Agreement, and the UK will guarantee it in legislation before the end of the year.

The Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 sets out the goods that will benefit from unfettered access in the first instance. This initial approach will be replaced by a longer-lasting regime during 2021 that will be developed alongside Northern Ireland businesses, and the Northern Ireland Executive. Further details will be set out in due course but our approach will ensure that, at all stages, Northern Ireland businesses will continue to enjoy unfettered access to the whole of the UK market from 1 January 2021.

The Protocol applies whether or not the UK and EU reach agreement on a free trade agreement.

The Government has no plans to publish a Border Operating Model for goods' movement between Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the simple reason that - as the Withdrawal Agreement makes clear - there is no border within the UK, and the UK as a whole will be leaving the EU's customs territory at the end of the transition period. The Government has however committed to publishing further detailed information and guidance as soon as possible when relevant details are resolved, including where matters depend on discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. This is the case on the question of goods 'at risk', as well as further detail on labelling requirements for agrifood goods.

Further to Article 15 (2) of the Protocol and my answer to PQ 99785, the membership of the Joint Consultative Working Group will be composed of representatives of the UK, including the Northern Ireland Executive, and the EU. The Group will meet shortly.

Regarding the supply of medicines, discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee are ongoing.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 14 October 2020 to Question 99785, how the (a) membership and (b) rules of procedure will be determined for the Joint Consultative Working Group in relation to the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol.

Further to the statement by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 19 October, the approach outlined in the Command Paper in May, and the guidance published on 7 August regarding the operation of the Northern Ireland protocol, the UK Government has been unequivocal in its commitment to delivering unfettered access for Northern Ireland goods to the rest of the UK market. This is a clear commitment of the Withdrawal Agreement, and the UK will guarantee it in legislation before the end of the year.

The Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 sets out the goods that will benefit from unfettered access in the first instance. This initial approach will be replaced by a longer-lasting regime during 2021 that will be developed alongside Northern Ireland businesses, and the Northern Ireland Executive. Further details will be set out in due course but our approach will ensure that, at all stages, Northern Ireland businesses will continue to enjoy unfettered access to the whole of the UK market from 1 January 2021.

The Protocol applies whether or not the UK and EU reach agreement on a free trade agreement.

The Government has no plans to publish a Border Operating Model for goods' movement between Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the simple reason that - as the Withdrawal Agreement makes clear - there is no border within the UK, and the UK as a whole will be leaving the EU's customs territory at the end of the transition period. The Government has however committed to publishing further detailed information and guidance as soon as possible when relevant details are resolved, including where matters depend on discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. This is the case on the question of goods 'at risk', as well as further detail on labelling requirements for agrifood goods.

Further to Article 15 (2) of the Protocol and my answer to PQ 99785, the membership of the Joint Consultative Working Group will be composed of representatives of the UK, including the Northern Ireland Executive, and the EU. The Group will meet shortly.

Regarding the supply of medicines, discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee are ongoing.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps are being taken to accommodate intermediate processing of goods in Northern Ireland without those goods being deemed at risk.

Further to the statement by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 19 October, the approach outlined in the Command Paper in May, and the guidance published on 7 August regarding the operation of the Northern Ireland protocol, the UK Government has been unequivocal in its commitment to delivering unfettered access for Northern Ireland goods to the rest of the UK market. This is a clear commitment of the Withdrawal Agreement, and the UK will guarantee it in legislation before the end of the year.

The Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 sets out the goods that will benefit from unfettered access in the first instance. This initial approach will be replaced by a longer-lasting regime during 2021 that will be developed alongside Northern Ireland businesses, and the Northern Ireland Executive. Further details will be set out in due course but our approach will ensure that, at all stages, Northern Ireland businesses will continue to enjoy unfettered access to the whole of the UK market from 1 January 2021.

The Protocol applies whether or not the UK and EU reach agreement on a free trade agreement.

The Government has no plans to publish a Border Operating Model for goods' movement between Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the simple reason that - as the Withdrawal Agreement makes clear - there is no border within the UK, and the UK as a whole will be leaving the EU's customs territory at the end of the transition period. The Government has however committed to publishing further detailed information and guidance as soon as possible when relevant details are resolved, including where matters depend on discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. This is the case on the question of goods 'at risk', as well as further detail on labelling requirements for agrifood goods.

Further to Article 15 (2) of the Protocol and my answer to PQ 99785, the membership of the Joint Consultative Working Group will be composed of representatives of the UK, including the Northern Ireland Executive, and the EU. The Group will meet shortly.

Regarding the supply of medicines, discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee are ongoing.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Border Operating Model for the Great Britain and Northern Ireland interface be released.

Further to the statement by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 19 October, the approach outlined in the Command Paper in May, and the guidance published on 7 August regarding the operation of the Northern Ireland protocol, the UK Government has been unequivocal in its commitment to delivering unfettered access for Northern Ireland goods to the rest of the UK market. This is a clear commitment of the Withdrawal Agreement, and the UK will guarantee it in legislation before the end of the year.

The Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 sets out the goods that will benefit from unfettered access in the first instance. This initial approach will be replaced by a longer-lasting regime during 2021 that will be developed alongside Northern Ireland businesses, and the Northern Ireland Executive. Further details will be set out in due course but our approach will ensure that, at all stages, Northern Ireland businesses will continue to enjoy unfettered access to the whole of the UK market from 1 January 2021.

The Protocol applies whether or not the UK and EU reach agreement on a free trade agreement.

The Government has no plans to publish a Border Operating Model for goods' movement between Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the simple reason that - as the Withdrawal Agreement makes clear - there is no border within the UK, and the UK as a whole will be leaving the EU's customs territory at the end of the transition period. The Government has however committed to publishing further detailed information and guidance as soon as possible when relevant details are resolved, including where matters depend on discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. This is the case on the question of goods 'at risk', as well as further detail on labelling requirements for agrifood goods.

Further to Article 15 (2) of the Protocol and my answer to PQ 99785, the membership of the Joint Consultative Working Group will be composed of representatives of the UK, including the Northern Ireland Executive, and the EU. The Group will meet shortly.

Regarding the supply of medicines, discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee are ongoing.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what contingency plans the Government is making to manage trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the event that a trade deal is not agreed with the EU by 31 December 2020.

Further to the statement by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 19 October, the approach outlined in the Command Paper in May, and the guidance published on 7 August regarding the operation of the Northern Ireland protocol, the UK Government has been unequivocal in its commitment to delivering unfettered access for Northern Ireland goods to the rest of the UK market. This is a clear commitment of the Withdrawal Agreement, and the UK will guarantee it in legislation before the end of the year.

The Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 sets out the goods that will benefit from unfettered access in the first instance. This initial approach will be replaced by a longer-lasting regime during 2021 that will be developed alongside Northern Ireland businesses, and the Northern Ireland Executive. Further details will be set out in due course but our approach will ensure that, at all stages, Northern Ireland businesses will continue to enjoy unfettered access to the whole of the UK market from 1 January 2021.

The Protocol applies whether or not the UK and EU reach agreement on a free trade agreement.

The Government has no plans to publish a Border Operating Model for goods' movement between Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the simple reason that - as the Withdrawal Agreement makes clear - there is no border within the UK, and the UK as a whole will be leaving the EU's customs territory at the end of the transition period. The Government has however committed to publishing further detailed information and guidance as soon as possible when relevant details are resolved, including where matters depend on discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. This is the case on the question of goods 'at risk', as well as further detail on labelling requirements for agrifood goods.

Further to Article 15 (2) of the Protocol and my answer to PQ 99785, the membership of the Joint Consultative Working Group will be composed of representatives of the UK, including the Northern Ireland Executive, and the EU. The Group will meet shortly.

Regarding the supply of medicines, discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee are ongoing.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what checks will be in place to ensure that only goods from Northern Ireland receive unfettered access to the UK internal market.

Further to the statement by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 19 October, the approach outlined in the Command Paper in May, and the guidance published on 7 August regarding the operation of the Northern Ireland protocol, the UK Government has been unequivocal in its commitment to delivering unfettered access for Northern Ireland goods to the rest of the UK market. This is a clear commitment of the Withdrawal Agreement, and the UK will guarantee it in legislation before the end of the year.

The Definition of Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 sets out the goods that will benefit from unfettered access in the first instance. This initial approach will be replaced by a longer-lasting regime during 2021 that will be developed alongside Northern Ireland businesses, and the Northern Ireland Executive. Further details will be set out in due course but our approach will ensure that, at all stages, Northern Ireland businesses will continue to enjoy unfettered access to the whole of the UK market from 1 January 2021.

The Protocol applies whether or not the UK and EU reach agreement on a free trade agreement.

The Government has no plans to publish a Border Operating Model for goods' movement between Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the simple reason that - as the Withdrawal Agreement makes clear - there is no border within the UK, and the UK as a whole will be leaving the EU's customs territory at the end of the transition period. The Government has however committed to publishing further detailed information and guidance as soon as possible when relevant details are resolved, including where matters depend on discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. This is the case on the question of goods 'at risk', as well as further detail on labelling requirements for agrifood goods.

Further to Article 15 (2) of the Protocol and my answer to PQ 99785, the membership of the Joint Consultative Working Group will be composed of representatives of the UK, including the Northern Ireland Executive, and the EU. The Group will meet shortly.

Regarding the supply of medicines, discussions in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee are ongoing.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
6th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, for what reason meetings of the Joint Consultative Working Group in relation to the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol have not taken place.

The Joint Consultative Working Group, established under Article 15 of the Northern Ireland Protocol, will meet once the Rules of Procedure have been agreed.

Once agreed, we will arrange a date for the first meeting.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the UK Government’s response to each of the proposed amendments to the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol made by the European Commission on 12 June 2020.

The Government is not seeking to renegotiate the Protocol, which depends on the consent of the elected representatives of the people of Northern Ireland. The Protocol must be implemented in a way that upholds the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement and respects the unique circumstances of Northern Ireland.

In terms of the proposed amendments, we will provide a fuller response once further discussions have taken place.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the date is of the next scheduled meeting of the Specialised Committee on the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster updated the House on the second meeting of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee in a Written Statement of 15 June (HCWS291).

Further to that update, the specialised committee will meet in the coming weeks. As with the Specialised Committee, the Working Group will be co-chaired by the UK and EU and made up of officials from both sides.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the first meeting of the Joint Consultative Working Group on the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol will take place; and who will be invited to attend that meeting.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster updated the House on the second meeting of the UK-EU Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee in a Written Statement of 15 June (HCWS291).

Further to that update, the specialised committee will meet in the coming weeks. As with the Specialised Committee, the Working Group will be co-chaired by the UK and EU and made up of officials from both sides.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, to whom did Dominic Cummings report to in his role as Special Adviser during the period when the Prime Minister was incapacitated with covid-19.

The Prime Minister was still in office; special advisers stayed in post, and remained accountable to their appointing Minister.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
4th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the implications for the (a) ministerial, (b) special adviser and (c) civil service (i) codes and (ii) operational practice of the final report and recommendations of the Renewable Heat Initiative inquiry in Northern Ireland.

The recommendations of the Renewable Heat Initiative inquiry were aimed principally at the devolved administration in Northern Ireland, which operates its own Codes. The Government maintains awareness of relevant lessons learned in the devolved administrations, including from the inquiry, and keeps under review the Codes and operational practices that apply within the UK Government.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, which (a) members of the UK delegation and (b) other participants excluding civil servants were present at (i) the first meeting and (ii) any subsequent meetings of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee.

The first Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee meeting was co-chaired by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Rt Hon Michael Gove MP. I accompanied him, as alternate co-chair. The meeting was attended by a small UK delegation, which included two ministers from the Northern Ireland Executive.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, who the proposed participants are who are not civil servants for the meeting of the Specialised Committee on the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol scheduled for 30 April 2020.

As set out in the New Decade, New Approach deal, the Government will ensure that representatives from the Northern Ireland Executive are invited to be part of the UK delegation in any meetings of the UK-EU Specialised or Joint Committees discussing Northern Ireland specific matters which are also being attended by the Irish Government as part of the European Union’s delegation. This applied to the meeting on the 30 April 2020.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil servants are working on the (a) negotiations for and (b) planning of the future relationship with the EU, broken by down (a) department and (b) grade.

The Task Force Europe team in No 10 consists of 48 civil servants (as at 20 March) across all civil service grades. The Unit works closely with colleagues from across Whitehall on negotiations on our future relationship with the EU.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to his oral contribution of 27 February 2020, Official Report, column 484, what his definition is of appropriately implemented in relation to the Northern Ireland/Ireland Protocol.

I refer the Hon. Member to the oral statement made by my Rt Hon friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 27 February 2020 (Official Record, Vol.672 Col.467-470)

The Government will ensure that representatives from the Northern Ireland Executive are invited to be part of the UK delegation in meetings of the UK-EU Specialised or Joint Committees discussing Northern Ireland specific matters which are also being attended by the Irish Government as part of the European Union’s delegation.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister has been clear in his statement given on 19 October 2019 (Official Record, Vol. 666, Col. 570-572) that Northern Ireland remains part of the UK customs territory.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the document entitled Future relationship with the European Union, published February 2020, what additional checks across the Irish Sea arising from the Northern Ireland/Ireland Protocol will be required.

I refer the Hon. Member to the oral statement made by my Rt Hon friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 27 February 2020 (Official Record, Vol.672 Col.467-470)

The Government will ensure that representatives from the Northern Ireland Executive are invited to be part of the UK delegation in meetings of the UK-EU Specialised or Joint Committees discussing Northern Ireland specific matters which are also being attended by the Irish Government as part of the European Union’s delegation.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister has been clear in his statement given on 19 October 2019 (Official Record, Vol. 666, Col. 570-572) that Northern Ireland remains part of the UK customs territory.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress the Government has made on preparations for the implementation of the Northern Ireland/Ireland Protocol.

I refer the Hon. Member to the oral statement made by my Rt Hon friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 27 February 2020 (Official Record, Vol.672 Col.467-470)

The Government will ensure that representatives from the Northern Ireland Executive are invited to be part of the UK delegation in meetings of the UK-EU Specialised or Joint Committees discussing Northern Ireland specific matters which are also being attended by the Irish Government as part of the European Union’s delegation.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister has been clear in his statement given on 19 October 2019 (Official Record, Vol. 666, Col. 570-572) that Northern Ireland remains part of the UK customs territory.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how the Northern Ireland executive will be represented on the (a) Joint Committee and (b) Specialised Committee with regard to implementation of the Northern Ireland/Ireland Protocol.

I refer the Hon. Member to the oral statement made by my Rt Hon friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on 27 February 2020 (Official Record, Vol.672 Col.467-470)

The Government will ensure that representatives from the Northern Ireland Executive are invited to be part of the UK delegation in meetings of the UK-EU Specialised or Joint Committees discussing Northern Ireland specific matters which are also being attended by the Irish Government as part of the European Union’s delegation.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister has been clear in his statement given on 19 October 2019 (Official Record, Vol. 666, Col. 570-572) that Northern Ireland remains part of the UK customs territory.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 21 September 2021 to Question 48387 on Aerospace Industry and Defence: Manufacturing Industries, if he will extend the SC21 Competitiveness and Growth programme beyond the expiry date of March 2022 to enable the aerospace and automative sectors to take into account the delays in access as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

A decision on continued funding for the Supply Chain 21 Competitiveness & Growth programme will be made as part of the Department’s business planning, which will determine future spending priorities following the conclusion of the Spending Review.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of extending the SC21 Competitiveness and Growth programme beyond the expiry date of March 2022 to enable the aerospace and automative sectors to take into account the delays in access as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

An extension of the programme remains subject to the Department’s financial position following Spending Review 2021. The Government remains committed to supporting SMEs to improve their productivity and competitiveness. Earlier this year, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced £500m for the Help to Grow programme which will look to improve SME leaders' approach to management and the importance of adopting digital technologies to improve productivity.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 15 December 2020 to Question 126183 on Consumer Goods: Safety, whether the UK plans to provide information to the European Safety Gate portal.

Products placed on the market before 1 January 2021 that have been found to present a serious risk to the health and safety of consumers, or that are non-compliant, will be notified to the European Commission as part of the Withdrawal Agreement. Additionally, the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement commits the UK and the EU to use best endeavours to establish arrangements for the exchange of certain information, between the UK’s Product Safety Database and the EU’s Safety Gate RAPEX database, on unsafe products.

The UK in respect of Northern Ireland market surveillance authorities and enforcement authorities will also continue to notify unsafe products to the European Commission via Safety Gate RAPEX in line with the Northern Ireland Protocol, information from which the European Commission will subsequently make available on their Safety Gate website.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure the mutual recognition of qualifications between the UK and Ireland to enable British and Irish citizens to exercise their rights and privileges under the Common Travel Area.

If no immediately effective arrangements relating to professional qualifications are agreed with the EU this year, on 1 January 2021 the Government will put in place a temporary system of recognition that allows holders of EU qualifications, including Irish qualifications, to seek recognition of their qualifications in the UK. This will ensure that the UK meets its commitments under the Common Travel Area.

The Government published a Call for Evidence on the recognition of professional qualifications and regulation of professions in August 2020. As it takes forward this work, the Government will ensure that individuals with Irish professional qualifications continue to have a means of applying for recognition in the UK.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans her Department has to review the list of dates in its Union Flag flying guidance for UK government buildings.

DCMS is responsible for informing UK Government Departments of the designated days for the flying of the Union Flag throughout the year. The designated days list is reviewed on an annual basis by the department in conjunction with the Royal Household before it is published on GOV.UK.

Individuals, local authorities and other organisations may fly flags whenever they wish, subject to compliance with any local planning requirement. UK government buildings are encouraged to fly the Union Flag all year round.

DCMS will publish any updates to the designated days list for Union flag flying in February 2022.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will publish the Government’s response to the European Parliament’s resolution on the compatibility of the UK’s use of mass surveillance powers with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

The European Union adopted adequacy decisions on 28 June 2021, confirming its independent assessment of the United Kingdom’s high data protection standards.

European Union adequacy decisions are adopted through a unilateral process controlled and managed by the European Commission. It is for the European Commission to decide how it responds to the European Parliament’s non-binding resolution on the matter.

United Kingdom intelligence agencies and law enforcement bodies neither conduct, nor seek to conduct, mass surveillance. We have discussed this issue in detail with the European Commission and they have rightly concluded that the UK’s national security framework meets the European Union’s adequacy test.

14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what estimate he has made of the number of museums and galleries that provide virtual tours to better provide for people with accessibility challenges.

This Government is deeply committed to ensuring that everyone, no matter their background or geographic location, can experience and enjoy the brilliant collections and benefits that our national and regional museums bring.

Museums operate independently from the Government, and the provision of virtual tours is an operational matter for museums, it is therefore up to each museum to determine whether this is something they wish to provide.

However, many choose to do so to increase access to their collections, particularly during recent lockdowns. We know that 61% of museums have digitised up to 50% of their collection, with half of those with a digitised collection having made some of it available online. The government provides support for such activities through project funding available through its arms length bodies such as Arts Council England as well as development initiatives to improve digital skills and capability of cultural organisations like the Digital Culture Network. The DCMS-Sponsored Museums increased their digital presence during the recent lockdown, offering online events and exhibitions, and many now offer virtual tours of their collections.

14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to encourage museums and galleries to provide virtual tours to better provide for people with accessibility challenges.

This Government is deeply committed to ensuring that everyone, no matter their background or geographic location, can experience and enjoy the brilliant collections and benefits that our national and regional museums bring.

Museums operate independently from the Government, and the provision of virtual tours is an operational matter for museums, it is therefore up to each museum to determine whether this is something they wish to provide.

However, many choose to do so to increase access to their collections, particularly during recent lockdowns. We know that 61% of museums have digitised up to 50% of their collection, with half of those with a digitised collection having made some of it available online. The government provides support for such activities through project funding available through its arms length bodies such as Arts Council England as well as development initiatives to improve digital skills and capability of cultural organisations like the Digital Culture Network. The DCMS-Sponsored Museums increased their digital presence during the recent lockdown, offering online events and exhibitions, and many now offer virtual tours of their collections.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, for what reason the Government has not ratified the UNESCO Convention on Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The Government values the profound contribution of the UK’s craft workers, artisans and artists to the preservation of our unique intangible heritage. We are exploring the merits of ratifying the UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, as a potential addition to the broad range of support measures which already exist for this vital aspect of our nation’s life.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Government has to introduce proposals on the regulation of people who act as advisers to professional boxers.

While fit and proper persons tests do exist within other sports to ensure propriety of ownership in club structure, these are a matter for the national governing bodies, concerning corporate ownership, and in line with company law.

We do not intend to intervene in this autonomy at this time but we expect national governing bodies and competition structures to put adequate levels of protections in place.

This Government takes the matter of tackling corruption in sport seriously, and this is why we have played a leading role in developing the International Partnership against Corruption in Sport.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Government has to introduce a fit and proper person test for those involved in professional boxing consistent with such tests used in other professional sports.

While fit and proper persons tests do exist within other sports to ensure propriety of ownership in club structure, these are a matter for the national governing bodies, concerning corporate ownership, and in line with company law.

We do not intend to intervene in this autonomy at this time but we expect national governing bodies and competition structures to put adequate levels of protections in place.

This Government takes the matter of tackling corruption in sport seriously, and this is why we have played a leading role in developing the International Partnership against Corruption in Sport.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Government has to bring forward legislative proposals on improving the regulation of professional boxing in the UK or associated with the UK.

While fit and proper persons tests do exist within other sports to ensure propriety of ownership in club structure, these are a matter for the national governing bodies, concerning corporate ownership, and in line with company law.

We do not intend to intervene in this autonomy at this time but we expect national governing bodies and competition structures to put adequate levels of protections in place.

This Government takes the matter of tackling corruption in sport seriously, and this is why we have played a leading role in developing the International Partnership against Corruption in Sport.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that professional boxing in the UK or associated with the UK is not influenced by people alleged to be involved in organised crime.

While fit and proper persons tests do exist within other sports to ensure propriety of ownership in club structure, these are a matter for the national governing bodies, concerning corporate ownership, and in line with company law.

We do not intend to intervene in this autonomy at this time but we expect national governing bodies and competition structures to put adequate levels of protections in place.

This Government takes the matter of tackling corruption in sport seriously, and this is why we have played a leading role in developing the International Partnership against Corruption in Sport.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will make an assessment of the implications for his policies on the regulation of the sport of boxing of the allegations made in the BBC's Panorama programme on the role of Daniel Kinahan in that sport, broadcast on 1 February 2021.

While fit and proper persons tests do exist within other sports to ensure propriety of ownership in club structure, these are a matter for the national governing bodies, concerning corporate ownership, and in line with company law.

We do not intend to intervene in this autonomy at this time but we expect national governing bodies and competition structures to put adequate levels of protections in place.

This Government takes the matter of tackling corruption in sport seriously, and this is why we have played a leading role in developing the International Partnership against Corruption in Sport.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what further steps the Government needs to take to achieve data adequacy recognition from the EU.

We continue to talk to the Commission about their plans to finalise their adequacy assessment of the UK.

Once draft decisions are published by the Commission, the process will then move into an EU procedural phase before they are adopted. The European Data Protection Board of Member State regulators will issue a non-binding opinion on the decisions, and the European Parliament also has the right to scrutinise them. The draft decisions will then be subject to approval by the relevant EU Council working group (the Article 93 Committee) and the College of Commissioners. The UK will continue to engage constructively where necessary throughout the process until it reaches its conclusion.

The EU’s adequacy assessments, underway since March 2020, ascertain whether UK data protection standards are ‘essentially equivalent’ to the EU’s. Given we have an existing data protection framework that is equivalent to the EU’s, we see no reason why the UK should not be awarded adequacy and we expect the process to be concluded promptly.

The EU left insufficient time to adopt data adequacy decisions for the UK before the end of the transition period. We have therefore agreed with the EU a time-limited ‘bridging mechanism’ which will allow personal data to continue to flow as it did previously whilst EU adequacy decisions for the UK are adopted.

14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to secure Data Adequacy recognition from the EU before the end of the transition period.

Continuing the free flow of personal data is an important objective for both the UK and the EU.

We have been in formal talks with the Commission since March 2020 to secure data adequacy decisions under both the General Data Protection Regulation and the Law Enforcement Directive.

Adequacy decisions would allow personal data to continue to flow freely from the EU/EEA to the UK. We have already legislated to enable, on a transitional basis, the free flow of UK personal data to Europe.

The EU’s adequacy assessments ascertain whether UK data protection standards are ‘essentially equivalent’ to the EU’s. Given we have an existing data protection framework that is equivalent to the EU’s, we see no reason why the UK should not be awarded adequacy.

Throughout the adequacy assessment we have engaged proactively and constructively, doing all we can to expedite our assessment. This included preparation of a technical pack of explanatory materials, which was shared formally with the Commission at the start of the adequacy assessment in March 2020 and published on GOV.UK.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress is being made on the repatriation from the UK to Zimbabwe of the remains of (a) Mbuya Nehanda, (b) Sekuru Kaguvi and (c) the 25 First Chimurenga fighters.

It is not confirmed that the remains of Mbuya Nehanda, Sekuru Kaguve and the 25 First Chimurenga fighters are held in an UK institution. If it was determined that they were in the UK, and a request for their return was received, the decision to do so would be a matter for that institution to consider.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what processes his Department has in place to respond to requests for repatriations of colonial artefacts and human remains from UK museums, universities and other institutions; and what plans the Government has for an audit to be undertaken of such items.

Decisions relating to museum collections are a matter for the trustees of each museum, who operate independently of the government. This includes the institutions’ responses to requests for repatriation or restitution for colonial artefacts and human remains.


The Department is committed to supporting museums in dealing confidently with all aspects of restitution. This includes supporting ongoing work led by Arts Council England on creating new guidance for the museum sector. This will create a comprehensive and practical resource for museums to support them in dealing with all aspects of restitution.

16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the potential risks to UK boxing of the announcement of the role of Daniel Kinahan in organising a fight between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury; and what steps he is taking to raise concerns on that matter with UK based broadcasters.

The arrangements for sporting competitions are a matter for the relevant sporting bodies, and it is up to broadcasters to make decisions about which events they wish to cover.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what the Government's policy is on negotiating future participation in the European Solidarity Corps.

The UK’s document setting out our Future Relationship with the European Union, which can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/our-approach-to-the-future-relationship-with-the-eu, states that the UK is ready to consider participation in certain EU programmes where it is in the UK’s and the EU’s interest that we do so. These programmes represent a real benefit to British people and industry. The Government will not be seeking participation in the next European Solidarity Corps programme from 2021-2027.

Under the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with the EU, the UK will continue to participate fully in the current (2014-2020) ESC programme. This means that the projects successfully bid for during the current programmes until the end of the Transition period, will continue to receive funding for the full duration of the project, including those where funding runs beyond 2020 and the end of the transition period.

23rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the findings of the RSPB report, A Lost Decade for Nature, that the UK has missed 17 of the 20 Aichi biodiversity targets set in 2010 by the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, how he plans to (a) deliver the outcomes contained in the Leaders’ Pledge for Nature, signed by the Prime Minister on 28 September 2020, and (b) restore the damage to nature in the UK by 2030, against a baseline of 2020, as proposed by the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill.

UK progress against the existing Aichi Targets was most recently set out in the UK's 6th National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity, submitted in March 2019. The report can be found at: https://jncc.gov.uk/our-work/united-kingdom-s-6th-national-report-to-the-convention-on-biological-diversity/

The UK is committed to playing a leading role in developing an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework, to be adopted at COP15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity later this year, to deliver the ambition committed to in the Leaders Pledge for Nature. The UK will be advocating for ambitious global targets to bend the curve of biodiversity loss by 2030, including targets to ensure at least 30% of the land and of the ocean is protected, ecosystems are restored, species population sizes are recovering, and extinctions are halted by 2050.

We have taken a significant number of actions to deliver these commitments domestically and restore nature, including the passing of the landmark Environment, Agriculture and Fisheries Acts and publishing the England Tree and Peat Action Plans. We are currently consulting on new long-term, legally binding environmental targets, including to halt nature’s decline by 2030 and then reverse that decline. We also set out proposals in the Nature Recovery Green Paper to improve our system of site and species protections to help restore nature and deliver our commitment to protect 30% of land and sea by 2030. The Environmental Land Management schemes (Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery) will be a major tool in delivering our environmental targets.

The UK has committed to spend at least £3 billion of our International Climate Finance on climate change solutions that protect and restore nature and biodiversity over five years from 2021 to 2026. Domestically, our Nature for Climate Fund is providing more than £750 million over the course of this Parliament and will support a significant increase in afforestation across England and help to restore 35,000ha of peatland by 2025. We are also extending protections on land and sea, placing the UK at the forefront of marine protection with 372 Marine Protected Areas covering 38% of UK waters.

We will be publishing a refreshed 25 Year Environment Plan in January 2023, which is also an Environmental Improvement Plan under the Environment Act, setting out the further steps we will take to deliver our commitment to leave the environment in a better state than we found it.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the indefinite extension of the grace period in respect of medicines announced on 6 September 2021 covers veterinary medicines.

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate can confirm that the announcement regarding the extension to the grace period for medicines, does include veterinary medicines.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the risks to the existing honey bee population in Great Britain from the importation of honey bees from the EU via Northern Ireland.

The Government recognises that some beekeepers are concerned about the new trading arrangements and the risks of exotic pests entering Great Britain, in particular Small hive beetle.

Small hive beetle would present a serious threat to our honey bees if it were to arrive in the UK. This invasive pest has only been detected in one part of Europe, namely southern Italy, and exports of bees from the affected region into either Great Britain or Northern Ireland are not permitted.

Imports of honey bees into any part of the UK are only accepted from approved countries, and are subject to rules relating to notification and health certification to ensure that imports are free of key pests and diseases.

Movements of honey bee queens, packages and colonies from Northern Ireland to Great Britain remain permitted. There is, and will remain, unfettered access for Northern Ireland goods including honey bees to the rest of the UK market.

We continue to work with colleagues in the Devolved Administrations as part of our monitoring of the new trading arrangements.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to publish a timetable for implementing legislative proposals on the use of forest risk commodities in commercial activity.

We recently introduced legislation to the Environment Bill to help to ensure that key forest risk commodities used in the UK are not contributing to illegal deforestation or habitat conversion. This initiative is in line with the recommendations of the Global Resource Initiative taskforce, widely supportive feedback to our public consultation on the proposal, as well as our international objectives at the upcoming Glasgow United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).

We are the first country to introduce such legislation. We intend to move swiftly to lay the necessary secondary legislation. Subject to the passage of the Environment Bill and consultation, our aim is to do so shortly after the November COP26 Climate conference where we will be convening a global dialogue on trade in forest and agricultural commodities that we will draw on as we finalise our approach.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions are taking place with the Irish Government and the European Commission to enable pet and guide/assistance dog movements between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

The health and documentary requirements for pet travel to the EU are set out under the EU Pet Travel Regulations. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, EU rules also apply to the non-commercial movements of pets into Northern Ireland from Great Britain. There are no derogations for assistance dogs under the legal framework of the EU Pet Travel Regulations.

We will continue to press the European Commission in relation to securing Part 1 listed status, recognising that achieving this would alleviate some of the new requirements for pet owners and assistance dog users travelling to the EU and to Northern Ireland. We are clear that we meet all the animal health requirements for this, and we have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity.

The Government is engaging with the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) and Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) to explore means to streamline pet travel between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland, recognising the high standards of animal health that the Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland share. The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has also written to the European Vice-President seeking to ensure that an agreement can be made to address the barriers imposed on pet travel between Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Ireland. Current guidance on pet travel to Northern Ireland is available on DAERA’s NIDirect website, and to Ireland on DAFMs website.

In the meantime, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) in Northern Ireland have recently published guidance on a pragmatic enforcement approach to pets entering from Great Britain. NI-based pets/assistance dogs returning to Northern Ireland from Great Britain can continue to use an NI-issued EU Pet Passport to re-enter Northern Ireland and will not need an animal health certificate.

We are proactively engaging with the assistance dog community and relevant stakeholders on the impacts on dog movements from Great Britain to the EU and to Northern Ireland. We will continue to work closely with assistance dog organisations to share the latest advice and guidance (in accessible formats) with their members on pet travel requirements.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment has been made of supporting a temporary waiver that includes all forms of intellectual property, including (a) medical tools, (b) treatments and (c) diagnostics on TRIPS at the WTO.

HM Government remains open to initiatives that could help with equitable vaccine distribution and their prompt administration. However, there is no evidence that waiving intellectual property protections would advance this objective. Rather, it would dismantle the framework which has and will continue to develop Covid-19 products, like vaccines, which are positively contributing to the global pandemic response, enabling vaccination of key workers like transport workers and medical staff both domestically and internationally.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what the differences are between the UK-Japan and EU-Japan trade deals with regards to the effect on goods imported to and exported from Northern Ireland.

The UK-Japan CEPA (Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement) applies to the whole of the United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland stands to benefit and build upon its strong exports to Japan, with Northern Ireland’s agri-food sector potentially benefiting from reduced export burdens. Last year Northern Ireland’s exports of agri-food to Japan were worth £6.5m.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what effect the free trade agreement between the UK and Japan will have on businesses in Northern Ireland.

UK exports to Japan have been growing by an average of 7.6% year-on-year over the previous five years and, with this free trade deal in place, our economic partnership will have even more opportunity. Potential benefits from a deal include better jobs, higher wages, more choice and lower prices for all parts of the UK.

Northern Ireland stands to benefit and build upon its strong exports to Japan, with Northern Ireland’s agri-food sector potentially benefiting from reduced export burdens. Last year Northern Ireland’s exports of agri-food to Japan were worth £6.5m.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she has made representations to the EU on enabling Northern Ireland-origin goods which can freely circulate within the EU single market to access EU trade agreements with third countries.

Northern Ireland is and remains British, so will be part of the United Kingdom’s customs territory. As our recent business guidance makes clear, it will be HM Government - not the EU - that will negotiate and deliver trade deals on behalf of the United Kingdom as a whole. As a result, all British exporters will enjoy the same preferential access we secure with trading partners around the world, whether they are based in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how much (a) tear gas irritant ammunition, (b) tear gas riot control agents, (c) rubber bullets, and (d) riot shields were exported to the United States in the last year; and what recent assessment he has made of the likelihood of those exports being used in protests against police brutality in that country.

My Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade and I have been sorry to see the violence that has taken place in the United States of America.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria (‘Consolidated Criteria’). In reaching a decision, the Department for International Trade receives advice from a number of Departments including the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Together, we draw on all available information, including reports from NGOs and our diplomatic missions. The Consolidated Criteria provides a thorough risk assessment framework and requires us to think hard about the impact of exporting any equipment. These are not decisions my Department takes lightly, and we will not license the export of items where to do so would be inconsistent with the Consolidated Criteria.

Any licence granted by my Rt Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Trade may be subject to conditions. In addition, in line with the Consolidated Criteria, my Department is able to review licences – and suspend or revoke as necessary – when circumstances require. There are currently eight extant licences that may be linked to law enforcement agencies. Six are Open Individual Export Licences (‘OIELs’), which have potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. Two are Standard Individual Export Licences (‘SIELs’), which have numerous potential end users that include law enforcement agencies. There are also 15 Open General Licences (‘OGLs’) for which businesses can register that cover the export of anti-riot gear.

Much information is in the public domain already. We publish information on all export licences issued, refused and revoked on a quarterly and annual basis as official statistics on GOV.UK – at: gov.uk/government/collections/strategic-export-controls-licensing-data – and whilst data on actual exports is not required to be centrally held, the licences issued until the end of December 2019 are available.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the document entitled The Future Relationship with the EU: The UK’s Approach to Negotiations, published February 2020, if he will set out details of Australia's trade relationship with the EU.

The EU has a well-developed trading relationship with Australia. Australia does not have an FTA based trading relationship with the EU, but instead has a number of mutual recognition style arrangements in a few key areas, like fellow WTO members New Zealand and the US.

The European Commission website notes: “The EU is Australia's second-biggest trade partner. The EU and Australia conduct their trade and economic relationship under the 2008 EU-Australian Partnership Framework” and provides a range of additional information.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect on people from Northern Ireland of administrative difficulties caused by driving licenses having one digit less than those in Great Britain.

Driver licensing is a devolved matter and is the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Executive. Northern Ireland driving licence holders can use their licence to drive in Great Britain and do not need to exchange it until it expires.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
26th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much money his Department spent on assessing the feasibility of constructing a fixed transport link between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Fixed Link Feasibility Study forms part of the Union Connectivity Review, independently chaired by Sir Peter Hendy CBE.

Final invoices are yet to be received.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing financial support for ferry routes operating from Northern Ireland to the rest of the UK in recognition of the cost differentials of those routes compared to other transport options.

The Government continues to monitor the maritime freight industry to ensure that routes are available for the transport of goods both around and outside of the UK, including between Northern Ireland and other parts of the country. As an open market the Government does not wish to disrupt competition, however if necessary, we have intervened to protect the transport of critical goods in exceptional circumstances. At present there are no specific plans to do so on routes between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 11 March 2021 to Question 164339 on Driving Licences: Reciprocal Arrangements, what recent progress he has made on a UK-France reciprocal agreement.

The Government is committed to establishing reciprocal arrangements with France with the minimum of bureaucracy. The Government has secured interim arrangements with the French authorities which will allow UK licence holders to continue to use their valid UK licence until 1 January 2022. We are working closely with the French government to finalise a permanent arrangement, which we expect to be concluded soon. The Government commits to providing an update as soon as possible.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the absence of a UK-France reciprocal agreement on driving licences, what plans he has to support UK citizens living in France whose licences have recently expired, or are due to expire soon.

The Government is committed to establishing reciprocal arrangements with France with the minimum of bureaucracy. The Government has secured interim arrangements with the French authorities which will allow UK licence holders to continue to use their valid UK licence until 1 January 2022. These interim arrangements do not extend to UK licences that have expired. We are working closely with the French government to find a solution for those with expired licences as well as to finalise a permanent arrangement. The Government commits to providing an update as soon as possible.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what criteria his Department uses for assessing which countries should be placed on the red list travel ban during the covid-19 pandemic.

The decision to introduce travel bans for countries on the red list is in direct response to scientific and medical data, which represents an increased risk to UK public health and an increased risk of community transmission of the new COVID-19 variants identified in other countries. These are intended to be temporary measures and the government keeps data for countries and territories under constant review.

The government has made it consistently clear that it will take decisive action to contain the virus, including adding further countries to the red list if the public health risk of people returning from a particular country without self-isolating becomes too high.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of TravelUp proposals to (a) utilise trusts to protect customers' funds and (b) bring forward an airline insolvency Bill.

The Department has been clear that airlines and travel agents should not deny consumers their legal right to a refund if it is requested, and that the refund should be processed in a timely manner. COVID-19 has highlighted a number of challenges, and we will be working with the regulator and industry to learn lessons and make changes that are pragmatic and sensible.

Airline insolvency is a highly complex and technical policy area. The Government has considered the recommendations of the Airline Insolvency Review to identify the reforms needed to ensure a strong level of consumer protection and value for money for the taxpayer.

The Government is also mindful of the need to consider the challenges faced by the aviation sector as a result of COVID-19. We are keeping under review the scope and timing of any future reforms in this policy area.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to the Answer of 4 May 2020 to Question 39784, what the timescale is for the release of Government funding to support key freight routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Freight is currently flowing effectively into and across the UK, and the measures we have announced will support this to continue. Starting from 11 May, sixteen routes have been designated as Public Service Obligation routes for a period of up to nine weeks.

Three of those routes – Cairnryan-Larne, Cairnryan-Belfast and Heysham-Warrenpoint – are between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. These routes will receive an estimated £5.5 million. The Northern Ireland Executive will contribute 40% of the funding on these routes.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to support logistics networks between the UK and Ireland during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

On 24 April we announced a package of funding to support the movement of critical goods on freight routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Up to £17m of funding will be available to support up to 5 routes over the next 2 months, with the Northern Ireland Executive contributing 40%.

Furthermore, the Governments of Ireland, France and the United Kingdom have committed to supporting the continued movement of freight. Both the Irish and French governments have introduced measures to support freight movements, as we have.

These measures are in addition to the unprecedented support provided to UK companies in all sectors worth £350 billion.

11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the collapse of Flybe, what steps he is taking to ensure that available slots between London area airports and Belfast are not replaced by flights to other routes.

Her Majesty’s Government recognises that airports are vital for local economies, providing domestic and global connectivity, employment opportunities, and a hub for local transport. We have been working closely with airports and airlines to encourage them to act quickly to fill routes which are vital for local communities and businesses, including those in Belfast.

A review of Regional Air Connectivity was recently announced to ensure all nations and regions of the UK have the domestic transport connections local communities rely on. Her Majesty’s Government plays no part in, and through regulations is legally prevented from intervening in, the airport slot allocation process. Whilst there is no role for Government to play in this matter, it is in the interest of UK consumers that all airport slots are used efficiently.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the cost to the public purse has been of assessing the viability of a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland to date; and how much funding has been allocated to that work.

The government is committed to upgrading our infrastructure, and we are looking at a range of options to level up the country and support growth and productivity in every region. We will set out more details on our plans to increase investment in infrastructure later this year.

21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of extending spousal pension rights to long term cohabitees.

The legislative framework governing pension rights for spouses and civil partners applies to legacy State Pensions and members of contracted out occupational schemes. The New State Pension is fundamentally based on an individual’s own National Insurance contributions, subject to certain arrangements.

Most occupational pension inheritance rights are either determined by the members when they choose how to draw down their pension pot, or are set out in scheme rules, and are therefore a matter for the sponsoring employer to determine as part of their reward and retention strategy.

The Government has no plans for legislative change.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the report published by Z2K in June 2018, entitled Access Denied: Barriers to Justice in the Disability Benefits, on access to disability payments, including ESA and PIP.

DWP’s aim is to make the right decision as early as possible in the claim journey – and it is the case today as it was back in 2018 that the majority of decisions made are correct. In January 2019 we introduced a new approach to decision making at the Mandatory Reconsideration (MR) stage, giving Decision Makers additional time to proactively contact customers if they thought that additional evidence may support the application. This holistic approach was recommended by Z2K in its report.

Since we introduced this new, more proactive approach, the percentage of decisions that we change at the Mandatory Reconsideration stage has increased, reducing the volume of claimants going to appeal.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the Government's policy is on a spouse's entitlement to a share of their husband or wife's State Pension when the latter is in a care home and associated income from the State Pension is being paid to a care home to cover the costs of care.

Where a State Pension recipient goes into a care home, this has no impact on their State Pension. The State Pension continues to be paid to them as the individual who has entitlement to it.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of the provision of financial restitution to people who (a) were working in Northern Ireland at ages 14 and 15 between 1947 and 1957 and (b) continue to be subject to a discrepancy as a result of having worked longer than their GB counterparts when the working age changed to 14 in 1947.

No such assessment has been made. Following the fundamental reforms of the National Insurance scheme in 1975 the law provided that only paid contributions and credits from the year in which a person reached age 16 to the year before the one in which they reached State Pension age should count for the purposes of entitlement to the State Pension. The Government has no plans to review the position reached by Parliament and which has been in place since 1975.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, for what reason the time limit for returning PIP2 application forms has reverted from 12 to four weeks.

In line with the Covid recovery roadmap we are changing the time for customers to return their forms, back to the business as usual timescales to ensure that claims are processed as quickly as possible. Customers can request additional time to return their form if they need more time to gather information. Any Additional Support customers who do not return their form will still have their claim referred for assessment.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the £16,000 savings limit for universal credit entitlement.

No assessment has been made.

The capital limit above which entitlement to Universal Credit ends is £16,000. Claimants have the opportunity to declare what type of capital they have, both when making a claim to Universal Credit and throughout the time they are getting Universal Credit.

The limit strikes a balance between protecting less well-off people and the taxpayer, whilst at the same time recognising the conscientious efforts of people who have built up capital.

This limit also ensures that the help which comes from taxpayers, many of whom are themselves on low incomes and have limited capital, is directed to people who need it most.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps the Government plans to take, other than through free school meal vouchers, to tackle childhood poverty.

Tackling child poverty is a key priority for the Government. Our recent focus has been on supporting people financially during these unprecedented times with an injection of £9.3 billion pounds to strengthen the welfare system in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Covid Winter Grant Scheme builds on that support with an additional £170m for local authorities in England, to support families with children and other vulnerable people with the cost of food and essential utilities this winter.

Devolved Administrations have received equivalent funding through the upfront funding guarantee, which was recently increased to £16bn for the year.

Our £30bn Plan for Jobs is the first step on the ladder to achieving this and will support economic recovery through new schemes including Kickstart and Job Entry Targeted Support.

The Holiday Activities and Food programme, which has provided healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children since 2018, will also be expanded across England next year. It will cover Easter, Summer and Christmas in 2021, and cost up to £220m. It will be available to children in every local authority in England, building on previous programmes – including this summers, which supported around 50,000 children across 17 local authorities.

Our long-term ambition is to level up across the country and continue to tackle poverty through our reformed welfare system that works with the labour market to encourage people to move into and progress in work wherever possible.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of (a) suspending deductions and (b) implementing a grant in lieu of advances during the five week wait for receipt of universal credit.

Nobody in need has to wait for a payment under Universal Credit (UC). UC New Claim Advances allow eligible claimants to receive up to 100% of their estimated Universal Credit payment upfront. Claimants will receive their annual award over 13 payments during their first year, instead of 12. These upfront payments can be spread across two years instead of one from October 2021, as announced in the 2020 Budget. New Claim Advances are not loans. They are the claimant’s benefit paid early, which is then recovered over an agreed period.

The Department’s deductions policy strikes a fair balance between a claimant’s need to meet their financial obligations and their ability to ensure they can meet their day-to-day needs. Since October 2019, Universal Credit deductions are a maximum of 30% of a claimant’s standard allowance down from 40% previously. We also recognise the importance of safeguarding the welfare of claimants who have incurred debt, so last resort deductions over the 30% cap can be applied to protect vulnerable claimants from eviction and/or having their fuel supply disconnected, by providing a repayment method for arrears of these essential services.

The main aim of the deductions policy in Universal Credit is to safeguard the welfare of claimants who have incurred debt in a cost effective and efficient way. It provides protection for claimants from the consequences of homelessness, imprisonment or having vital utilities disconnected. Regulations protect claimants from excessive deductions and there are no plans to suspend them.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of lifting the benefit cap until adequate employment incentives provide a basis for its reintroduction.

There are currently no plans to make any changes to the benefit cap. The benefit cap provides fairness for taxpaying households, whilst providing a reasonable safety net of support for the most vulnerable. Whilst this means that some claimants will have a limit on the total amount of benefits they can receive, there are a range of exemptions for when the cap should not be applied, including exemptions for the most vulnerable claimants who are entitled to disability benefits and carer benefits.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of increasing the level of Statutory Sick Pay for people who have (a) tested positive for covid-19 and (b) been notified to self-isolate via the Track and Trace App.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) provides a minimum level of income for employees when they are sick or incapable of work. SSP is payable from the first day of absence from work, rather than the fourth, where an individual is unable to work due to COVID19. It is paid by employers at £95.85 per week for up to 28 weeks in any one period of entitlement. Some employers may also decide to pay more, and for longer, through Occupational Sick Pay.

SSP is just one part of our welfare safety net and our wider government offer to support people in times of need, and we have taken steps to strengthen that safety net. Where an individual’s income is reduced while off work sick and they require further financial support, for example where they are not eligible for SSP, they may be able to claim Universal Credit and new style Employment and Support Allowance, depending on their personal circumstances. The Government introduced a package of temporary welfare measures worth around £9.3 billion this year to help with the financial consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. This included the £20 weekly increase to the Universal Credit Standard Allowance rates as a temporary measure for the 20/21 tax year. We are continuing to work with the Treasury on the best ways to support those receiving benefits.

To help support people in Northern Ireland during the COVID-19 pandemic the Department for Communities has put in place additional support. Financial support may be available for short-term living expenses for those who have a positive Covid-19 diagnosis or are in self-isolation. A non-repayable Discretionary Support Self Isolation Grant may be available for those who are on a low income and are experiencing financial difficulties as a result of being told to self-isolate.

Background

To help support people during the COVID-19 pandemic the Department for Communities has put in place additional support. This includes:

  • a non-repayable Discretionary Support self-isolation grant payment to assist with short term living expenses where a person, or any member of their immediate family, is diagnosed with COVID-19 or is advised to self-isolate in accordance with guidance published by the Regional Agency for Public Health and Social Well-being and
  • extending Discretionary Support to full-time students suffering financial hardship as a direct result of COVID-19
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether the Government plans to extend the Minimum Income Floor suspension for six months.

The suspension of the Minimum Income Floor for Universal Credit that was due to expire on 12 November 2020 will be extended to the end of April 2021.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of reforming the welfare system in response to the (a) economic and (b) social challenges arising as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

No such assessment has been made of reforming the Welfare system.

Universal Credit has stood up to the challenge of the COVID-19, whereas the previous legacy benefit system would have buckled under the pressure. Millions more are able to access welfare which is fairer and more generous than the legacy benefit system. It is a modern, flexible, personalised benefit responding effectively to economic conditions. It replaces six outdated and complex benefits with one – helping to simplify the benefits system, providing support in times of need and making work pay.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether redundancy payments with limited tax liability under the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 are treated as capital in the assessment period in which they are received, as opposed to income under Regulation 54 of the Universal Credit Regulations 2013; whether those payments are not counted as earnings or surplus earnings for the purposes of a universal credit award; and whether those payments are assessed as capital for that award.

For those who are made redundant and make a claim to Universal Credit (UC), their redundancy payments, with limited tax liability under the Income Tax (earnings and Pensions) Act 2003, are treated as capital. A claimant’s capital is taken into account to determine their entitlement to UC and in the calculation of their UC award.

If capital exceeds £16,000 (after having deducted allowable disregards, such as, personal injury compensation payments) there will be no entitlement to UC.

Redundancy payments treated as capital are therefore not taken into account as earnings, nor would the surplus earnings rules apply to them.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has plans to increase the rates of (a) income support and (b) job seekers allowance for (i) all claimants and (ii) claimants with chronic health conditions during the covid-19 outbreak.

There are no current plans to increase the amount of Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support due to COVID19. These benefits were increased by 1.7% from 6 April, following the Government announcement to end the benefits freeze in November 2019.

DWP and HMRC are experiencing significant increased demand and the Government has to prioritise the safety and stability of the benefits system overall, announcing measures that can be quickly and effectively operationalised.

Taken together, DWP’s measures represent an injection of over £6.5 billion into the welfare system and, along with the other job and business support programmes announced by the Chancellor, represent one of the most comprehensive packages of support introduced by an advanced economy in response to COVID19.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to bring forward legislative proposals to enshrine the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into UK domestic law.

The UK is a fully committed party to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which we ratified in 2009. The UK as a general principle does not incorporate international treaties into domestic law. However, the rights of disabled people under this Convention are largely reflected and given effect in existing domestic policies and legislation.

The Equality Act 2010 provides, in domestic legislation, protections for people in Great Britain against discrimination, harassment or victimisation because of any of the nine protected characteristics set out in the Act – which include disability – as well as the public sector equality duty to promote equality of opportunity for all. Equivalent provisions for Northern Ireland are set out in a range of devolved legislation.

In 2019 we launched a new cross-government approach to disability and we will publish a ‘National Strategy for Disabled People’ in 2020.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to maintain the disability rights of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights after the end of the transition period.

The European Charter of Fundamental Rights was not the source of fundamental rights in EU law and did not create any new rights, freedoms or principles. Rather, it reaffirms fundamental rights which already existed in EU law. The Charter will cease to have effect in UK domestic law at the end of the implementation period. Domestic law which implemented the rights and principles which underpin the Charter will be retained through the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

All the protections covered in our domestic legislation including the Equality Act 2010 and equivalent legislation in Northern Ireland, will continue to apply after the end of the implementation period.

In addition, the protections which derive from the European Convention on Human Rights, which have been given further domestic effect by the Human Rights Act 1998, are unaffected by EU exit.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring PCR testing for inward bound travel into the UK to identify residual infection from previous covid-19 illnesses and necessitate additional isolation periods for recovered individuals.

No assessment has been made. It is possible for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests to remain positive for some time after infection despite the individual not being infectious. Anyone who has previously received a positive PCR test result should not be re-tested within 90 days, unless they develop any new symptoms of COVID-19.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the indefinite extension of the grace period in respect of medicines announced on 6 September 2021, what additional steps are required to ensure that imported medicines used in Northern Ireland after 1 January 2022 are fully recognised as compliant under EU law by the European Commission.

The Government will continue to operate the Northern Ireland Protocol on its current basis until further notice. The existing arrangements will continue, including the current grace period for medicines which means there are no additional steps after 1 January 2022. The Government will ensure that reasonable notice is provided in the event that any of these arrangements are to change, to enable businesses and citizens to make appropriate preparations.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether AstraZeneca plans to apply to European Medicines Agency for approval of the covid-19 vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute in India in order for people who received that vaccine to have their covid-19 vaccinations recognised by EU countries.

Licencing applications to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are a matter for individual pharmaceutical companies.

The Serum Institute of India (SII) manufactures both Vaxzevria and Covishield, branded vaccines which are the same as the COVID-19 University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. All SII-made doses approved by the United Kingdom regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and administered in the UK were branded as the ’COVID-19 vaccine AstraZeneca’ which is now known commercially as ‘Vaxzevria’. The MHRA has not approved doses branded as ‘Covishield’ and none have been administered in the UK.

All AstraZeneca vaccines given in the UK are the same product and appear on the NHS COVID Pass as Vaxzevria. The EMA has authorised the Vaxzevria vaccine and it is therefore recognised by the European Union.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans the Government has to seek a mutual recognition agreement with the EU on medicines.

The Trade and Cooperation Agreement agreed in December 2020 includes important facilitations in respect to medicines, including an agreement to recognise Good Manufacturing Practice inspections and a medical product working group.

We are focused on implementing this deal and will continue to work with industry to develop an ambitious regulatory regime for medicines in the United Kingdom.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps are being taken to make Kaftrio available for the treatment of cystic fibrosis in the UK.

Kaftrio is available to National Health Service patients in England in line with its licence through a four year interim access deal negotiated between NHS England and NHS Improvement and Vertex, the drug manufacturer. NHS England and NHS Improvement are committed to expanding patient access to Kaftrio to cover any future licence extensions. The availability of medicines elsewhere in the United Kingdom is a devolved matter.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether unpaid NHS charges of over £500 from EU citizens and non-EU family members who do not apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by the 30 June 2021 deadline will be reported to the Home Office; and whether such unpaid fines will affect EU Settlement Scheme application decisions.

Unpaid National Health Service debts will not affect European Union Settlement Scheme applications.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what mitigations he is seeking from the European Commission to enable the movement of medical devices between Great Britain and Northern Ireland with regard to the forthcoming EU Medical Devices Regulation.

The Government is committed to helping ensure there is no disruption to the supply of medical devices into Northern Ireland. The Department of Health and Social Care, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Department of Health in Northern Ireland have been working closely with industry to support them in their preparations to comply with the European Union Medical Device Regulation (MDR), which will come into effect in Northern Ireland from 26 May this year.

The Government is not seeking any mitigations from the European Commission regarding the MDR. Following feedback from industry stakeholders and in recognition that guidance from the EU is pending, on 5 March 2021 the MHRA published guidance on importation requirements to assist with compliance in moving medical devices from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. On 10 May 2021, the MHRA wrote to industry to provide further support and clarification on the implementation of the MDR in Northern Ireland.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions his Department has had with relevant stakeholders moving medical devices from Great Britain to Northern Ireland on providing clear guidelines to assist compliance with the EU Medical Devices Regulation.

The Government is committed to helping ensure there is no disruption to the supply of medical devices into Northern Ireland. The Department of Health and Social Care, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Department of Health in Northern Ireland have been working closely with industry to support them in their preparations to comply with the European Union Medical Device Regulation (MDR), which will come into effect in Northern Ireland from 26 May this year.

The Government is not seeking any mitigations from the European Commission regarding the MDR. Following feedback from industry stakeholders and in recognition that guidance from the EU is pending, on 5 March 2021 the MHRA published guidance on importation requirements to assist with compliance in moving medical devices from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. On 10 May 2021, the MHRA wrote to industry to provide further support and clarification on the implementation of the MDR in Northern Ireland.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the forthcoming EU Medical Devices Regulation on the movement of medical devices from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

The Government is committed to helping ensure there is no disruption to the supply of medical devices into Northern Ireland. The Department of Health and Social Care, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Department of Health in Northern Ireland have been working closely with industry to support them in their preparations to comply with the European Union Medical Device Regulation (MDR), which will come into effect in Northern Ireland from 26 May this year.

The Government is not seeking any mitigations from the European Commission regarding the MDR. Following feedback from industry stakeholders and in recognition that guidance from the EU is pending, on 5 March 2021 the MHRA published guidance on importation requirements to assist with compliance in moving medical devices from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. On 10 May 2021, the MHRA wrote to industry to provide further support and clarification on the implementation of the MDR in Northern Ireland.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government made an assessment of the effect of the introduction of covid-19 hotel quarantine rules on UK citizens with loved ones in red list countries prior to the introduction of those new rules.

People should be staying at home unless they have a valid reason to travel. All of these measures will be kept under constant review, including the impact on individuals with family ties in other countries.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government has taken to ensure that covid-19 hotel quarantine rules are compatible with international health commitments outlawing the levying of charges for quarantine with regard to (a) UK citizens with loved ones overseas and (b) human rights legislation on the right to a family life.

Countries around the world are charging for quarantine costs, including, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Canada and Singapore. People should stay at home unless they have a valid reason to travel. For those facing significant financial hardship as a result of the managed quarantine charge, there will be an opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking. This is available for individuals who already receive income-related benefits and they will be required to pay back the charge in 12 monthly instalments.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the Government's planned timescale is for allowing UK residents to reunite with loved ones in red list countries during the covid-19 pandemic.

People should be staying at home unless they have a valid reason to travel. We keep all our measures under constant review and they will remain in place as long as is required in order to protect public health, reduce transmission of the virus and to reduce the risk posed by new variants. The managed quarantine and testing measures have been introduced in Regulations that have a sunset date of 8 June 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the UK's (a) financial and (b) vaccine transfer commitments are to the World Health Organisation’s COVAX programme.

The United Kingdom remains committed to ensuring equitable access to effective vaccines as demonstrated by our £548 million contribution to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment - the international initiative to support global equitable access to vaccines. Through match funding, the commitment was leveraged to encourage other donors to commit $1 billion in 2020. The COVAX facility will aim to begin delivery by the end of February 2021 and we are working with international partners to support its rollout.

It is too early to determine how many doses of the vaccines that the UK has ordered will not be needed for domestic use. We are working through multilateral institutions, such as the United Nations and G20, as well as the World Health Organization and other international partners like the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Gavi the Vaccine Alliance to support vaccine development, manufacturing scale-up and distribution to meet domestic and international needs both now and in the future.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference the findings in the report published by Public Health England on 2 June 2020 entitled Disparities in the risk and outcomes of covid-19, what steps he plans to take to reduce health inequalities for BAME groups.

Racial disparities in the health of the nation are unacceptable. Following the publication of Public Health England (PHE)’s report, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) has been asked to urgently review the findings and better understand the drivers behind them. As part of this, we will look very closely at the health inequalities aspects of PHE’s report and further action needed to address them.

We remain committed to levelling up and spreading opportunity around this country, which will be an essential part of the economic and social recovery from this crisis.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on the Rapid Resolution and Redress Scheme to the number of cases of new birth injuries and deaths.

From March 2017, the Department ran a public consultation into the potential parameters of a ‘Rapid Resolution and Redress’ (RRR) scheme for severe avoidable birth injuries. The three main objectives of which were to reduce the number of severe avoidable birth injuries by promoting a ‘no-blame’ learning culture; to ensure a better experience for children who have been injured, their families and affected clinicians; and to address the high and increasing cost of such cases on the National Health Service budget when fully litigated.

Following consultation, we decided not to introduce the RRR scheme but instead to pursue the above objectives as part of broader, cross-system work to improve the safety culture in maternity services and to provide rapid information and care to families who have experienced an avoidable fatality or injury of their baby during birth. The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch is now investigating all cases in which a term baby was considered to be alive and healthy at the onset of labour, but the birth outcome was severe brain damage, stillbirth, or neonatal death, as well as maternal deaths, to identify common themes and influence systemic change. NHS Resolution’s Early Notification scheme is providing a more rapid, caring response to families in cases of severe harm, supporting a learning culture, and providing support for staff involved in traumatic births.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of the current human rights situation in Rwanda.

Rwanda is a fundamentally safe and secure country with respect for the rule of law. The World Justice Projects Rule of Law index ranks Rwanda top in African and amongst low income countries for order and security. Rwanda has a strong record on economic and social rights, promotion of gender equality, and protecting the rights of migrants. We continue to have concerns about restrictions to political rights, media freedoms, and civic space. We raise these with the Government of Rwanda through the British High Commission in Kigali and at Ministerial level, most recently in January 2022. We firmly believe that civil society and opposition parties must be able to operate freely, holding the Government to account and contributing to the debate on how Rwanda should be governed.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps is the UK taking to support measures to scale up manufacturing capacity of vaccines in low and middle income countries.

Successful vaccine manufacturing needs commercially viable businesses operating within a well-developed ecosystem of skilled workers, access to innovative technology, effective regulation and functioning markets. The UK is working with international and regional partners, including the African Union, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, CEPI (the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations), international development banks and the private sector to catalyse strategic investments for vaccine manufacturing in low and middle income countries. This includes work to forecast future vaccine markets and procurement options. The UK actively supports the new "Partnership for African Vaccine Manufacturing" (PAVM) initiative to implement a roadmap for African vaccine manufacturing. We have also provided technical support to develop business cases for vaccine production in South Africa, Senegal and Morocco.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many vaccines has the UK donated to low and middle income countries to date.

The UK champions vaccine access for all countries through our support for COVAX. The UK was one of the earliest and largest donors to COVAX, contributing £548 million to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC). Our early funding gave the COVAX AMC the purchase power to secure deals with manufacturers to supply internationally approved vaccines for up to 92 low and middle-income countries. So far, COVAX has helped deliver over 1.16 billion doses to 145 participants.

As of 31 March 2022, the UK has delivered over 51.6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses either to COVAX for allocation and distribution in line with their fair allocation model or directly to recipient countries on a bilateral basis. An additional 16.7 million doses have been committed to COVAX, to be delivered in the near future direct from the manufacturers. Future decisions on vaccine donations continue to depend on supply chain reliability, Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice and the ability of countries to absorb and deploy vaccines.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps are being taken to enable the UK to deliver its commitment to share 70m vaccine does by June 2022.

The UK champions vaccine access for all countries through our support for COVAX. The UK was one of the earliest and largest donors to COVAX, contributing £548 million to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC). Our early funding gave the COVAX AMC the purchase power to secure deals with manufacturers to supply internationally approved vaccines for up to 92 low and middle-income countries. So far, COVAX has helped deliver over 1.16 billion doses to 145 participants.

As of 31 March 2022, the UK has delivered over 51.6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses either to COVAX for allocation and distribution in line with their fair allocation model or directly to recipient countries on a bilateral basis. An additional 16.7 million doses have been committed to COVAX, to be delivered in the near future direct from the manufacturers. Future decisions on vaccine donations continue to depend on supply chain reliability, Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advice and the ability of countries to absorb and deploy vaccines.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure the UK meets its £1billion fair share towards the costs of purchasing (a) vaccines, (b) tests, (c) treatment and (d) PPE in low and middle income counties required by ACT-A.

The UK has consistently championed global access to COVID-19 medical products to help end the pandemic as quickly as possible and has committed up to £1.4 billion to help end the pandemic and address its impacts. This includes up to £813 million of new UK Aid to ACT-Accelerator partners and up to £105 million of additional support announced in December 2021 to help vulnerable countries respond to the Omicron variant. Our 100 million dose-donation target is also part of one billion doses G7 leaders committed to share and finance during the UK's G7 Presidency.

The UK is working with international partners to develop more long-term, sustainable approaches to financing to help the world live with COVID-19 and protect against future variants.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the forthcoming Hungarian parliamentary elections on 3 April 2022, what assessment she has made of the potential implications for her policies of Hungarian civil society organisations' request to the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Right for the deployment of a full-scale election observation mission.

The UK is committed to building a Network of Liberty that will put us at the heart of economic, diplomatic and security partnerships. Promoting democratic values is a key part of this, and election observation allows us to support democracies and strengthen democratic electoral processes around the globe, including in the OSCE region.

We are considering our approach for the Hungarian General Election. Diplomatic observers from our British Embassy in Budapest observed the Hungarian elections in 2018 and 2014, and our Embassy will continue to work energetically with civil society groups in Hungary ahead of the elections this year. We are clear that independent election monitoring is vital for credible and inclusive elections.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury and Chief Whip
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, in the context of Spain’s change in vaccination status requirements for incoming travellers of 1 December 2021, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that those aged 12 to 15 years, who are not yet eligible for full vaccination in the UK, are not discriminated against when trying to travel with family members to Spain.

The Spanish government requires that, subject to a few exemptions, everyone aged 12 years and over must be fully vaccinated (with two doses) to be able to visit Spain. In the UK, 12 to 17 year olds are now routinely offered a second dose. Those under 12 years old do not need to demonstrate their vaccination status. Spanish border measures are the prerogative of the Spanish government.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many covid-19 vaccines the UK Government has distributed to other countries, by country of receipt.

To date, the UK has delivered 16.1 million doses to recipients, either bilaterally or through COVAX. A breakdown of the figures has been included in our response to the Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC), which will be published shortly. A further 5.8 million vaccine doses are with COVAX and in the process of being allocated and delivered, with additional 9 million will be delivered to COVAX in the coming weeks direct from Astra Zeneca.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department has developed contingency plans to increase humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia.

The humanitarian context in Tigray is catastrophic. In September, our Special Envoy for famine prevention and humanitarian affairs, Nick Dyer, visited Tigray and saw the devastating consequences of this conflict and the de facto blockade imposed by the Ethiopian Government since late June. I have called on all parties in Ethiopia to urgently agree a ceasefire and to allow humanitarian aid through.

The humanitarian crisis now extends beyond Tigray impacting millions of people in Afar and Amhara following attacks by the Tigray Defence Force (TDF). All parties must allow humanitarian supplies and commercial goods to reach all areas of need. An escalation of violence has grave implications for vulnerable populations across Ethiopia impacting at least 20 million people reliant on humanitarian aid and the 31 million people assessed as living below the poverty line. The UK has committed £76 million to the crises response- making the UK the second largest donor globally. This includes £6.1 million in funding to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the Danish Refugee Council to address urgent needs arising from the Tigray crisis in Sudan.

FCDO officials speak regularly with representatives from the UN and other humanitarian agencies on contingency planning for an increase in needs inside Ethiopia as well as for further displacement of refugees into neighbouring states. Our priority is to ensure that all Ethiopians in need receive life-saving aid and that humanitarian access to areas affected by insecurity is maintained.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what humanitarian assistance the UK Government is providing to Ethiopia.

The humanitarian context in Tigray is catastrophic. In September, our Special Envoy for famine prevention and humanitarian affairs, Nick Dyer, visited Tigray and saw the devastating consequences of this conflict and the de facto blockade imposed by the Ethiopian Government since late June. I have called on all parties in Ethiopia to urgently agree a ceasefire and to allow humanitarian aid through.

The humanitarian crisis now extends beyond Tigray impacting millions of people in Afar and Amhara following attacks by the Tigray Defence Force (TDF). All parties must allow humanitarian supplies and commercial goods to reach all areas of need. An escalation of violence has grave implications for vulnerable populations across Ethiopia impacting at least 20 million people reliant on humanitarian aid and the 31 million people assessed as living below the poverty line. The UK has committed £76 million to the crises response- making the UK the second largest donor globally. This includes £6.1 million in funding to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the Danish Refugee Council to address urgent needs arising from the Tigray crisis in Sudan.

FCDO officials speak regularly with representatives from the UN and other humanitarian agencies on contingency planning for an increase in needs inside Ethiopia as well as for further displacement of refugees into neighbouring states. Our priority is to ensure that all Ethiopians in need receive life-saving aid and that humanitarian access to areas affected by insecurity is maintained.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to support diplomatic efforts to end the conflict in Ethiopia.

We are extremely concerned by the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia. We continue to engage with all parties to the conflict and have regular discussions with them. We are fully supportive of the efforts of the African Union (AU) High Representative for the Horn of African Region, Olusegun Obasanjo, to find a path to meaningful negotiations. I spoke with him on 4 November to discuss the situation and make clear our strong support, and also spoke with AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Bankole, on 8 November. We also supported efforts by US Secretary of State Blinken to resolve the conflict in Ethiopia on his visit to Kenya on 17 November and his call for an unconditional ceasefire in Ethiopia.

I also spoke with State Minister Redwan on 18 November, stressing the need for all parties to the conflict to engage in meaningful talks, lift the blockade on aid, and urged him to end the mobilisation of civilians and ethnically targeted arrests. I have continued to emphasise the need for a ceasefire and a humanitarian corridor through recent calls with my international counterparts, including those from Kenya, Ethiopia, the UN A3, and the African Union.

The Foreign Secretary spoke to Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen on 5 November, where she also made clear there is no military solution and that negotiations are needed to avoid bloodshed and deliver lasting peace. We have made these points repeatedly to the Ethiopian Government and the Tigrayan authorities.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment she has made of the regional impact of the conflict in Ethiopia.

We are extremely concerned by the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia and the impact it has on the region.. We have already seen over 80,000 refugees cross into eastern Sudan. We have consistently called on all warring parties to end hostilities and seek a political dialogue and peaceful solution. We are fully supportive of the African Union (AU)'s mediation efforts. I spoke with AU Special Envoy Obasanjo on 4 November, with AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Bankole on 8 November, and with President Kenyatta of Kenya on 1 November.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Government's commitment to implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, what steps the Government is taking to support a UN Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights.

I refer the Honourable Member to the answer of 25 October to question 58571.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development, with reference to the Government's commitment to implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, what steps the Government is taking to support a UN Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights.

The UK Government has consistently supported the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGPs) on business and human rights, which are widely regarded as the authoritative international framework to steer practical action by Governments and businesses worldwide on this important and pressing agenda. Implementation of the UNGPs will support access to justice and remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuses, wherever these occur, and encourage businesses to voluntarily adopt 'due diligence' approaches to respecting human rights.

We have engaged with the UN Working Group looking at proposals for a new international treaty on business and human rights since 2015, through to the sixth session last October. The UK will continue to engage with the proposal at the upcoming seventh session, which will take place 25-29 October 2021.

The Government is clear that it expects all UK businesses to respect human rights throughout their operations, in line with the UNGPs. In response to the Guidelines, the UK was the first State to produce a National Action Plan (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/522805/Good_Business_Implementing_the_UN_Guiding_Principles_on_Business_and_Human_Rights_updated_May_2016.pdf). A progress report on the implementation of the National Action Plan was published in May 2020. We continue to develop our approach in line with the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he is made to his Pakistani counterpart on ensuring that Afghan refugees who entered Pakistan from Afghanistan without the proper paperwork are able to legally leave Pakistan.

The former Foreign Secretary has met with Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Qureshi and discussed working together to support the people of Afghanistan and to ensure safe passage out of the country.

Amanda Milling
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish a breakdown by category of Afghans evacuated by the UK from Kabul since 15 August 2021 under the special cases provision.

As of 28 August, 8589 Afghans who worked for us have been evacuated and are being resettled under the ARAP scheme, taking the total to over 10,500 since the scheme was extended on 1 April. Between 15 and 29 August, the UK also evacuated around 500 special cases of particularly vulnerable Afghans, including Chevening scholars, journalists, human rights defenders, campaigners for women's rights, judges and many others.

7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to support the UN Responsibility to Protect doctrine.

The UK is committed to the UN principle of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P). In September 2020, 121 UN Member States including the UK, voted in favour of R2P being a formal agenda item at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). In May 2021, 115 UN Member States including the UK, voted in favour of a resolution on R2P contributing to the further institutionalisation of R2P within the UN system. The resolution puts R2P on the annual agenda of the UNGA and formally requests the Secretary-General to report annually on the topic. The UK has also provided funding for the Global Centre for R2P and the joint UN Office on Genocide Prevention and R2P. More generally, we use our position at the UN, including as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, to raise atrocity situations of concern and to support the deployment of all appropriate tools available to the UN in dealing with potential mass atrocities and conflict.

18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of requests to urgently relocate members of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music

We have already evacuated the overwhelming majority of those who to whom we have a direct obligation in an unprecedented effort from our military and Civil Servants. We are working urgently with neighbouring countries to ensure that at-risk Afghans who are eligible to come to the UK can secure safe passage. On 6 September, the Prime Minister provided further information on the Afghan Resettlement Scheme (ACRS). Under the ACRS we will resettle up to 20,000 Afghans over 5 years, including those who have been standing up for human rights in Afghanistan.
Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of requests to urgently relocate members of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission.

We have already evacuated the overwhelming majority of those who to whom we have a direct obligation in an unprecedented effort from our military and Civil Servants. We are working urgently with neighbouring countries to ensure that at-risk Afghans who are eligible to come to the UK can secure safe passage. On 6 September, the Prime Minister provided further information on the Afghan Resettlement Scheme (ACRS). Under the ACRS we will resettle up to 20,000 Afghans over 5 years, including those who have been standing up for human rights in Afghanistan.
Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the viability of vaccinating UK nationals living overseas, who are ineligible for covid-19 vaccines in their country of residence.

There are no plans to roll out the UK's NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme to British nationals living overseas. As a residence-based system, the NHS does not provide healthcare (including vaccinations) outside the UK. Wherever possible, British nationals should aim to be vaccinated in the country where they live. We are closely following other countries' plans to roll out vaccines, and making the case to host governments that national vaccination programmes should cover resident British nationals.

We are providing information through the Travel Advice pages and 'Living In' guides on gov.uk to inform British nationals of healthcare options available to them, including on the availability of COVID-19 vaccines. The UK is also playing a leading international role to ensure global access to COVID-19 vaccines. For example, we have contributed £548 million to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment to ensure that the 92 most vulnerable economies have access to COVID-19 vaccines. The UK has also committed to sharing 100 million vaccine doses by June 2022, with the majority going to COVAX.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations his Department (a) has made and (b) plans to make to the Israeli Government on recent trends in the number of demolitions of Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank.

The UK Ambassador in Tel Aviv raised ongoing demolitions with the Israeli Authorities in a meeting alongside like-minded partners on 25 February 2021. I called on Israel to stop demolitions on 5 February 2021 and raised my concerns about demolitions of Palestinian homes and structures with the Israeli Ambassador on 29 October 2020. UK officials from the British Consulate in Jerusalem have made regular visits to areas at risk of demolition and eviction to reiterate UK support for those communities. The UK is clear that in all but the most exceptional of circumstances, demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to Palestinians and is harmful to the peace process.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to the Israeli Government on reports of the Israeli Army allegedly seizing EU humanitarian aid intended for the Palestinian community of Humsa Al Bqai'a in the Jordan Valley.

I called on Israel to stop demolitions on 5 February 2021. I also raised our concern about demolitions with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 29 October 2020, and issued a statement outlining the UK's concern about the demolitions of structures in Humsa Al-Baqai'a on 6 November 2020. Officials from the British Consulate General Jerusalem visited Humsa Al-Baqai'a on 6 November 2020 to reiterate UK support for the community. The UK provides funding to the West Bank Protection Consortium, which is coordinating with the Palestinian Red Cross and the United Nations to provide emergency shelter to the community of Humsa Al-Baqai'a, and determine the community's long-term needs. UK senior officials raised demolitions with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 10 November 2020. The UK also urged the Government of Israel to end demolitions of property in the West Bank at the UN Security council on 21 December 2020.

We are focused on preventing demolitions from happening in the first place through our legal aid programme, which supports Bedouin communities and Palestinians facing demolition or home eviction in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem. We continue to urge the Government of Israel to develop improved mechanisms for zoning, planning and permitting in Area C for the benefit of the Palestinian population, including by facilitating local Palestinian participation in such processes.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans the Government has to ensure that British citizen frontier workers who work in Northern Ireland and live in the Republic of Ireland are able to secure their rights under Article 30(d) of the EU Withdrawal Agreement in the event that they are not eligible to apply for a frontier worker permit.

The frontier worker permit scheme has been established under Article 26 of the Withdrawal Agreement (and equivalent provisions in the agreements with the EEA EFTA States and Switzerland) to provide EU citizens with a right to be issued with a document certifying their rights as frontier workers in the UK under those agreements. British citizens and dual national British citizens who live outside the UK but who work in the UK are not within the personal scope of the Agreements and therefore are not eligible to apply to the frontier worker permit scheme. British citizens already have right of abode in the UK and do not need permission to work in the UK as that right stems from their British citizenship.

UK nationals who were lawfully resident in Ireland before the transition period ended are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement and do not need to apply for a new residence status in Ireland as their rights are conferred automatically by operation of the law. Under Article 30(d), UK nationals resident in Ireland and subject to the legislation of the UK continue to be covered by the EU social security regulations in full. This means that if the UK is competent, then the UK Government will be responsible for their social security cover in Ireland, including reciprocal healthcare.

Access to these rights will be determined by caseworkers upon application and guidance on evidence requirements has been published on gov.uk. The Withdrawal Agreement is without prejudice to Common Travel Area arrangements between the UK and Ireland and the rights of British and Irish citizens in each other's state. This includes rights under the social security agreement between the two countries.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking in response to the political situation in Ethiopia.

We are concerned by the ongoing violence in the Tigray region as well as by Amnesty International's report of killings of civilians on 9 November: we call for transparency and accountability to be delivered for such incidents. We have called on all involved to ensure the protection of civilians, and to restore and maintain humanitarian access to allow the delivery of humanitarian assistance and essential services. The Foreign Secretary called Prime Minister Abiy of Ethiopia on 10 November to raise these concerns and stress the urgent need to de-escalate the situation. On 18 November, I reinforced this message with the Ethiopian Ambassador to the UK. The British Ambassador to Ethiopia and other officials also continue to reinforce these messages at the highest levels and we continue to engage regional and wider international partners to push for swift de-escalation of the situation. We are in close contact with UK funded humanitarian agencies working in Tigray to understand humanitarian needs and programme adaptations.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what reports he has received on allegations of police violence towards protestors in the Lekki suburb of Lagos on 20 October 2020; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of implementing sanctions against the Nigerian Government and officials if they are found to be involved in human rights abuses.

The UK Government is deeply concerned by violence during protests in Lagos and other major cities in Nigeria, including reports of casualties. We offer our condolences to the families of those affected. The Foreign Secretary issued a statement on 21 October calling for an end to the violence and for the Nigerian Government to urgently investigate reports of brutality by its security forces and hold those responsible to account. I reiterated these messages when I spoke to Foreign Minister Onyeama on 23 October. The British High Commissioner in Abuja continues to raise the protests with representatives of the Nigerian Government.

The UK Government has made clear to the Nigerian authorities at the highest levels the importance of protecting human rights for all. We encourage all parties to work together to enable the people of Nigeria to exercise their rights safely, peacefully and in line with the rule of law. On 6 July, the UK Government established the Global Human Rights sanctions regime by laying regulations in Parliament under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. This sanctions regime gives the UK a powerful new tool to target individuals involved in serious human rights violations or abuses. It is longstanding practice not to speculate on future sanctions designations as to do so could reduce the impact of the designations. We will keep all evidence and potential listings under close review.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether UK development funding for the Nigeria Countering Organised Crime and Corruption programme has (a) directly and (b) indirectly been used to support Nigeria's Special Anti-Robbery Squad.

The UK Government's Conflict, Stability and Security Fund's (CSSF) Countering Organised Crime and Corruption programme, which supports capacity building of Anti-Kidnap Coordination Units in Nigeria, has not provided any support or training to Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) units or officers.

Through our CSSF-funded Nigeria Policing Programme, which ended in March 2020, FSARS officers participated in training on amended Nigerian police guidance designed to improve human rights, training on public finance, and community policing workshops. The Nigeria Policing Programme was part of our Security and Justice Reform Programme, which is working to help deliver a criminal justice system that better protects the human rights of all Nigerians. Through our support to the CSSF-funded North East Public Safety and Security Programme (part of which is delivered jointly with USAID) three radios issued to Borno Police Command police units working to improve local security and to counter violent extremist organisations were distributed to the local FSARS Unit. These were returned after FSARS was disbanded. The North East Public Safety and Security Programme is part of our North East Nigeria Security, Conflict and Stabilisation Programme, working to help stabilise one of Nigeria's poorest and most fragile regions.

The UK Government will continue to support police reform in Nigeria, working with the Nigerian Government and international and civil society partners to improve the accountability and responsiveness of the Nigerian Police Force in line with its human rights obligations. The Nigerian authorities must uphold human rights and the rule of law, investigate any incidents of police brutality and hold those responsible to account. We will continue to monitor the response to the recent protests closely.

7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 1 September 2020 to Question 77846 on Bahrain: Capital punishment, if he will set out the international standards referred to in the Answer

Our support for Bahrain fully complies with our international human rights obligations as it is dependent on a robust assessment under the Overseas Security and Justice Assistance process, which requires that recognised human rights and other risks must be considered prior to providing assistance, including an assessment of the potential impact of any proposed assistance, and the identification of mitigation measures against the risk that assistance might directly or significantly contribute to a violation. Furthermore, our assistance is regularly monitored and evaluated to ensure it continues to deliver against these standards, and is often delivered in cooperation with respected international partners such as the United Nations Development Programme.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, for what reasons the call for evidence on the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy did not expressly include (a) the promotion of democracy and (b) the protection of human rights.

At the start of the Integrated Review, the Prime Minister said that the Review will set out how the United Kingdom will be a problem-solving and burden-sharing nation. He also highlighted the importance of our values. This includes standing up for democracy and human rights.

The Call for Evidence invites the public to submit evidence to inform the Integrated Review. Its aim is to invite a broad range of submissions without prejudging which themes or issues should receive particular consideration at this stage.

Her Majesty's Government is committed to an open and inclusive review that utilises a wide range of expertise and challenges traditional Whitehall assumptions and thinking.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to the Polish Government in response to Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro's recent statements that Poland will withdraw from the Istanbul Convention.

The UK accords a high priority to promoting gender equality and women's rights across the world. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office officials regularly raise gender issues, including domestic violence, in multilateral fora such as the UN and the Council of Europe. The UK signed the Istanbul Convention in 2012, signalling its strong commitment to tackling violence against women and girls; this Government remains committed to ratifying it. We encourage the Polish Government, too, to maintain its commitment to the Convention. The British Embassy in Warsaw is active on this agenda and supports NGOs working on women's rights. Later this month, the Embassy will be hosting a public webinar with British and Polish experts on lessons learned in dealing with domestic violence during the Covid-19 pandemic and will follow this with smaller group workshops with NGOs from the UK and Poland at which they will share experiences.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to the Government of Belarus on the (a) integrity of its 2020 Presidential election and (b) mistreatment of anti-government protesters since that election.

The Government has been clear in condemning the violent suppression and detention of peaceful protesters, following the recent fraudulent Presidential elections in Belarus. We have been clear that we do not accept the election results. The UK is calling for an independent investigation through the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) into the conduct of the authorities leading up to, during and after the Presidential elections and the subsequent violent crackdown by authorities. We have raised these concerns directly with Belarusian Foreign Minister Makei.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if the Government will make its future assistance to Bahrain contingent on a decrease in or end to that country’s use of death penalty.

We continue to believe that Bahrain is taking steps in the right direction to improve its human rights record, in line with the Government's Plan which built on the reform recommendations set out in the 2012 Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry Report. Whilst we and the Government of Bahrain acknowledge this is a work in progress, our support for this Bahrain-led reform is helping to build effective and accountable institutions, strengthen the rule of law and deliver justice reform. All our support is in line with international standards, and aims to share the UK's expertise and experience.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 4 July 2019 to Question 270326 on International Decade for People of African Descent, whether he plans to reconsider the decision not to take specific steps to mark the UN International Decade for People of African Descent and its theme of recognition, justice and development following the Black Lives Matter protest.

The UK Government strongly supports the UN International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) and remains committed to combating racism, both domestically and internationally. There are no guidelines setting out how countries should mark the Decade. The UK has chosen to combat racism throughout the lifetime of the Decade by continuing to work to eradicate discrimination and intolerance in our country. The Government is committed to doing this in this decade, and beyond.

At home, our focus is on creating a fair society where all people, regardless of ethnic origin or background, are valued and able to participate fully and realise their own potential. Internationally, we believe that one of the most effective ways to tackle injustices and advocate respect among different ethnic groups is to encourage countries to uphold their human rights obligations, particularly through international institutions such as the United Nations. The UK has participated in and joined consensus on the key 21st century UN events and instruments on racism, and is committed to speaking out against racism and intolerance bilaterally and in multilateral fora. During the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, we delivered two statements on the urgency of dealing with racism, one in the item 9 debate and one in the urgent debate. The Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon also discussed the importance of combatting racism during the UK's closing statement which was delivered on 26 June.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Hungarian counterpart since legislation was passed by the Hungarian Government on 19 May 2020 that ends the legal recognition of transgender people and wider discrimination against LGBTQ citizens.

The UK is committed to the principle of non-discrimination on all grounds, including on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. We are concerned by the amendment to Hungary's Registry Act that was passed through by the Hungarian Parliament on 19 May, and the impact this will have on the rights of transgender people.

I raised these concerns with the Hungarian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Levente Magyar, on 30 April. Officials in our Embassy in Budapest have also discussed the amendment with senior Hungarian officials, as well as with civil society. We will continue to maintain a dialogue with Hungary, both bilaterally and in multilateral fora, on promoting tolerance and non-discrimination towards LGBT people.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, for what reasons he refused a request from the EU to establish an office in Northern Ireland to facilitate the implementation of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol.

The UK Government considered the EU's request in February and again in March, to establish a Belfast office of the EU Delegation to the UK and responded on both occasions that we cannot agree to a permanent EU presence in Belfast. While Article 12 gives EU officials the right to be present during the activities of UK authorities related to the implementation and application of the Protocol, we do not accept that that necessarily requires an EU Delegation office in Belfast, or indeed any other permanent EU presence in Northern Ireland.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the Government's position is on the emergency powers granted to the Prime Minister of Hungary during the covid-19 pandemic; and what representations he has made to his Hungarian counterpart on that matter.

We are committed to working with our international partners, including Hungary, to overcome the global health and economic challenges resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and to set the stage for a strong recovery of sustainable economic growth and prosperity. We remain in close contact with the Hungarian authorities as we coordinate our response.

The UK places great importance on, and has a proud history of respecting, the rule of law and democratic values. We are clear that measures to address the coronavirus pandemic should be targeted, time-limited and subject to regular review. We are closely monitoring the Hungarian government's use of the emergency legislation.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to international counterparts on tacking the transmission of covid-19 in refugee camps related to the conflict in Syria.

The Foreign Secretary's current priority is to support global efforts to combat the outbreak of COVID-19; he recognises the scale of the threat posed by COVID-19 in Syria and in Syrian refugee camps. The International Development Secretary spoke with Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, on 18 March, and agreed to work together to minimise the impact of this crisis on refugees. DFID is leading the humanitarian support for the UK's global efforts to combat the outbreak of COVID-19, including for those in refugee camps. This includes a contribution of £10 million to the World Health Organisation to help prevent the spread of this outbreak. We will continue to monitor the situation in Syria and in Syrian refugee camps very closely.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Minister for Europe)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he is making to his EU member state counterparts to ensure that people originating from Northern Ireland who identify as Irish and retain Irish Citizenship and therefor EU citizenship are not removed from electoral register on the basis that they are only considered as British citizens under the 1981 Nationality Act.

Under the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, the People of Northern Ireland have the right to identify as British, Irish or both; and the right to hold both British and Irish citizenship. Thus, and in line with UK and Irish citizenship laws, the People of Northern Ireland may be solely British citizens, solely Irish citizens, or dual British-Irish citizens. Those people of Northern Ireland who are exercising their free movement rights, as Irish (including dual British-Irish) citizens, to reside in a European Union Member State will continue to be subject to the same rules as other EU citizens residing in that Member State, including with regard to voting rights. People of Northern Ireland, regardless of their citizenship, may also be exercising their free movement rights as family members of EU citizens in a European Union Member State and accordingly will continue to be subject to relevant rules with regard to voting rights. Those who are solely British citizens, and who are not exercising free movement rights as family members of EU citizens, will be subject to the rules applicable to other British citizens in that Member State, including with regard to voting rights.

The right of British citizens to vote and stand in local elections depends on the electoral rules of the Member State in which they live. The UK pushed hard in Withdrawal Agreement negotiations to include the right to vote and stand in local elections, but the EU Commission argued that voting rights were a Member State competence. UK Ministers wrote to all EU Member States in December 2018 to propose bilateral agreements on local voting rights, and we have now signed agreements with Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg. Some Member States have constitutional provisions that prevent third-country nationals from voting in local elections.

Wendy Morton
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
11th May 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential economic impact of a suspension of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

It is for the Office for Budget Responsibility to provide economic and fiscal forecasting.

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement ensures that the UK has control of our laws, borders, money and fisheries, ending any role for the European Court.

The UK Government’s overriding priority has been, and continues to be, preserving peace and stability in Northern Ireland.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish details of (a) the spending committed to the Fresh Start Agreement initiative for education in Northern Ireland and (b) associated projects, including (i) start date, (ii) funds committed and (iii) estimated date for completion.

As part of the ‘Fresh Start’ agreement to facilitate the implementation of the Stormont House Agreement, the UK government committed up to £500 million capital funding to support shared and integrated education.

The UK government is working closely with the Northern Ireland Executive to agree projects and, up to 2021-22, has provided £92 million.

Further detail of funding provided to the Northern Ireland Executive for the ‘Fresh Start’ agreement can be found in the Block Grant Transparency, published online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/block-grant-transparency-december-2021

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the European Commission on the application of changes to VAT for the installation of energy saving materials in Northern Ireland.

The Government has been clear that a constructive solution must be found that ensures the whole of the UK can benefit from the energy saving materials reforms and that Northern Ireland remains an integral part of the UK market.

The Government will engage with the European Commission on this matter as soon as possible, within wider discussions regarding the Northern Ireland Protocol.

In the interim, the Northern Ireland Executive will receive a Barnett share of the value of this relief.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the number of EU member states that are currently enabling reduced VAT treatment of the installation of energy saving materials.

At Spring Statement 2022, the Chancellor announced that the VAT relief for the installation of energy saving materials (ESMs) in residential accommodation would be expanded in Great Britain from 1 April 2022. The changes have removed complex eligibility conditions, reinstated wind and water turbines as qualifying materials, and reduced the rate of VAT to zero per cent for the next 5 years.

EU rules restrict the VAT reliefs which can be introduced in EU Member States. As such, no Member State can currently apply a new VAT zero rate or reduced rate to the installation of ESMs which is equivalent to that being introduced in Great Britain.

Under the EU VAT Rates Proposal officially adopted at ECOFIN on Tuesday 5 April 2022, and due to be introduced across the EU from 1 January 2025, the list of items on which Member States can apply reduced rates and zero rates will be expanded. However, this expanded list only covers the supply and installation of solar panels and does not include other key items in the UK’s ESM measure, such as insulation or wind and water turbines.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether there is any Barnett Consequential for Northern Ireland from the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund; and how much that allocation will be.

Spending Review 2021 allocated £800m for the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, as part of the UK government’s 10-year £3.8 billion Manifesto commitment to decarbonise the social housing building stock in England.

At spending reviews, the Barnett formula is applied to changes in each UK government department’s DEL budget with the Barnett consequentials that arise then added to the devolved administrations’ baseline block grants.

Because the Barnett formula is not applied to changes in funding for all the individual programmes within a UK government department’s DEL budget, the Barnett consequentials associated with these individual programmes cannot be identified.

Spending Review 2021 set the largest annual block grants, in real terms, of any spending review settlement since the devolution Acts in 1998 and the Northern Ireland Executive is receiving an average of £1.6 billion per year through the Barnett formula on top of its £13.4 billion annual baseline.

It is for the devolved administrations to decide how to allocate their funding in devolved areas, including environmental planning and decarbonisation.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
4th Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) threshold on families with one working parent on a low to average income in the context of recent increases in the cost of living.

The Government introduced the High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) from January 2013 to ensure that support for families is targeted at those who need it most. The tax charge applies to anyone with an individual income over £50,000 who claims Child Benefit, or whose partner claims it, regardless of family make-up. The charge is tapered for taxpayers with incomes between £50,000 and £60,000. Where income is over £60,000, the amount of the charge is equal to the Child Benefit payments.

HICBC is calculated on an individual rather than household basis, in line with other income tax policy.

The Government set the HICBC thresholds at the current levels to help target Child Benefit in the way it considers most effective. As with all elements of tax policy, the Government keeps this under review as part of the annual Budget process.

The Government recognises the challenge that many are facing with the cost of living. That is why we are providing support worth over £20 billion across this financial year and next that will help families with the cost of living. This includes cutting the Universal Credit taper rate and increasing work allowances to make sure work pays, freezing alcohol and fuel duties to keep costs down, and the £9.1 billion package announced in February 2022 to help households with rising energy bills. In addition, we are increasing the National Living Wage by 6.6 per cent to £9.50 an hour in April 2022, which will benefit more than 2 million workers.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
27th Jan 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much revenue was raised under the Apprenticeship Levy from businesses in Northern Ireland during each of the five past financial years.

The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in 2017-18, and the outturn data is not yet available for 2021-22. The table below shows the estimated amount of levy paid by employers who are registered in Northern Ireland, rounded to the nearest £5m, for the first four financial years since the introduction of the Levy:

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

2020-21

Apprenticeship Levy Receipts

£25m

£30m

£30m

£30m

Please note that these estimates are based on where employers are registered, and therefore does not necessarily reflect where the liabilities are accrued. They don’t include businesses registered in Wales, Scotland, or England, who have a presence and pay employees in Northern Ireland. Meanwhile, they include businesses registered in Northern Ireland, who have a presence and pay employees in Wales, Scotland, or England, but it assumes that the total pay bill is within Northern Ireland.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of using additional economic indicators to reflect measurements of (a) well-being and (b) environmental impact.

The Treasury uses a range of data and indicators when analysing the economy and setting economic policy.

The Treasury also considers indicators of environmental impact when making spending decisions. All departments are required to prepare their spending proposals in line with the Green Book on Appraisal and Evaluation, which mandates consideration of climate and environmental impacts in spending, and was recently updated to emphasise that policies must be developed and assessed against how well they deliver on long-term policy aims such as net zero. Similarly, the Treasury carefully considers the environmental implications of relevant tax measures. The Government incorporated a climate assessment in all relevant Tax Information and Impact Notes (TIINs) for measures at Budget and will continue to do so in future TIINs. For example, the TIIN for the new Plastic Packaging Tax incorporates an assessment of anticipated carbon savings.

Additionally, the Treasury commissioned an independent, global review on the economics of biodiversity, culminating in the publication of the Dasgupta Review February 2021. In line with the report’s recommendations, the Treasury has committed to working with the ONS to improve the way nature is incorporated into our national accounts.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans to develop an associated tax strategy as part of his Department's net zero review.

The Net Zero Review, which was published in October, explored the trade-offs and key issues, such as the likely fiscal implications of the transition, for the UK as it decarbonises. As per the Report’s terms of reference, it did not contain policy detail on how sectors will decarbonise, but set out that the Government may need to consider changes to existing taxes to deliver net zero sustainably and consistently with the Government’s fiscal strategy.

The UK Emissions Trading scheme and a wide range of taxes, including the Climate Change Levy, Vehicle Excise Duty, and Carbon Price Support rate, are already in place to encourage businesses and consumers to make greener choices. The Government is committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050 and keeps all taxes under review to ensure that they are helping us achieve this goal.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has contingency plans in place to provide financial support to Devolved Administrations for assistance to businesses in circumstances where the outbreak of covid-19 requires lockdown measures to be taken.

Public health is a devolved matter and so many of the health measures implemented across the UK in response to COVID-19 fall within the competence of the devolved administrations. COVID-19 has shown how the UK Government can work strategically and collaboratively with the devolved administrations to manage our response to the pandemic across the whole of the UK and it remains committed to continuing to do so.

Businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are able to access UK-wide covid support, including:

- a reduced rate of VAT for tourism and hospitality - businesses in these sectors pay only 12.5% in VAT from 1 October until 31 March 2022, helping to support around 150,000 businesses and protect 2.4 million jobs UK-wide.

- continued access to Government-guaranteed finance for businesses across the UK, thanks to the extension of the Recovery Loan scheme to 30 June 2022.

The devolved administrations have also benefitted from an extra £12.6 billion through the Barnett formula this year – including an extra £1.3 billion confirmed at the recent Autumn Budget - taking total block grant funding in 2021-22 to £77.6 billion. This is enabling the devolved administrations to provide support to individuals, businesses and public services across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in relation to COVID-19.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the impact on the economy of a potential partial suspension of the Trade and Co-operation Agreement by the EU in the event that the Government triggers Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The Government remains in intensive discussions with the EU with the aim of delivering significant changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol, as set out in the Command Paper published in July.

Our preference is to find a consensual solution that deals with the problems which exist. However, it is the responsibility of the UK Government to safeguard peace and prosperity in Northern Ireland, and if solutions cannot be found this could include using Article 16. The safeguards in Article 16 are designed to ease acute problems, not to cause or compound them.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to mitigate potentially anti-competitive consequences of the Government's lending schemes via the (a) Bounce Back Loan, (b) Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan and (c) Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan for the UK banking sector.

Over 1.6 million businesses accessed over £79 billion of finance through the Covid-19 business loan schemes. The Treasury recognises the vital role that non-banks and challenger banks play in the provision of credit to SMEs. It is grateful for the way the sector has responded to the current crisis, and remains committed to promoting the participation of a diversity of lenders in the market and widening the funding options available to UK businesses.

We will continue to work with non-bank lenders to support their participation in the new Recovery Loan scheme following the closure of the previous loan guarantee schemes, as well as engaging closely with alternative lenders and continuing to promote competition more generally.
John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of establishing (a) regional mutual banks and/or (b) regional angel finance programmes for the purposes contributing to its Levelling Up agenda and enhancing competition and lending practices within the banking sector.

The Government welcomes the efforts to establish regional mutual banks and recognises the importance of diversity in the banking system. Officials have been engaging with prospective mutual banks over their efforts to raise capital and look forward to further discussions.

The British Business Bank is already delivering the Regional Angels Programme, a £100m scheme which seeks to increase the aggregate amount of early-stage equity capital that is available to smaller businesses with high growth potential across the UK. This programme is off to a promising start and has seen very strong demand. The British Business Bank will assess the effectiveness of the programme in meeting its stated objectives in due course.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he is planning to extend the SME Supporting Factor beyond 2022 to maintain lending capacity and businesses' access to finance.

The "SME supporting factor”, allows firms to apply a discount (ranging between 15% and 24%) to risk weightings for qualifying exposures to SMEs.

This measure was introduced by the EU and deviates from internationally agreed Basel standards.

The recent Financial Services Act 2021, passed in May, delegated responsibility for the implementation of capital requirements relating to the international Basel standards to the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). This is subject to an enhanced accountability framework, which requires the PRA to consider the impact of their rules on the ability of firms to provide finance to the UK economy (including SMEs) on a sustainable basis in the medium and long-term.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the Bank of England's Term Funding Scheme for SMEs beyond it's planned expiry date of October 2021.

Monetary policy is the responsibility of the independent Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of England and this includes decisions on Bank Rate and quantitative easing. The separation of fiscal and monetary policy is a key feature of the UK’s economic framework, and essential for the effective delivery of monetary policy, so the Government does not comment on the conduct or effectiveness of monetary policy.
John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent changes have been made to the Green Book in assessing value for money to give weighting for bids from particular regions; and if he will set out that weighting.

The Green Book sets out guidance on how to appraise policies,

programmes and projects, to help public servants give objective advice to decision makers. In November 2020 the Government completed a review of the Green Book, which included new requirements for the appraisal of place based impacts. This guidance sets out that where a proposal has geographically defined objectives, then the principal frame of the analysis should be on the effects on that area specifically. Alternatively, where a proposal is expected to have different implications for parts of the UK, then these impacts on different places should be appraised and presented to support decision making.

Value for money is a judgement following the application of the wider Green Book method. These judgements also need to consider un-quantified factors and the extent to which different options best meet the objectives for intervention, rather than a quantified score alone. It is therefore not possible to apply regional weightings to these wider considerations which are necessary in assessing value for money.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to tie measurable outcomes for (a) progress towards net zero emissions and (b) a net increase in employment within the green economy with the green saving bonds initiative.

In June 2021, the Government published the UK Government Green Financing Framework. This outlines HM Treasury’s approach to measuring and reporting the impact of Green Savings Bonds and the Green Gilt

The Government will publish biennial impact reports starting no later than 2023. These will include metrics measuring the environmental impacts of six categories of expenditure financed by the programme, including Clean Transportation and Renewable Energy. These metrics will demonstrate the green financing programme’s contribution towards net zero emissions.

Impact reports will also include metrics for social co-benefits of expenditures, including the number of jobs created or supported, making clear the role of green financing in the Government’s levelling up agenda.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the evidence submitted by the Consumer Council of Northern Ireland to the Treasury Committee’s call for evidence on the future of financial services on the (a) potential comparative levels of financial distress and exclusion in Northern Ireland, (b) provision of basic bank accounts and (c) need for a local presence of the Financial Conduct Authority in Northern Ireland.

The Government recognises that there are varying levels of financial inclusion and vulnerability across the UK, including from the ongoing impact of COVID-19, and is committed to helping people access the support they need to get their finances back on track.

The Government remains committed to ensuring that individuals, whatever their background or income, and wherever they live in the UK, are able to access useful financial products and services. In February 2021, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published its finalised guidance for firms on the fair treatment of vulnerable customers. This applies to all firms where the FCA Principles for Business apply, which includes Northern Ireland, in respect of the supply of products or services to retail customers.

The Government is committed to improving access to financial services and recognises that access to a transactional bank account is key to enabling people to manage their money on a day-to-day basis effectively, securely and confidently. The nine largest personal current account providers in the UK are legally required to offer basic bank accounts to customers who do not have a bank account or who are not eligible for a bank’s standard current account. Many of these providers operate in Northern Ireland. The Government keeps the list of designated banks under review.

Finally, the Government welcomes the FCA’s announcement on 15th July 2021 that the FCA will be establishing a presence in Belfast for the first time.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of issuing long-term covid-19 bonds to finance a sustained economic recovery from the covid-19 outbreak.

Since the onset of COVID-19, the Government has announced an extensive package of measures in order to provide the critical support needed by individuals, families, and businesses facing disruption caused by the pandemic. This has significantly increased the Government’s financing requirement in the near term and, as previously announced by the Chancellor, this additional financing will be fully funded via additional borrowing through the Government’s normal debt management operations.

Our core gilt financing programme is the most stable and cost-effective way of raising finance to fund the day-to-day activities of the Government. This includes the significant funding increase required specifically to address the period of economic disruption arising from COVID-19 and the Government’s policy response. The gilt market is deep and liquid, with a good track record in responding smoothly to increases in gilt supply.

At present, the UK Government does not have any plans to introduce long term COVID-19 bonds to help fund the response to the pandemic. The Government remains open to the introduction of new debt instruments but would need to be satisfied that any new instrument would meet value-for-money criteria, enjoy strong and sustained demand in the long term, and be consistent with wider fiscal objectives. The Government recently announced its intention to issue a first sovereign Green Bond in 2021, for example. We keep the introduction of new debt financing instruments under regular review.

The UK already has comfortably the longest average duration to maturity in its debt stock across the G7, at around 15 years. This compares to around 8 years for our closest G7 peer (France) and helps to reduce refinancing risk in the UK. The conventional and index-linked yield curves stretch out to 2071 and 2068, respectively. When setting gilt issuance plans – including on the average duration of issuance – for the year ahead in the spring, HM Treasury and the Debt Management Office (DMO) seek to minimise, over the long term, the costs of meeting the Government’s financing needs, taking into account risk.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what measures are in place to ensure debt forbearance for companies that received loans under the (a) Bounce Back Loan scheme and (b) Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme and who will likely encounter continued financial difficulties as a result of ongoing covid-19 restrictions.

The Government has already taken action to give businesses the flexibility and space they need to repay their loans. Under the Bounce Back loan scheme no repayments are due from the borrower for the first 12 months of the loan, and the Government covers the first 12 months of interest payments charged to the business by the lender.

In order to give businesses further support in making their repayments, the Government announced “Pay as You Grow” (PAYG) options. PAYG will give businesses the option to repay their Bounce Back loan over ten years. This will reduce their average monthly repayments on the loan by almost half. Businesses will also have the option to move temporarily to interest-only payments for periods of up to six months (an option which they can use up to three times). They can also pause their repayments entirely for up to six months – and given the continued challenges businesses are facing, the Government opted to enable borrowers to make use of this option from the first repayment, which means that businesses can choose to make no payments on their loans until 18 months after they originally took them out. If borrowers want to take advantage of this option, they should notify their lender when they are contacted about their repayments.

Furthermore, the Government have amended the CBILS rules to allow lenders to extend loan terms from six to a maximum of ten years where the borrower is in difficulty and where the lender judges that an extension would help their situation. I should be clear that CBILS term extensions will be offered at the discretion of lenders, unlike the “Pay As You Grow” options for Bounce Back loans. Any business concerned about their ability to repay their finance should discuss this with their lender in the first instance.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to extend furlough and other covid-related support mechanisms in the event that the 21 June 2021 date for the further easing of covid-19 restrictions is delayed.

Throughout this pandemic, our Plan For Jobs has supported jobs and businesses with over £400 billion of economic support – one of the most generous and comprehensive packages in the world.

At Budget the Government deliberately went long and erred on the side of generosity – specifically to accommodate short delays to the roadmap. Most of the Covid economic support schemes do not end until September or after, in order to provide continuity and certainty for businesses and families.

The Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) announced at Budget 2021 ensures lenders continue to have the confidence to lend, ensuring viable businesses continue to have access to Government-backed finance needed throughout 2021. The scheme launched on 6 April 2021, following the closure of the emergency schemes to new loan applications on 31 March 2021, and will run until 31 December 2021. The scheme operates UK-wide, providing an 80% guarantee to lenders for term loans, overdrafts, and invoice and asset finance.

The CJRS was introduced to help employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) to retain their employees and protect the UK economy. All businesses across the UK can access the scheme, with employees receiving 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. At Budget the government extended the CJRS until the end of September 2021, to support businesses and employees through the next stage of the pandemic. The economy now is in a stronger position than it was last autumn, when businesses also contributed up to 20 per cent of wage costs.

In line with the extension to the CJRS, the government announced at Budget 2021 that the SEISS will continue until September, with a fourth and a final fifth grant. This provides certainty to business as the economy reopens and means the SEISS will continue to be one of the most generous schemes for the self-employed in the world.

As restrictions have been lifted, it is right that we ask employers to contribute more to strike the balance between supporting the economy as it opens up, continuing to provide support and protect incomes, and ensuring incentives are in place to get people back to work.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
25th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of reducing VAT on hospitality and housing renovation in Northern Ireland to increase the uptake of retrofitting measures in existing buildings.

The Government maintains a number of VAT reliefs on construction and renovation, including a zero rate of VAT on new-build residential or qualifying buildings, a reduced rate of VAT on residential renovations which includes conversions of buildings from one residential use to another, converted from commercial to residential use, and the renovation of properties that have been empty for two years or more prior to the renovation work. Renovation of commercial buildings attracts the standard rate of VAT and is recoverable in the usual way.

Expanding these reliefs to include all renovations would cost approximately £3.75bn per year and would require reductions in spending or increasing taxes elsewhere. The Government has no plans to conduct a review of the VAT treatment of construction.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending access to the UK Trader Scheme to companies without a formal base in Northern Ireland.

The conditions for authorisation for the UK Trader Scheme (UKTS) are set out in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee’s decision on ‘not at risk’ goods. The Government has already provided an easement to allow GB traders who do not have a fixed place of business in Northern Ireland time to prepare, allowing them to be authorised for the UKTS until 1 November 2021 providing they meet other UKTS eligibility requirements. As part of current discussions to address outstanding issues with the Protocol and ensure it operates in the pragmatic and proportionate way intended, the Government would want to consider flexibilities that could support the streamlined flow of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

25th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many licences have been granted in relation to frozen Libyan assets in the UK; and to whom those licences have been granted.

The Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) releases an annual review each year, which provides information about the number of licences issued. From April 2017 to March 2020, OFSI issued a total of 66 new licences under the Libya regime.

OFSI does not publish details of individual licences granted.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of waiving the limitation on the number of payment holidays to credit providers that people can apply for in response to the prolonged economic effect of the covid-19 outbreak.

In November 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) extended its guidance on mortgage and consumer credit payment holidays. This allows borrowers to apply for up to six months of payment holidays until 31 March 2021, with all payment holidays under this guidance ending by 31 July 2021. These measures have provided consumers with a much-needed respite period, giving time to smooth out finances that may have taken a hit by the pandemic.

The Government and FCA have been clear from the start that this guidance should only be a temporary solution for those borrowers facing short-term financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19. For borrowers needing ongoing support beyond six months, the FCA’s business-as-usual rules require that lenders provide tailored forbearance for the specific needs of the borrower. The tools available to lenders under these rules include suspending, reducing or waiving interest, fees or charges as well as offering further payment holidays if agreed between the borrower and lender.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he received reports of the Ready to Invest scam; and whether his Department was aware that the Financial Conduct Authority had been notified of related fraudulent activities in 2010.

Ready2Invest was an unauthorised firm that went into liquidation in 2013.

The FCA is an independent non-governmental body responsible for regulating and supervising the financial services industry. Matters of fraud are the responsibility of the police, not the FCA. However, it is the responsibility of the FCA, as an independent regulator to investigate and decide upon the appropriate course of action when it identifies potential cases of investment fraud. I understand that this matter has been referred to the relevant law enforcement agencies and it would be inappropriate to comment on an ongoing investigation.

Although the Treasury sets the legal framework for the regulation of financial services, it has strictly limited powers. In particular, the Treasury cannot intervene in individual cases and does not monitor individual financial services firms.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps his Department is taking to mitigate the effect on leisure boats moving between Northern Ireland and Great Britain arising from different rules on red diesel from 1 July 2021.

Budget 2021 announced that private pleasure craft users in Northern Ireland will no longer be able to use red diesel to propel their craft. The change will take effect later this year, with the specific date to be confirmed in due course. Red diesel will continue to be used by private pleasure craft in the rest of the UK.

This change will achieve consistency with a 2018 judgment by the  Court of Justice of the European Union, and ensure the UK meets its international obligations under the Northern Ireland  Protocol. It will also align the rules with those governing fuel used by private pleasure craft in the Republic of Ireland, which should make it simpler for craft  users to get the fuel they need if they travel between  Northern Ireland and Ireland.

The Government is engaging with representative groups covering private pleasure craft as well as fuel suppliers over any implementation issues. Further details will be announced in due course, including in relation to craft travelling from Northern Ireland to Great Britain.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, to ask the Chancellor what assessment he has made of the potential merits of creating a unique tax code for the current student cohort to enable the application of covid-19 related tax deductions with regards to future earnings.

The UK's economic response to COVID-19 is one of the most generous and comprehensive in the world. The Government is monitoring closely the impact of measures, having regard to the need to support public services, businesses, and individuals, and will keep all policies under review.

The Government recognises that this academic year has been extremely difficult for students and that, as a result of these exceptional circumstances, some students are facing financial hardship. To this end, the Department for Education has announced a further £50 million to support students in England with financial pressures from the pandemic, in addition to the £20 million announced in December.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps are being taken to ensure effective communication and co-ordination between the Trader Support Service and the Irish Revenue Commissioners.

The Trader Support Service (TSS) has been established to help traders affected by changes due to the Northern Ireland Protocol. For example, the service can submit import and safety and security declarations on behalf of traders moving goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland without them needing to engage directly with new digital customs systems.

The Government recognises the need to work closely with the Irish authorities regarding customs requirements and the TSS is engaging with these authorities accordingly. As part of the TSS’s educational offering, the service can indicate to traders and hauliers when they will need to interact with Irish systems.

25th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the current staffing level is of the Trader Support Service.

HMRC are working closely with the Fujitsu-led consortium appointed to deliver services offered by the Trader Support Service (TSS). The consortium has expertise across the range of services needed to make the TSS effective, including an existing provider of customs education and an established customs intermediary. It has over 700 contact centre staff on hand to manage trader queries, answering 98% of calls in under 30 seconds.

30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what representations he has received on allegations of fraud connected to overseas investments; and what steps he is taking to safeguard the interests of UK investors involved in investment scams (a) overseas and (b) in unregulated areas.

The Government takes matters of fraud extremely seriously. We continue to work closely with industry to close down the vulnerabilities that fraudsters exploit and ensure members of the public have the information they need to spot a scam and stand up to fraudsters.

The FCA hold a public record that shows details of firms, individuals and other bodies that are, or have been, regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and/or the FCA. Consumers who are considering an investment opportunity are encouraged to use the register to check the regulatory status of the firm in question ahead of transferring any funds. The register can be found here https://register.fca.org.uk/.

Individuals who invest in unregulated products should be aware that they are unlikely to be eligible for FSCS compensation (unless a regulated activity (i.e. financial advice) has been undertaken). Whether an activity is regulated is set out in legislation, and is rightly a matter for government and Parliament. The costs and benefits of bringing activities into the regulatory perimeter can be finely balanced which is why Government is committed to regulating only where there is a clear case for doing so.

Where a member of the public suspects that they have been a victim of a scam they should report the case to Action Fraud, the national reporting point for fraud and cyber crime.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing bridging finance for employers to cover ongoing payment of national insurance contributions and pension costs for employees on furlough during the covid-19 outbreak in order to safeguard jobs during periods of business closure.

Under the extension from November, employer contributions for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) have returned to the level they were in August, which is lower than the previous level in September and October. Employer National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and pension contributions are the only required contributions under the extension to the CJRS. For an average claim, this accounts for just 5 per cent of total employment costs or £70 per employee per month. Many small employers can benefit from the Employment Allowance for support with their NICs bill, allowing eligible employers to reduce their annual National Insurance liability by up to £4,000.

The CJRS is only one element of a comprehensive package of support for businesses. This includes access to affordable, Government backed finance through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBLS) for large firms, along with the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBL) for small and micro enterprises. As of 13 December, these schemes have already provided over £68bn in guaranteed loans and provide vital support across all sectors of the UK economy for businesses who have been impacted by coronavirus.

We have guaranteed the devolved administrations an additional £16.8 billion of resource funding this year to help them respond to coronavirus. This means at least £3bn of additional funding for the Northern Ireland Executive.

14th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate his Department has made of how much and what proportion of covid-related rates relief returned by UK supermarkets will be allocated to the Northern Ireland Executive.

The UK Government has been clear throughout the pandemic that businesses should use support appropriately, and welcomes any decision to repay support where it is no longer needed. Any funds returned will support the continuing efforts to protect people’s jobs and incomes.

The UK Government is working with the devolved administrations and will set out details for business on making repayments shortly.

14th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of extending the Stamp Duty holiday, to (a) mitigate the effect of logistical delays occurring during property transactions as a result of covid-19 restrictions and (b) facilitate full outworking of sales that are underway that may otherwise not complete.

The temporary SDLT relief was designed to stimulate immediate momentum in a property market where property transactions fell by as much as fifty per cent during the COVID-19 lockdown in March. This momentum in the property market will also support the jobs of people whose employment relies on custom from the property industry, such as retailers and tradespeople.

The Government will continue to monitor the market. However, as the relief was designed to provide an immediate stimulus to the property market, the Government does not plan to extend this relief.

7th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has for the UK Infrastructure Bank to open regional offices as part of the levelling up policy.

The new infrastructure bank for the UK will be headquartered in the north of England. Further details on the bank, including location, will be set out at the Spring Budget.

The bank will help to support infrastructure projects across the whole of the UK in order to unleash the power of the Union and promote economic growth.

17th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of permitting the Northern Ireland Executive to carry forward moneys from the 2020-21 financial year as a result of uncertainty about spending profiles arising from the covid-19 outbreak.

As part of our response to coronavirus we have provided the Northern Ireland Executive with upfront certainty that they will receive at least £2.8bn in additional funding this year on top of their Spring Budget funding. This has allowed the Executive to plan and deliver their response to coronavirus.

As set out in the Statement of Funding Policy, the Executive are able to carry forward a certain percentage of their budgets from one year to the next through Budget Exchange. This means the Executive will be able to carry forward a proportion of their overall budget for 2020/21 which includes the £2.8bn additional funding due to coronavirus. As with UK government departments, any excess underspends will be forfeited unless exceptionally agreed otherwise with HM Treasury.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to address the loss of access to the VAT Margin Scheme as a consequence of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol for (a) cars sourced in Great Britain and sold in Northern Ireland by car dealers and (b) the consequent increase in costs of cars to consumers.

The Northern Ireland Protocol frames the approach to VAT on goods, including the second-hand margin scheme, in Northern Ireland. As is the case for tax policy generally, the Government is keeping this under review.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing support for self-employed people comparable to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme during the November covid-19 lockdown.

In reaction to the resurgence of COVID-19 and following the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), the Government has increased the level of support available to the self-employed through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

The overall level of the third SEISS grant has been increased to 80 per cent of average trading profits, meaning that the maximum grant available has now increased to £7,500. This provides equivalent support to the self-employed as is being provided to employees through the Government contribution in the CJRS.

The Government will also be paying out the grant more quickly by bringing forward the SEISS 3 claims window from 14 December to 30 November.

This will provide an estimated £7.3bn of support to the self-employed through November to January alone, with a further grant to follow covering February to April. This places the SEISS among the most generous schemes for the self-employed in the world.

The SEISS continues to be just one element of a comprehensive package of support for individuals and businesses. This package includes Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support,?increased levels of Universal Credit, mortgage holidays, and other business support grants.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to provide financial support to employees that were made redundant before the anticipated end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

On 31 October 2020 the Prime Minister announced that the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. This will ensure that there is no gap in support. If employees were employed as of 23 September 2020 and were made redundant or stopped working for their employer prior to 30 October 2020, they can qualify for the scheme if their employer re-employs them.

This scheme is just one element of a comprehensive package of support. Where firms make the decision that they cannot retain all of their staff, the Government is ensuring that those looking for work are supported through a package of measures in the Plan for Jobs. This will help people find work by significantly increasing the help offered through Jobcentres and providing individualised advice through the National Careers Service. The Government has also launched the Kickstart Scheme, a £2bn fund to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people. The temporary welfare measures announced in March also remain available and will benefit new and existing claimants.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of reviewing banks' compliance with money laundering regulations.

The UK’s Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (MLRs), set out the high-level requirements on banks to combat money laundering. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is the Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Terrorist Financing (AML/CTF) supervisor for over 20,000 financial services firms in the UK and is committed to ensuring the MLRs are fully adhered to and will not hesitate to take action where they are not.

The FCA actively investigates AML breaches in the financial sector and in recent years this has resulted in fining Commerzbank in 2020, Standard Chartered Bank £102.2 million in April 2019, Barclays over £72m in 2015 and Deutsche Bank £163m in 2017 for AML failings. The Deutsche Bank fine is the largest fine for an AML breach ever imposed by the FCA or the Financial Services Authority. The FCA also makes full use of other powers available to it under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the leak of documents from the US Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network in September 2020.

The UK is internationally recognised as having some of the strongest controls worldwide for tackling money laundering and terrorist financing. The allegations contained within the leak of documents are largely historic, and in recent years, the Government has taken a number of actions to strengthen the UK’s response to financial crime.

In 2019, the government published the landmark Economic Crime Plan, which brought together the government, law enforcement and the private sector in closer cooperation than ever before to deliver a whole system response to economic crime.

This year, the government has also completed the transposition of the Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Directive into domestic law. This helps to ensure the UK’s AML/CTF regime remains comprehensive, responsive to emerging threats, and in line with evolving international standards set by the Financial Action Task Force.

However, we recognise that there is more to be done and are committed to continuing to build on the progress made so far, as we lead the global fight against illicit financial flows.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing additional lending schemes for (a) hospitality and (b) other businesses experiencing an immediate and open-ended erosion of their business viability as a result of the covid-19 outbreak and associated restrictions.

Through the Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan, the Government continues to protect jobs and struggling businesses across the most impacted areas of the UK. As part of this plan, the Chancellor announced that we have started work on a new, successor loan scheme, set to begin in January.

The Chancellor also announced an extension to the application deadlines for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme (CBILS), the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Scheme (CLBILS), the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) and the Future Fund to a single date, 30 November. This provides additional time for businesses who need support to apply for government-backed finance.

The Government recognises that the necessary restrictions introduced through the Tier system have been disruptive for businesses. That is why we have set out an expanded package of support for businesses who are legally required to close, as well as for those who are not forced to close, but who face reduced demand due to additional restrictions on socialising.

The Job Support Scheme will now guarantee that most workers working a minimum of 20% of hours receive at least 73% of their usual wages, while workers whose employers have been closed by health restrictions will be guaranteed two thirds of their wages.

Hospitality, leisure and accommodation businesses in Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas will now also be eligible to receive a grant of up to £2,100 and £3,000, respectively, according to the value of their premises. Sufficient funding will be allocated to Local Authorities to distribute.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of expediting the implementation of the enhanced Job Support Scheme in areas where covid-19 restrictions have been escalated and businesses have closed.

Employers can use the furlough scheme until 31 October to help them through this difficult period and can then get support through the new Job Support Scheme from 1 November to ensure there is no gap in support, including in areas where COVID-19 restrictions have been increased and businesses closed. The scale of support that the Job Support Scheme provides has also been increased to reflect the evolving situation. This is just one part of a wider package of support for livelihoods across the UK including rental support, mortgage holidays, and extra funding for the welfare safety net to help those without access to other forms of support.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of subsidising the employers' wage contribution element of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme for businesses unable to trade in Northern Ireland between 17 October and 31 October 2020 before the Job Support Scheme is implemented.

The CJRS employer contributions are small in comparison to employee costs; if an average claim lasted 8 months, the total cost of employer contributions would represent about 5% of the total gross employment costs an employer would have incurred had the employee not been furloughed.

For employers who may need more support, there is a range of continuing support including the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. For employees who may need more support, the Government has introduced temporary welfare measures including a £1,000 a year increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing scaled, automatic additional financial support to regions which move into (a) high and (b) very high covid-19 local alert levels.

As measures to control the virus change, government support has evolved.

The government continues to take a flexible approach and recognises the evolving situation with the pandemic and health restrictions, and the impact this is having on areas. Which is why on 22 October, the Chancellor announced a package specifically for those businesses which are not forced to close, but face reduced demand due to additional social distancing restrictions:

o Two changes to the Job Support Scheme (JSS): there will be a significant reduction in the employer contribution to employee wages. And there will be also a reduction in time required for an employee to be in work. Both changes will benefit employers, provide greater flexibility and help protect more jobs.

o An increase in the generosity of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme to mirror the new generosity of the JSS for employed workers.

o Additional funding to allow Local Authorities in Tier 2 areas to make cash grants to businesses that can remain open. These grants are primarily aimed at hospitality, leisure and accommodation business premises and are worth 70% of the value of the grants provided to closed businesses in Tier 3.

Moreover, in July we announced an unprecedented guarantee that the devolved administrations would receive at least £12.7 billion in additional resource funding this year to help them respond to Covid-19. As of 9 October, we have now uplifted that by £1.3 billion, to at least £14 billion. This means a total increase this year of at least £2.4 billion for the Northern Ireland Executive, on top of their Spring Budget 20 funding. This is in addition to the UK-wide measures that have directly supported the people and businesses in Northern Ireland. We continue to work with devolved administrations to support them contain the spread of Covid-19.

We continue to review our policies to ensure we are providing the right support to local areas under increased restrictions.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of automatically allocating additional financial and economic support to areas where covid-19 risks and associated restrictions are increased and prolonged relative to the rest of the UK.

As measures to control the virus change, government support has evolved.

The government continues to take a flexible approach and recognises the evolving situation with the pandemic and health restrictions, and the impact this is having on areas. Which is why on 22 October, the Chancellor announced a package specifically for those businesses which are not forced to close, but face reduced demand due to additional social distancing restrictions:

o Two changes to the Job Support Scheme (JSS): there will be a significant reduction in the employer contribution to employee wages. And there will be also a reduction in time required for an employee to be in work. Both changes will benefit employers, provide greater flexibility and help protect more jobs.

o An increase in the generosity of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme to mirror the new generosity of the JSS for employed workers.

o Additional funding to allow Local Authorities in Tier 2 areas to make cash grants to businesses that can remain open. These grants are primarily aimed at hospitality, leisure and accommodation business premises and are worth 70% of the value of the grants provided to closed businesses in Tier 3.

Moreover, in July we announced an unprecedented guarantee that the devolved administrations would receive at least £12.7 billion in additional resource funding this year to help them respond to Covid-19. As of 9 October, we have now uplifted that by £1.3 billion, to at least £14 billion. This means a total increase this year of at least £2.4 billion for the Northern Ireland Executive, on top of their Spring Budget 20 funding. This is in addition to the UK-wide measures that have directly supported the people and businesses in Northern Ireland. We continue to work with devolved administrations to support them contain the spread of Covid-19.

We continue to review our policies to ensure we are providing the right support to local areas under increased restrictions.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of making the proportion of previous earnings in the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme the same as that in the Job Support Scheme.

The Government recognises the impact that the changing path of the virus has had on the self-employed, including those in peripatetic professions, and has taken action to increase the level of support available.

The support given to the self-employed via the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant Extension (SEISS GE) will now be doubled, increasing the amount of profits covered from 20 per cent to 40 per cent. This means the maximum grant available has increased from £1,875 to £3,750. This will provide a further £3.1 billion of support to the self-employed through November to January alone, with a further grant to follow covering February to April. The Government is now providing broadly the same level of support for the self-employed as is being provided to employees through the Job Support Scheme (Open).

For those requiring further assistance, the SEISS continues to be just one element of a comprehensive package of financial support for the self-employed. The Government has temporarily increased the Universal Credit standard allowance for 2020-21 and relaxed the Minimum Income Floor for the duration of the pandemic meaning that where self-employed claimants' earnings have significantly fallen, their Universal Credit award will have increased to reflect their lower earnings. In addition to this, the self-employed also have access to other elements of the package, including Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, mortgage holidays, and other business support grants.

19th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the International Monetary Fund’s October 2020 Fiscal Monitor, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of a programme of public investment to help economic recovery from the effects of the covid-19 outbreak.

In responding to the Covid-19 outbreak the government has announced unprecedented support for families, businesses, and self-employed people. The immediate focus for the government’s economic and fiscal strategy continues to be on supporting workers and businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government is conducting a one-year Spending Review, which will set departmental resource and capital budgets for 2021-22 and Devolved Administrations block grants for the same period. Alongside providing enhanced support for public services and certainty for departments to tackle Covid-19 and deliver our Plan for Jobs to support employment, the SR will invest in infrastructure to keep up the momentum of our ambitious plans to unite and level up, drive our economic recovery and build back better. Multi-year NHS and schools resource settlements will be fully funded, as will priority infrastructure projects. The Spending Review will conclude in late November.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Job Support Scheme incentivises employers to maximise the number of jobs retained during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Job Support Scheme (JSS) is designed to protect jobs in businesses which are facing lower demand over the winter months due to COVID-19, and to support jobs where businesses are legally required to close as a result of coronavirus restrictions. This comprehensive package of support will ensure that as many jobs as possible are protected and help keep employees attached to the workforce.

Further incentivising employers to retain employees is the Job Retention Bonus (JRB), which can be claimed alongside the JSS. This is worth £1,000 per employee and is paid to the employer. JSS grants can be used by employers to play an employee’s wages and help meet the JRB Minimum Income Threshold.

15th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 13 October 2020 to Question 99158, if he will publish the specific Barnett Consequential arising to Northern Ireland from the Kickstart scheme.

Any additional funding provided to DWP for Kickstart will result in Barnett consequentials for the Northern Ireland Executive.

As is the normal process, changes to departmental and devolved administrations’ funding will be confirmed at Supplementary Estimates.

Therefore, to give the Northern Ireland Executive the certainty to plan and deliver their coronavirus response, we have guaranteed they will receive at least £2.4bn in additional funding this year on top of their Spring Budget funding.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to develop the Authorised Economic Order system for trade between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Government has been clear that there should be no tariffs on internal UK trade because, as the NI Protocol acknowledges, the UK is a single customs territory.

In addition, processes on goods moving from GB to NI will be kept to an absolute minimum so that the integrity and smooth functioning of the UK internal market are protected. Nothing in the NI Protocol prevents NI businesses from enjoying unfettered access to the rest of the UK internal market. As set out in New Decade, New Approach, the Government will legislate to guarantee unfettered access for NI’s businesses to the whole of the UK internal market, and ensure that this legislation is in force for 1 January 2021.

Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) status will be available in both GB and NI at the end of the transition period, but, to ensure minimal disruption to businesses, the Government has established a new and unprecedented Trader Support Service for businesses moving goods between GB and NI. This will provide an end-to-end service which will guide traders through all import processes, including handling digital import and safety and security declarations on their behalf, at no additional cost.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of applying Modern Monetary Theory principles to his fiscal policies when responding to the covid-19 outbreak.

In responding to Covid-19 outbreak the government has announced unprecedented support for families, businesses, and self-employed people. The actions taken have been necessary to help limit any long-term economic scarring and to ensure the economy can recover quickly once the pandemic is over.

The government is committed to delivering support within the existing macroeconomic framework, which is essential for ensuring the UK’s economic credibility. The government’s immediate response to COVID-19 will continue to be funded by additional borrowing, through the government’s normal debt management operations.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, prior to taking his decision to introduce the Job Retention Bonus, what assessment his Department made of the potential merits of allocating the funding assigned to that Bonus to either (a) reducing the level of employer contribution to the Job Support Scheme or (b) providing sector-specific job support schemes during the covid-19 outbreak.

The combination of the Job Retention Bonus (JRB) and the Job Support Scheme (JSS) will help to protect jobs. The JRB helps with employers' costs: for the average claim, the JRB will subsidise about 20% of the employment costs from November to January. For employees at the lower earnings limit, it will subsidise about 60% of employment costs.

12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of providing additional financial support for people who are made redundant during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises that many families will have to rely on the safety net of the welfare system as a result of this crisis. That is why we have introduced significant temporary measures to boost its generosity, including a £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance, and an increase to the Universal Credit housing element so it covers the lowest third of local rents. The OBR estimates our welfare measures will increase spending by over £9 billion this year.

We are also focussing on getting people back into work. We announced unprecedented support in the Plan for Jobs, including £1.2 billion to significantly expand and enhance work search support, including by doubling the number of work coaches, additional investment into the Flexible Support Fund, and making use of external providers to expand support even further. The Government also launched a new £2 billion Kickstart Scheme, creating hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people at risk of long-term unemployment, as well as a guaranteed foundation of support for young people on Universal Credit.

The Plan for Jobs also invested £8.6 billion in infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects to create jobs.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing additional financial support to people of working age who were employed or self-employed before the start of the covid-19 outbreak but who have since been unable to work as a result of having underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable to covid-19 infection.

Individuals with underlying health conditions have access to the unprecedented package of support for individuals that the Government has introduced. This includes the introduction of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Job Support Scheme, and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

For those on low incomes or unable to work, the Government has injected a further £9.3 billion into the welfare system and has made several changes to support the most vulnerable. These changes include: a £20 per week increase to the UC standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element, and a relaxation of the UC minimum income floor for all self-employed claimants. In addition, those with a health condition which prevents them from working or preparing for work may be entitled to an extra amount of Universal Credit.

Since 1 August, the Government has relaxed national advice for workers who are clinically extremely vulnerable. The advice is the same as for the clinically vulnerable; to work from home where possible. However, if they are unable to work from home, they will be able to return, provided their workplace is COVID-safe.

5th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the the Barnett Consequential is arising to the Northern Ireland Executive from the Kickstart scheme in Great Britain.

On 24th July we made an unprecedented upfront guarantee to the devolved administrations. We guaranteed that they will receive at least £12.7bn in additional funding this year on top of their Spring Budget Funding, including £2.2bn for the Northern Ireland Executive.

This gives the Northern Ireland Executive the certainty to plan and deliver their coronavirus response this year. The guaranteed funding will ensure people, businesses and public services in all three nations get the support they need throughout the pandemic.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the economic effects of the covid-19 pandemic, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of index-linking devolved Administrations' borrowing limits to reflect cost pressures.

The devolved administrations receive a share of funding from UK Government borrowing through the Barnett formula. This demonstrates the significant benefit derived from pooling and sharing resources across our Union.

The UK Government has guaranteed that the devolved administrations will receive a minimum of £12.7bn of additional resource funding in 2020/21. This is an unprecedented guarantee of additional in-year funding.

The devolved administrations can also augment this funding through their own borrowing powers and Reserves, ensuring they have the tools to deliver their response to COVID-19 this year.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps the Government is taking to monitor the lending practices of banks.

Although the Treasury sets the legal framework for the regulation of financial services, it does not have investigative powers of its own.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is responsible for the regulation and monitoring of regulated mortgage and consumer lending. The FCA assesses every regulated firm’s fitness to trade as part of the authorisation process, including banks, and it has put in place binding standards on firms. It proactively monitors the market, focusing on the areas most likely to cause consumer harm, and it has various methods to punish breaches of its rules – there is no limit on the fines it can levy and, crucially, it can force firms to compensate consumers. In addition to following FCA rules, banks undertaking regulated consumer credit lending must also comply with relevant parts the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

On business lending, the Government continues to monitor the market and work closely with banks and other finance providers to ensure SMEs can access the finance they need, including through the government-backed loan guarantee schemes.

If, as a result of a bank’s lending practices, an individual or an SME feels they have been treated unfairly they can refer complaints to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS provides a free, independent dispute resolution service for bank customers.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to make housing more affordable for people who have experienced financial hardship as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has put in place significant measures to help people with their living costs, including housing, by paying up to 80% of their wages, increasing the amount available to welfare claimants and raising the Local Housing Allowance rate to the 30th percentile, supporting tenants who may be struggling with their rent. Also, 1.9 million mortgage payment holidays have been granted, equivalent to 1 in every 6 UK mortgages, and the current stay on lender repossessions of homes will be in place to 31 October 2020.

Furthermore, the Government has committed an additional £9.5 billion for the Affordable Homes Programme at the Budget. This takes funding from 21/22 to £12.2 billion. The £12.2 billion will be spent over five years and this will deliver up to 180,000 new affordable homes

We also introduced a stay on possession proceedings for renters in England and Wales to ensure no one needed to be concerned about the threat of eviction over the summer. From 21 September courts will start to hear possession hearings again and these will be subject to new court processes and procedures, developed by the Judiciary, including prioritisation of the most serious cases.

The Government has changed the law to increase notice periods to six months in all but the most egregious cases. This means that renters now served notice can stay in their homes over winter, with more time to find alternative support or accommodation.

We are also taking steps to ensure that no enforcement of evictions will take place in areas where local lockdown measures are in force which restrict access to premises. There will also be a ‘winter truce’ on the enforcement of evictions, with no evictions permitted in England and Wales in the run up to and over Christmas except in the most serious circumstances, such as cases involving anti-social behaviour or domestic abuse.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the implications for his fiscal policy of the May 2020 OECD report entitled Tax and Fiscal Policy in response to the Coronavirus crisis: Strengthening confidence and resilience.

The UK’s fiscal response to COVID-19 has been one of the most generous and comprehensive around the world. It has been the right thing to do to support jobs, livelihoods and the economy, and will ensure stronger public finances over the longer term.

The immediate focus for the Government’s economic and fiscal strategy is now on ensuring that it continues to support workers and businesses as the UK recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Treasury reviews a range of reports from institutions including the OECD in the course of advising ministers. The Government will set out further details on its plans for fiscal policy at the next Budget, as the economic and fiscal outlook becomes clearer.

28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will list each of the Barnett Consequentials that have arisen for the Northern Ireland Executive since 1 April 2020.

The Barnett consequentials that have been allocated to the Northern Ireland Executive since 1 April 2020 have been set out in the 2020-21 Main Supply Estimates publication and the latest Block Grant Transparency publication.

On 24 July we made an unprecedented upfront guarantee to the Northern Ireland Executive. We guaranteed that they will receive at least £2.2bn in additional Resource DEL funding for this year. This certainty will ensure they can plan a coronavirus response in the months ahead.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Barnett Consequentials arising for the Northern Ireland Executive during the 2020-21 financial year must be spent in-year or may be carried forward into the 2021-22 financial year.

As set out in the Statement of Funding Policy, the Northern Ireland Executive can carry forward up to 0.6% of Resource DEL underspends and 1.5% of Capital DEL underspends in any year.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the announcement of a temporary reduction of VAT to five per cent on admission to certain attractions, if he will provide further clarification on what those attractions are.

Admissions to shows, theatres, circuses, fairs, amusement parks, concerts, museums, zoos, cinemas and exhibitions and similar cultural events and facilities will be covered by the new reduced rate of VAT for attractions. This is set out in guidance on VAT on admission charges to attractions published on GOV.UK.

Further detail about the application of the new reduced rate can be found in Revenue and Customs guidance on the temporary reduced rate of VAT for hospitality, holiday accommodation and attractions, also published on GOV.UK.

12th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential economic merits of a temporary suspension of the apprenticeship levy during the covid-19 outbreak.

The apprenticeship levy is an important part of our aim to raise apprenticeship quality, supporting employers to make a long-term, sustainable investment in training. Only the very largest businesses pay the Levy, which requires only those employers with an annual pay bill of £3 million or more to pay 0.5% on the part of their pay bill exceeding this threshold.

For employers operating in England, levy funds are available for them to invest in the training of their apprentices for 24 months. Given that Education and Skills Policy is devolved, the arrangements for apprenticeship funding elsewhere in the UK are the responsibility of the devolved administrations.

Where apprentices are furloughed, they can continue to train for their apprenticeship as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for their employer.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
4th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to increase the threshold for stamp duty to help support the property market during the covid-19 outbreak.

There are no plans to change the Stamp Duty Land Tax threshold. However, the Government continues to keep all taxes under constant review as part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans to review the £50,000 trading profit threshold for eligibility for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

The new Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will help those adversely affected by COVID-19. Some 95% of people who are mainly self-employed could benefit from this scheme, based on 2017-18 data.

The design of the SEISS, including the £50,000 threshold, means it is targeted at those who need it the most, and who are most reliant on their self-employment income. Those who had more than £50,000 from self-employment profits in 2017-18 had an average total income of more than £200,000.

Those with average trading profits above £50,000 could still benefit from other support. Individuals may have access to a range of grants and loans depending on their circumstances, including the Bounce Back Loans Scheme for small businesses, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and the deferral of tax payments.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department plans to consider dividends in determining income of business owners under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Those who pay themselves a salary through their own company may be eligible to claim for 80% of usual monthly wages, up to £2,500 a month, through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The CJRS is available to employers, including personal service companies, and individuals paying themselves a salary through a PAYE scheme are eligible.

The Government’s priority has been to support as many people as it possibly can, and as quickly as possible. Under current reporting mechanisms it is not possible for HM Revenue and Customs to distinguish between dividends derived from an individual’s own company and dividends from other sources, and between dividends in lieu of employment income and as returns from other corporate activity. Expanding the scope would require HMRC to collect and verify new information and any such proposal would need to be considered against the other schemes which the Government is committed to delivering as quickly as possible.

Those who are not eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme may be able to access other support Government is providing, including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Bounce Back Loans Scheme for small businesses, and the deferral of tax payments. More information about the full range of business support measures is available at?www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the circumstances in which 2019-20 financial year self-assessment tax returns could be used for the purposes of the self-employed income support scheme.

It has not been possible to include those who began trading after the 2018-19 tax year in the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. This was a very difficult decision and it was taken for practical reasons. It is correct that individuals can now submit Income Tax Self Assessment returns for 2019-20, but there would be significant risks for the public purse if the Government relied on these returns for the scheme. HMRC would not be able to distinguish genuine self-employed individuals who started trading in 2019-20 from fake applications by fraudulent operators and organised criminal gangs seeking to exploit the SEISS. The Government cannot expose the tax system to these risks.

However, those who entered self-employment after April 2019 will still be eligible for other support. For example, the self-employed can benefit from the Government’s relaxation of the earnings rules (known as the Minimum Income Floor) in Universal Credit. The SEISS supplements the significant support already announced for UK businesses, including the Bounce Back Loans Scheme for small businesses, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the deferral of tax payments. More information about the full range of business support measures is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19

18th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of a Government funded universal basic income as an emergency measure to protect incomes and livelihoods during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is doing whatever it can to ensure that individuals, families and businesses are supported during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is focusing on measures that can be implemented as quickly as possible. The Government also believes that using existing frameworks for those who need additional support is the quickest and most effective way to do so during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The Government announced at Budget and in recent days, a wide-ranging package of measures to support individuals, families and employees affected by Covid-19. These include:

  • making Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) available for individuals diagnosed with Covid-19 or those unable to work because they are self-isolating in line with government guidance. This is in addition to the change announced by the Prime Minister that SSP will be payable from day one instead of day four for affected individuals.
  • announcing a 3-month “mortgage holiday” for borrowers that are struggling financially with their repayments. This will allow affected borrowers to defer their repayments for up to three months while they get back on their feet.
  • introducing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms continue to keep people in employment. Businesses can put workers on temporary leave and the Government will pay them cash grants to cover 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500 per month, providing they keep the worker employed.
  • ensuring that those who are not eligible for SSP can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance.
  • increasing the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element of Working Tax Credit by up to £20 per week.
  • a further temporary relaxation of earnings rules for self-employed Universal Credit claimants.
  • increasing the Local Housing Allowance for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants to the 30th percentile of market rents.
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate has been made of the quantum of the Barnett consequential for the Northern Ireland Executive announced during the 2019-20 Financial Year subsequent to the detail set out in the Main Estimates memorandum provided by the Northern Ireland Office; and if he will make a statement.

HM Treasury’s Supplementary Estimates 2019-20 document sets out all the changes in the Northern Ireland Executive’s funding since the Main Estimates 2019-20. The Supplementary Estimates 2019-20 publication can be found on the gov.uk website.

Following the Supplementary Estimates 2019-20, the Northern Ireland Executive funding from the UK government has increased by over £380m compared to Main Estimates 2019-20.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of applying the high income child benefit charge to the higher-earning parent regardless of which parent takes main caring responsibility.

The Government introduced the High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) from January 2013 to ensure that support is targeted at those who need it most. The latest published figures on the operation of HICBC can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/high-income-child-benefit-charge-data/high-income-child-benefit-charge.

11th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the operation of the high income child benefit charge.

The Government introduced the High Income Child Benefit Charge (HICBC) from January 2013 to ensure that support is targeted at those who need it most. The latest published figures on the operation of HICBC can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/high-income-child-benefit-charge-data/high-income-child-benefit-charge.

11th Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the cost to the public purse has been of assessing the viability of a bridge between Scotland and Northern Ireland to date; and what funding has been allocated to that work.

The government is committed to upgrading our infrastructure, and we are looking at a range of options to level up the country and support growth and productivity in every region. We will set out more details on our plans to increase investment in infrastructure at the Budget.

Steve Barclay
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of extending seasonal workers' visas for Ukrainian nationals beyond 31 December 2022, to bring it in line with the three-year visas granted by the Ukraine Family Scheme.

The UK Government does not have any plans to extend the Seasonal Workers' visas for Ukrainian nationals beyond 31 December 2022.

From 3 May 2022 Ukrainian nationals who had permission to stay in the UK on or before 18 March 2022 or permission which expired after 1 January 2022 will be able to apply to stay in the UK under the Ukraine Extension Scheme (UES). Eligibility for permission to stay will include those who were in the UK as Seasonal Workers.

In line with the Ukraine Family Scheme and the Homes for Ukraine Scheme, the Ukraine Extension Scheme will be free of charge and individuals will get 3 years leave to remain in the UK and will have the right to work, study and access public funds. In our assessment this is a much better option for those Ukrainian Nationals currently in the UK on a Seasonal Agricultural Workers visa than extending their existing visa beyond 31 December 2022.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of access to healthcare and prescription medication for Ukrainian nationals with seasonal workers visas and no access to public funds.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether undocumented Ukrainians living in the UK are eligible for the (a) Ukraine Family Scheme, (b) Ukraine Extension Scheme or (c) Homes for Ukraine Scheme; and what support her Department plans to provide to those people.

Undocumented Ukrainians living in the UK are not eligible for any of the Government’s three Ukraine Schemes. They may though be able to regularise their status through other routes which are available to those who are undocumented in the UK, subject to meeting the relevant requirements.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, in what order visa applications under the Homes for Ukraine scheme are being processed.

Applications are normally processed in date order from when your documents were uploaded, or after an appointment at a visa application centre.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department requires undocumented Ukrainians living in the UK to comply with immigration enforcement measures, including detention and the requirement to report at immigration centres.

Ukrainians living in the UK will need to comply with all immigration rules and procedures, with those who remain undocumented or without status in the UK liable to be placed on immigration bail with appropriate conditions applied, depending on the circumstances of the individual case.

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether eligibility for the EU Settlement Scheme as a family member of a person resident in Northern Ireland would be affected by the acquisition of an Irish passport during the process of an application.

Eligibility for the EU Settlement Scheme as a family member of a person of Northern Ireland would not be affected by the acquisition, by the family member or the person of Northern Ireland, of an Irish passport during the process of an application to the scheme.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, where a visa-national entering the UK via Dublin airport can get their entry stamp in Northern Ireland.

There are no routine immigration controls on journeys between Ireland and Northern Ireland. However, individuals arriving in the UK, wherever they enter from, must do so in line with the UK’s immigration framework - for example by being in possession of a valid visa.

There is no requirement for a visa national who possesses a valid UK visa and who enters the UK via Dublin Airport to obtain an entry stamp in their travel document after their arrival in Northern Ireland.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the removal of country policy and information notes on Ukraine from the gov.uk website on 24 February 2022, when her Department plans to to publish updated guidance on claiming asylum from that country.

We removed our country policy and information notes (CPINs) for Ukraine from GOV.UK on 24 February following the invasion by Russian armed forces as the CPINs no longer fully reflected the situation on the ground.

We will release updated CPINs shortly.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether people fleeing Ukraine and entering the UK via the Republic of Ireland are entitled to claim asylum in Northern Ireland.

The safest route for people to leave Ukraine is via its neighbouring countries to the West. From the safety of these countries, those escaping the war can benefit from the additional support we have already announced and apply for one of our safe and legal routes to the UK.

Ukrainians can apply to reunite with UK-based family via the Ukrainian Family Scheme, and for Ukrainians who do not have family ties with the UK, we have inroduced the Homes for Ukraine scheme, which currently matches Ukrainians with individuals who are willing and able to act as a sponsor.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the situation of Russian nationals in the UK whose UK visas are soon due to expire, but who are unable to return to Russia, in the context of the invasion of Ukraine.

Someone subject to immigration control, who is legally present in the UK, can make an in-time application for permission to stay on any route for which they meet the requirements.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the potential merits of introducing an expedited process for family members of EU/EEA Nationals awaiting decisions on applications to the EU Settlement Scheme to match the announced introduction of an expedited decision-making process for family members of UK nationals.

Settled status holders of any nationality and EEA and Swiss citizens with EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) pre-settled status based on UK residence before the end of the transition period will be able to sponsor family members under the new Ukraine Family Scheme.

There are no plans to change the arrangements for the EUSS or EUSS Family Permit.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has carried out an equality impact assessment on her Department’s policy, as set out in Chapter 14 of the guidance Asylum Support: Policy Bulletins Instruction, to limit the amount of items people in asylum accommodation are allowed to have with them, with particular regard to the potential equalities impacts on children and families.

An overarching Policy Equality Statement was updated in 2020 as part of the establishment of the ‘Asylum Accommodation and Support Transformation’ which can be found on Gov.uk.

Accommodation providers have responsibility for transporting possessions when asylum seekers are moved from one address to another. The policy on ‘possessions’ belonging to an asylum seeker who is supported by the Home Office is set out in Chapter 14 of the Asylum Support: Policy Bulletins Instruction, which is also on Gov.uk.

Work to ascertain backdated payments following the High Court judgment, EWHC 2514 of 4 October 2021 is currently being undertaken.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when her Department plans to respond to the High Court judgment, EWHC 2514 of 4 October 2021 by issuing backdated payments to asylum-seekers accommodated in hotels.

An overarching Policy Equality Statement was updated in 2020 as part of the establishment of the ‘Asylum Accommodation and Support Transformation’ which can be found on Gov.uk.

Accommodation providers have responsibility for transporting possessions when asylum seekers are moved from one address to another. The policy on ‘possessions’ belonging to an asylum seeker who is supported by the Home Office is set out in Chapter 14 of the Asylum Support: Policy Bulletins Instruction, which is also on Gov.uk.

Work to ascertain backdated payments following the High Court judgment, EWHC 2514 of 4 October 2021 is currently being undertaken.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her policy or guidance is on the number of bags of belongings that people housed in asylum accommodation may keep with them when being transferred to new accommodation; and if she will publish that guidance.

An overarching Policy Equality Statement was updated in 2020 as part of the establishment of the ‘Asylum Accommodation and Support Transformation’ which can be found on Gov.uk.

Accommodation providers have responsibility for transporting possessions when asylum seekers are moved from one address to another. The policy on ‘possessions’ belonging to an asylum seeker who is supported by the Home Office is set out in Chapter 14 of the Asylum Support: Policy Bulletins Instruction, which is also on Gov.uk.

Work to ascertain backdated payments following the High Court judgment, EWHC 2514 of 4 October 2021 is currently being undertaken.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what proportion of applications to the EU Settlement Scheme via the Relevant Person of Northern Ireland route are successful; and what assessment she has made of the adequacy of that route to Settled Status.

Consistent with UK Government commitments given to support the restoration of devolved government in Northern Ireland, applications to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) can be made by family members of a ‘relevant person of Northern Ireland’, that is of a British or Irish citizen born in Northern Ireland to at least one parent who was then a British or Irish citizen or otherwise entitled to reside permanently in Northern Ireland.

Information on the outcome of EUSS applications which relate specifically to family members of ‘relevant persons of Northern Ireland’ is not recorded in a reportable form on our case management system and is therefore not available.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to Answer 57193 of 25 October 2021, when her Department’s revised policy on entry clearance fee waivers will be published.

The overseas fee waiver policy is being revised to include an assessment of affordability for specified applications on the human rights route.

The revised policy and related application system is currently being developed and is expected to be published shortly.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme via the Relevant Person of Northern Ireland route.

Information on EUSS applications which relate specifically to family members of ‘relevant persons of Northern Ireland’ is not recorded in a reportable form on our case management system and is therefore not available.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of expressly adding musicians to the list of vulnerable Afghans eligible for the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme.

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) opened on 6th January and will provide up to 20,000 women, children and others at risk with a safe and legal route to resettle in the UK.

The ACRS will prioritise those who have assisted UK efforts in Afghanistan and stood up for UK values such as democracy, women’s rights, freedom of speech and rule of law; and vulnerable people such as women and girls at risk, and members of minority groups (including ethnic / religious minorities and LGBT+).

No specific provision has been made for musicians, although they could otherwise be eligible through one of the referral pathways.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made for the implications of her policies of the publication of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission entitled a Legal Analysis of Incorporating into UK Law the Birthright Commitment under the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement 1998, published March 2020.

We noted the recommendations made in the publication at the time, and Home Office officials met with its author before publication.

The Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement birthright commitment on citizenship confirms the right to hold both British and Irish citizenship is accepted by both governments. The British Nationality Act 1981 allows a person of Northern Ireland to be British and does not prevent any such person from being a dual British and Irish citizen if they so choose. It also allows someone who does not want to be a British Citizen to renounce that nationality through an administrative process.

Nationality legislation therefore already reflects the citizenship birthright commitments within the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department carries out national risk assessments for immigration applications associated with applicants from specific (a) countries or (b) entry routes to the UK.

The Home Office no longer produces a National Risk Assessment in relation to any immigration applications.

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many judicial review proceedings there are in respect of her Department; and if she will provide a breakdown of the number of judicial reviews being heard in (a) England and Wales's Upper Tribunal, (b) Scotland's Outer House of the Court of Session and (c) Northern Ireland's High Court.

The total number of cases as a breakdown of cases in different courts is not held centrally for England and Wales

In relation to Scotland there are 95 active Home Office judicial review cases in the Outer House of the Court of Session.

In relation to Northern Ireland there are 46 active Home Office judicial review cases.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the EU Settlement Scheme Policy Equality Statement (PES) dated 22 May 2019, published on 7 September 2021, and the section on page 27 on Evidence of abuse by non-EEA nationals, detailing the National Risk Assessment approach towards undocumented non-EEA family members, which has been redacted from the up-to-date PES, and pursuant to the Answer of 25 October 2021 to Question 56477, on Immigration: EU Nationals, when the National Risk Assessment is used; under what circumstances the National Risk Assessment is used; and what the outcome was of the most recent National Risk Assessment.

The National Risk Assessment is not used in connection with EU Settlement Scheme applications and is no longer produced.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions she has had with relevant stakeholders on establishing buffer zones to protect people (a) accessing and (b) providing care at abortion clinics.

The Government is clear that it is unacceptable that patients seeking healthcare advice or staff working in healthcare facilities should feel intimidated or harassed. This country has a proud history of allowing free speech, but the right to peaceful protest does not extend to harassment or intimidating behaviour and the law currently provides protection against such acts.

The Home Office takes the matter of protesters outside abortion clinics extremely seriously and recognises the adverse impact that anti-abortion protests can have on patients and staff. This is why the Home Office is keeping this important matter under review following the public call for evidence.

My officials regularly liaise with national policing leads to assess if there have been any developments on protest activities outside abortion clinics.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether a person who has recently married a UK national is eligible to apply for the Spouse Visa while their Marriage Visitor Visa is still valid.

Visitors must leave the UK before applying for another type of permission, including as a spouse. An application may be made outside the UK whilst the marriage visit visa is still valid.

The applicant should apply in the country in which they are living. Further details on the spouse visa are available here:

https://www.gov.uk/uk-family-visa/partner-spouse

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the reasons are for the delays in processing asylum applications; and what steps she is taking to tackle the backlog of applications in the asylum system.

The asylum system has been under mounting pressure for several years, but this has been exacerbated by the pandemic. At the start of the COVID outbreak, whilst intake reduced, so did interview and decision making capacity. We put in place recovery plans and continue to develop these in light of recent intake surges.

The Home Office is pursuing a programme of transformation and business improvement initiatives which will speed up decision making, reduce the time people spend in the system and reduce the numbers who are awaiting an interview or decision. This includes increasing the number of decision makers and providing improved training and career progression opportunities to aid retention of staff. This investment in our people will speed up processing times and increase the throughput of asylum decisions.

We are continuing to develop existing and new technology to help build on recent improvements such as digital interviewing and move away from a paper-based system. We are streamlining and digitalising the case working process to enable more effective workflow, appointment booking and decision-making. Asylum Operations are also working to reintroduce a service standard and will be looking towards aligning potentially with changes being brought about by the New Plan for Immigration

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 28 September 2021 to Question 51893 on Asylum: Afghanistan, for what reason a breakdown of those figures by nationality is not currently available; and what plans she has to provide that data in the future.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail the number of notices of intent issued and can be found online at:

How many people do we grant asylum or protection to? - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

A breakdown of these figures into nationality is not currently available however we are working to bring inadmissibility and nationality data in line with current reporting and hope to publish that information in the near future.

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the EU Settlement Scheme Policy Equality Statement (PES) dated 22 May 2019, published on 7 September 2021, and the section on page 27 on Evidence of abuse by non-EEA nationals, detailing the National Risk Assessment approach towards undocumented non-EEA family members, for what reason that section was redacted from the updated version of the statement; on what date that redaction was made; whether her Department has issued internal guidance to caseworkers on decision making on (a) EEA Family Permits or (b) EUSS applications that reflects the substance of that approach; and whether it is her policy to continue to apply the outcomes of a National Risk Assessment to all EUSS applications.

The Home Office released on 7 September 2021 an outdated version of the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) Policy Equality Statement (PES) dated 22 May 2019, with redactions, following a Freedom of Information Act request and in compliance with a 9 August 2021 decision of the First-tier Tribunal on Information Rights.

The redactions implement the Tribunal’s finding the publication of the relevant information would, or would be likely to, prejudice international relations and effective law enforcement and would therefore be detrimental to the public interest.

The May 2019 PES is an outdated version of the comprehensive PES for the EUSS published in November 2020:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-policy-equality-statement/policy-equality-statement-eu-settlement-scheme

Neither the published PES nor the EUSS or family permit guidance for caseworkers places any reliance on the National Risk Assessment, which is not routinely used in connection with all EUSS applications.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Afghan refugees have arrived in the UK since the UK military's final evacuation from Kabul airport.

None of the Afghans evacuated during Op PITTING are considered refugees within the international law meaning. Those resettled in the UK via the ARAP scheme, and those provided with LOTR in advance of their admission to the ACRS have indefinite leave to remain under the appropriate resettlement scheme. An individual is only considered a refugee by UNHCR for the purpose of our UK Resettlement Scheme or once their claim for asylum in the UK has been assessed and accepted.

Since the end of the evacuation we have relocated a small number of Afghan nationals to the United Kingdom under other schemes, but the figure for ARAP and others is around 7000 Locally Employed Staff and their family members have been relocated to the UK, since the first ARAP flight on 22 June.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to issue Afghan asylum seekers in the UK with Notices of Intent, in response to the Taliban takeover of August 2021.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail the number of notices of intent issued and can be found online at:

How many people do we grant asylum or protection to? - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)(opens in a new tab)

A breakdown of these figures into nationality is not currently available.

Afghan asylum seekers continue to be issued with notices of intent where appropriate. Inadmissibility rules apply to all nationals where it is considered that there has been an earlier presence or connection to a safe third country.

We have been clear that people should claim asylum in the first safe country that they reach and should not seek to enter the UK illegally. Our New Plan for Immigration underpins this principle.

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Notices of Intent have been issued to Afghan asylum seekers in the UK (a) prior to and (b) since the fall of Kabul to the Taliban on 15 August 2021.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail the number of notices of intent issued and can be found online at: How many people do we grant asylum or protection to? - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

A breakdown of these figures into nationality is not currently available.Afghan asylum seekers continue to be issued with notices of intent where appropriate. Inadmissibility rules apply to all nationals where it is considered that there has been an earlier presence or connection to a safe third country.

We have been clear that people should claim asylum in the first safe country that they reach and should not seek to enter the UK illegally. Our New Plan for Immigration underpins this principle.

Tom Pursglove
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the revised guidance on the Common Travel Area from UK Visas and Immigration, published on 2 September 2021, whether compliance with Border Force requests to produce passports or the other listed identity and nationality documents on Common Travel Area routes is voluntary or compulsory.

We are phasing out the use of EU, EEA and Swiss national identity cards, with certain exceptions, as a valid travel document for entry to the UK from 1 October.

As now, there will be no routine immigration controls on Common Travel Area (CTA) journeys and none whatsoever on land journeys between Ireland and Northern Ireland. However, intelligence-led operations to target potential abuse of CTA routes will continue. We want to ensure passengers have sufficient clarity on what they need to do when travelling from one part of the CTA to another, in particular British and Irish citizens who continue to benefit from their important CTA rights.

We are therefore confirming the documents people will be required to present when entering the UK from another part of the CTA as part of an intelligence-led immigration control if they are encountered by a Border Force officer.

Border Force asses each case on its individual merits. Those who cannot provide the required documents or satisfy Border Force of their status may be refused entry and expected to leave the UK.

The full list of updated document requirements are available on the gov.uk page you refer to.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of revising the points-based immigration system to allow firms to recruit HGV drivers from outside the UK.

I refer the honourable member to the response given to the honourable member for Bristol East on 15 July [UIN: 31344]

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of adding HGV drivers to the shortage occupation list.

I refer the honourable member to the response given to the honourable member for Bristol East on 15 July [UIN: 31344]

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what criteria was used to decide questions for the Life in the UK test; and whether any assessment has been made of the performance of UK citizens in that test.

The average score of customers taking the Life in the UK (LitUK) test in the last 12 months is 19 out of a possible score of 24.

The LitUK test questions are based on the content of the LitUK handbook, which is available for all applicants to study as part of their test preparation. PSI Services (UK) Limited who operate the LitUK test centres on behalf of UKVI, created a pool of test questions covering the content of the handbook.

As the LitUK test is only for customers applying for British Citizenship or certain categories of settlement, there is no requirement for UK citizens to take the LitUK test and so there has been no assessment of their performance in the test.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the average score is of people taking the Life in the UK test.

The average score of customers taking the Life in the UK (LitUK) test in the last 12 months is 19 out of a possible score of 24.

The LitUK test questions are based on the content of the LitUK handbook, which is available for all applicants to study as part of their test preparation. PSI Services (UK) Limited who operate the LitUK test centres on behalf of UKVI, created a pool of test questions covering the content of the handbook.

As the LitUK test is only for customers applying for British Citizenship or certain categories of settlement, there is no requirement for UK citizens to take the LitUK test and so there has been no assessment of their performance in the test.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether an unemployed EU citizen who misses the EU Settlement Scheme 30 June 2021 deadline and subsequently makes a late application will have the right to take up new employment, while they wait for a decision on their application to that scheme.

I refer the Hon. Member to my answer of 2 July to question UIN 22046.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether an unemployed EU citizen who misses the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) 30 June 2021 deadline and subsequently makes a late application will have the right to take up new employment, while they wait for a decision on their EUSS application.

From 1 July, right to work checks will change, and EEA citizens will be required to demonstrate eligibility through evidence of their immigration status, rather than their nationality.

EEA citizens who make a late application to the EU Settlement Scheme and do not have any other form of immigration leave will not be permitted to take up new employment until they have been granted status under the Scheme.

However, a person granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme on the basis of a late application will have the same rights from the date they are granted status, as a person who applied by the deadline. This includes the right to work.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people residing in Northern Ireland who have applied to the EU Settlement Scheme but had their application deferred as a result of unresolved criminal proceedings have been waiting for more than (a) six months, (b) nine months, (c) one year and (d) eighteen months.

Our aim is to process all applications to the EU Settlement Scheme as expeditiously as possible. Complete applications are usually processed in around five working days.

More information about processing times for applications under the scheme is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-application-processing-times/eu-settlement-scheme-pilot-current-expected-processing-times-for-applications

Any EUSS application is likely to take longer to process if:

  • we need to request more information from an applicant

• the applicant is applying as a minor and their application is not linked to an adult

• the applicant submits a paper based application

• the applicant may potentially have a relevant criminal record

• the applicant is applying to the scheme on the basis of a relationship which has not relied upon before in any previous application to the Home Office

In these instances, processing times will vary on a case-by-case basis, based upon how quickly an applicant can provide the requested information, and the circumstances and/or individual needs of each applicant

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many applicants to the EU Settlement Scheme, resident in Northern Ireland have had their applications deferred due to unresolved criminal proceedings.

Our aim is to process all applications to the EU Settlement Scheme as expeditiously as possible. Complete applications are usually processed in around five working days.

More information about processing times for applications under the scheme is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-application-processing-times/eu-settlement-scheme-pilot-current-expected-processing-times-for-applications

Any EUSS application is likely to take longer to process if:

  • we need to request more information from an applicant

• the applicant is applying as a minor and their application is not linked to an adult

• the applicant submits a paper based application

• the applicant may potentially have a relevant criminal record

• the applicant is applying to the scheme on the basis of a relationship which has not relied upon before in any previous application to the Home Office

In these instances, processing times will vary on a case-by-case basis, based upon how quickly an applicant can provide the requested information, and the circumstances and/or individual needs of each applicant

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many applications to the EU Settlement Scheme submitted by or on behalf of a child resident in Northern Ireland have been deferred due to unresolved criminal proceedings in relation to (a) the child or (b) a joint applicant applying on behalf of the child.

Our aim is to process all applications to the EU Settlement Scheme as expeditiously as possible. Complete applications are usually processed in around five working days.

More information about processing times for applications under the scheme is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-application-processing-times/eu-settlement-scheme-pilot-current-expected-processing-times-for-applications

Any EUSS application is likely to take longer to process if:

  • we need to request more information from an applicant

• the applicant is applying as a minor and their application is not linked to an adult

• the applicant submits a paper based application

• the applicant may potentially have a relevant criminal record

• the applicant is applying to the scheme on the basis of a relationship that has not relied upon before in any previous application to the Home Office

In these instances, processing times will vary on a case-by-case basis, based upon how quickly an applicant can provide the requested information, and the circumstances and/or individual needs of each applicant.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether applications to the EU Settlement Scheme are deferred where the resolution of pending criminal proceedings against the applicant would not meet the grounds for refusal relating to suitability considerations.

Decisions on EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) applications where the applicant is subject to pending criminal proceedings are deferred where those proceedings could lead to a conviction and subsequent refusal on suitability grounds; and where the application does not otherwise meet the criteria for referral to Immigration Enforcement in respect of any other conviction.

We have recently revised the EUSS suitability guidance to allow an EUSS application which has been paused for at least six months, to be progressed where all of the following conditions are met:

  • there is only one pending prosecution;
  • the maximum potential sentence upon conviction is less than 12 months, according to the maximum category 1 sentence in line with the Sentencing Council guidelines for the alleged offence; and
  • there are no previous convictions.
Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, to confirm that applications to the EU Settlement Scheme made by 31 December 2020, in respect of which consideration of a criminal record or criminal proceedings is relevant, will have their conduct assessed at the higher threshold of suitability applicable at that time based on EU law grounds of public policy, public security or public health for relevant conduct that occurred prior to 11pm on 31 December 2020.

Where an EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) applicant’s criminality is a relevant consideration, their conduct will be assessed against the threshold relevant to the period in which the conduct was committed.

Conduct committed before the end of the transition period (11pm on 31 December 2020) will be assessed against the EU law public policy, public security or public health test.

Conduct committed after the end of the transition period will be assessed against the UK’s criminality threshold.

This is irrespective of the date on which the application was submitted to the EUSS.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the regulations for pending applications after the deadline for the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), for what reason someone who submitted their EUSS application before the deadline, but are still waiting for a decision after the deadline passes, must additionally demonstrate that they were exercising a right to reside under the EEA regulations 2016 immediately before IP completion day of 31 December 2020 to continue to have a right to work, rent or access welfare benefits; and whether that requirement means that those EEA nationals are being treated differently as a result of the length of time her Department takes to finish processing their application.

From 1 July, right to work and right to rent checks will change and EEA citizens will be required to demonstrate eligibility through evidence of their immigration status, rather than their nationality.

EEA citizens who make a successful application to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) are provided with digital evidence of their immigration status, which they can access and share online.

EEA citizens who have submitted a valid EUSS application by 30 June will be issued with a Certificate of Application. Pending the outcome of their application, they will be able to rely on their Certificate of Application as proof of eligibility to access their right to work or rent when this is verified by the Home Office employer and landlord checking services. The Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue & Customs will also be able to determine an individual’s status with the Home Office using existing services.

Consistent with the Citizens’ Rights Agreements, the Citizens’ Rights (Application Deadline and Temporary Protection) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 protect the EU law rights held at the end of the transition period of a person who has made an application to the EUSS by the 30 June deadline, pending the outcome of the application (and of any appeal against the decision).

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the guidance on late applications to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), for what reasons the right to make a late application extended to people unaware of the need to apply for the EUSS because they have an EU right of permanent residence is limited to those with a document from her Department to certify permanent residence, when that document is not required for an individual to have permanent residence status under the EEA Regulations.

The Home Office has received more than 5.6 million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme and issued more than 5 million grants of status, to 31 May 2021. Our focus remains on encouraging those EU citizens and their family members eligible for the scheme who have yet to apply to do so before the 30 June 2021 deadline for those resident in the UK by the end of the transition period.

In line with the Citizens’ Rights Agreements, we have made clear where a person eligible for status under the scheme has reasonable grounds for missing the 30 June 2021 deadline, they will be given a further opportunity to apply. The guidance on reasonable grounds for submitting a late application we published on 1 April 2021 includes where there are compelling practical or compassionate reasons why a person may have been unaware of the requirement to apply to the scheme by the deadline or may have failed to do so.

The guidance is non-exhaustive and will underpin a flexible and pragmatic approach to considering late applications in light of the circumstances of each case. This will include where the applicant acquired a right of permanent residence under EU law, but did not obtain a document certifying this.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the guidance on late applications to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), whether (a) not knowing about the scheme or deadline will be considered a reasonable ground for a late application to the EUSS or (b) an applicant will need to show they had a good reason for not knowing.

The Home Office has received more than 5.6 million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme and issued more than 5 million grants of status, to 31 May 2021. Our focus remains on encouraging those EU citizens and their family members eligible for the scheme who have yet to apply to do so before the 30 June 2021 deadline for those resident in the UK by the end of the transition period.

In line with the Citizens’ Rights Agreements, we have made clear where a person eligible for status under the scheme has reasonable grounds for missing the 30 June 2021 deadline, they will be given a further opportunity to apply. The guidance on reasonable grounds for submitting a late application we published on 1 April 2021 includes where there are compelling practical or compassionate reasons why a person may have been unaware of the requirement to apply to the scheme by the deadline or may have failed to do so.

The guidance is non-exhaustive and will underpin a flexible and pragmatic approach to considering late applications in light of the circumstances of each case. This will include where the applicant acquired a right of permanent residence under EU law, but did not obtain a document certifying this.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many referrals have been made from Northern Ireland to the Third Country Unit for consideration for inadmissibility since 1 January 2021.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail inadmissibility decisions made as well as the number of returns. These can be found online at:

How many people do we grant asylum or protection to? - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The Home Office does not publish a breakdown of these statistics which disaggregates by area of the UK. These figures are not available in a reportable format and to provide the information could only be done at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum removals from Northern Ireland were progressed by the Third Country Unit in 2020.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail inadmissibility decisions made as well as the number of returns. These can be found online at:

How many people do we grant asylum or protection to? - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The Home Office does not publish a breakdown of these statistics which disaggregates by area of the UK. These figures are not available in a reportable format and to provide the information could only be done at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many removals from Northern Ireland have been progressed by the Third Country Unit since 1 January 2021.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail inadmissibility decisions made as well as the number of returns. These can be found online at:

How many people do we grant asylum or protection to? - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The Home Office does not publish a breakdown of these statistics which disaggregates by area of the UK. These figures are not available in a reportable format and to provide the information could only be done at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum inadmissibility decisions under Immigration Rules 345A have been issued to people in Northern Ireland since 1 January 2021.

The latest published Immigration Statistics detail inadmissibility decisions made as well as the number of returns. These can be found online at:

How many people do we grant asylum or protection to? - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The Home Office does not publish a breakdown of these statistics which disaggregates by area of the UK. These figures are not available in a reportable format and to provide the information could only be done at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum claims lodged in Northern Ireland have been allocated for substantive consideration since 1 January 2021.

The Home Office are unable to state how many asylum claims lodged in Northern Ireland have been allocated for substantive considerations since 1 January 2021 as this information is not published.

However, the Home Office does publish data on the number asylum applications awaiting an initial decision by duration, for main applicants only. This data can be found at Asy_04 of the published Immigration Statistics:
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-march-2021/list-of-tables#asylum-and-resettlementist of tables - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The Home Office are committed to ensuring asylum claims are considered without unnecessary delay, individuals who need protection are granted asylum as soon as possible and can start to integrate and rebuild their lives, including those granted at appeal.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether funding for front-line charities to support vulnerable EU citizens and non-EU family members to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme will continue beyond September 2021.

We are committed to making sure everybody eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS) can apply, including those who are vulnerable or need extra support.

Since April 2019 we have awarded £17 million in grant funding to a network of 72 organisations, who provide a wide range of invaluable support across the UK, ensuring those most at-risk continue to get the help they need.

We have committed a further £4.5 million of grant funding for the period 1 April to 30 September this year to fund the current network of 72 organisations to continue to provide a range of support across the UK well beyond the 30 June deadline.

We are working closely with the Grant-funded Network (GFN), collating feedback and data, to help establish the needs for and scale of support beyond September 2021

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what proportion of applications to the EU Settlement Scheme had a processing time of longer than a month.

Our aim is to process all applications to the Scheme as quickly as possible. The majority of applications are concluded within 5 working days, but cases may take longer dependent on the circumstances of the case, for example if the applicant is facing an impending prosecution or has a criminal record.

The following link lists the expected processing times for EU Settlement Scheme applications, based upon current performance:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/eu-settlement-scheme-application-processing-times/eu-settlement-scheme-pilot-current-expected-processing-times-for-applications

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department has (a) recruited additional immigration enforcement officers and (b) allocated additional funding towards immigration enforcement to anticipate potential increases in the number of undocumented EU citizens being in the UK as a result those citizens failing to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by the deadline of 30 June 2021.

Our primary focus is on ensuring all eligible for status under the EU Settlement Scheme make an application before the 30 June 2021 deadline for the status they deserve under UK law. Those who apply before the deadline, but whose application is not decided until after it, will have their rights protected pending the outcome of their application and of any appeal.

In line with the Citizens’ Rights Agreements, the UK Government has made clear where a person eligible for status under the EU Settlement Scheme has reasonable grounds for missing the 30 June 2021 deadline for applications by those resident in the UK by the end of the transition period, they will be given a further opportunity to apply.

Where a person with reasonable grounds for missing the deadline applies to the EU Settlement Scheme after it, including where they do so after being given a 28-day notice, and is granted status under the scheme, they will, consistent with the Citizens’ Rights Agreements, enjoy the same rights from the time they are granted status as someone who applied before the deadline.

Where a person does not have reasonable grounds for applying to the EU Settlement Scheme after the deadline or fails to make an application within the 28-day period, any immigration enforcement taken will be based on consideration of the circumstances of their case.

Immigration Enforcement will continue to keep its operational priorities under constant review in the light of the latest intelligence and deploy resources accordingly.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to her Department's guidance, EU Settlement Scheme: EU, other EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members, version 11.0, published for Home Office staff on 6 April 2021, what form of immigration status and rights EU citizens and non-EU family members who do not apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by the deadline for receipt of applications to that scheme of 30 June 2021 will have (a) during the 28 day notice period granted to make a late application to that scheme as set out in that guidance and (b) after the 28 day notice period for making a late application to that scheme in the event that those citizens or family members did (i) not make a late application to that scheme during that notice period and (ii) make a late application to that scheme during that notice period and are waiting for the outcome of that late application.

Our primary focus is on ensuring all eligible for status under the EU Settlement Scheme make an application before the 30 June 2021 deadline for the status they deserve under UK law. Those who apply before the deadline, but whose application is not decided until after it, will have their rights protected pending the outcome of their application and of any appeal.

In line with the Citizens’ Rights Agreements, the UK Government has made clear where a person eligible for status under the EU Settlement Scheme has reasonable grounds for missing the 30 June 2021 deadline for applications by those resident in the UK by the end of the transition period, they will be given a further opportunity to apply.

Where a person with reasonable grounds for missing the deadline applies to the EU Settlement Scheme after it, including where they do so after being given a 28-day notice, and is granted status under the scheme, they will, consistent with the Citizens’ Rights Agreements, enjoy the same rights from the time they are granted status as someone who applied before the deadline.

Where a person does not have reasonable grounds for applying to the EU Settlement Scheme after the deadline or fails to make an application within the 28-day period, any immigration enforcement taken will be based on consideration of the circumstances of their case.

Immigration Enforcement will continue to keep its operational priorities under constant review in the light of the latest intelligence and deploy resources accordingly.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to her Department's guidance, EU Settlement Scheme: EU, other EEA and Swiss citizens and their family members, version 11.0, published for Home Office staff on 6 April 2021, what immigration enforcement steps she plans to take in response EU citizens and non-EU family members who do not apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by the deadline for receipt of applications to that scheme of 30 June 2021 in cases where those citizens or family members (a) are deemed not to have reasonable grounds for a late application to that Scheme and (b) fail to make a late application to that Scheme within the 28 day notice period as set out in that guidance.

Our primary focus is on ensuring all eligible for status under the EU Settlement Scheme make an application before the 30 June 2021 deadline for the status they deserve under UK law. Those who apply before the deadline, but whose application is not decided until after it, will have their rights protected pending the outcome of their application and of any appeal.

In line with the Citizens’ Rights Agreements, the UK Government has made clear where a person eligible for status under the EU Settlement Scheme has reasonable grounds for missing the 30 June 2021 deadline for applications by those resident in the UK by the end of the transition period, they will be given a further opportunity to apply.

Where a person with reasonable grounds for missing the deadline applies to the EU Settlement Scheme after it, including where they do so after being given a 28-day notice, and is granted status under the scheme, they will, consistent with the Citizens’ Rights Agreements, enjoy the same rights from the time they are granted status as someone who applied before the deadline.

Where a person does not have reasonable grounds for applying to the EU Settlement Scheme after the deadline or fails to make an application within the 28-day period, any immigration enforcement taken will be based on consideration of the circumstances of their case.

Immigration Enforcement will continue to keep its operational priorities under constant review in the light of the latest intelligence and deploy resources accordingly.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the spousal visa minimum income requirement in allowing sufficient participation in everyday life to facilitate integration.

The purpose of the minimum income requirement, implemented in July 2012 along with other reforms of the family Immigration Rules, is to ensure family migrants are supported at a reasonable level so they do not become a burden on the taxpayer.

The UK Government is committed to promoting social cohesion, good relations and a sense of belonging for all members of society. The ability to participate in activities and organisations outside the home plays a part in this. The minimum income requirement is not the only factor which promotes the ability to participate, but the level at which it is set can mean one particular barrier is reduced.

The Supreme Court has endorsed our approach in setting an income requirement for family migration which prevents burdens on the taxpayer and promotes integration into our communities. In particular, it strikes a balance between the interests of those wishing to sponsor a partner form overseas and the community in general by ensuring migration to the UK is not based on access to services funded by UK taxpayers.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Frontier Worker Permits have been issued, by nationality.

The Home Office publishes data on Frontier Worker Permits in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’.

Data on applications for Frontier Worker Permits are published in table Vis_D01 of the entry clearance visas applications and outcomes dataset. Data on the number of Frontier Worker Permits issued are included in table Vis_D02. These data may be selected using the ‘Frontier worker’ visa type subgroup.

Data on Frontier Worker Permits issued by nationality can be found in table Vis_D02.

Information on how to use the entry clearance visas applications and outcomes dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data relates to year ending December 2020.

The Home Office does not publish data on Frontier Worker Permits by country of residence, and so data is not available on Frontier Worker Permits issued to persons normally resident in the Republic of Ireland.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Frontier Workers Permits have been issued to persons normally resident in the Republic of Ireland.

The Home Office publishes data on Frontier Worker Permits in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’.

Data on applications for Frontier Worker Permits are published in table Vis_D01 of the entry clearance visas applications and outcomes dataset. Data on the number of Frontier Worker Permits issued are included in table Vis_D02. These data may be selected using the ‘Frontier worker’ visa type subgroup.

Data on Frontier Worker Permits issued by nationality can be found in table Vis_D02.

Information on how to use the entry clearance visas applications and outcomes dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data relates to year ending December 2020.

The Home Office does not publish data on Frontier Worker Permits by country of residence, and so data is not available on Frontier Worker Permits issued to persons normally resident in the Republic of Ireland.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many applications for Frontier Workers Permits her Department has (a) received and (b) issued.

The Home Office publishes data on Frontier Worker Permits in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’.

Data on applications for Frontier Worker Permits are published in table Vis_D01 of the entry clearance visas applications and outcomes dataset. Data on the number of Frontier Worker Permits issued are included in table Vis_D02. These data may be selected using the ‘Frontier worker’ visa type subgroup.

Data on Frontier Worker Permits issued by nationality can be found in table Vis_D02.

Information on how to use the entry clearance visas applications and outcomes dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data relates to year ending December 2020.

The Home Office does not publish data on Frontier Worker Permits by country of residence, and so data is not available on Frontier Worker Permits issued to persons normally resident in the Republic of Ireland.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to extend the powers to use Unexplained Wealth Orders to Northern Ireland.

The Home Office has been working closely with the Department for Justice, Northern Ireland and the Attorney General’s Office to commence the outstanding provisions of the Criminal Finances Act 2017 in Northern Ireland. These provisions include, but are not limited to, unexplained wealth orders.

The first four of the nine statutory instruments required to commence these provisions will be laid in the House on Monday 22nd March.

Should Parliamentary timetables allow, we expect the outstanding provisions in the Criminal Finances Act 2017 to be commenced in Northern Ireland later this year.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the fiscal merits of minimum income requirements for spouse visas with regard to demand for public services and welfare systems.

The minimum income requirement was set, following advice from the independent Migration Advisory Committee, at £18,600 for sponsoring a partner, rising to £22,400 for also sponsoring a non-qualifying child and an additional £2,400 for each further such child. This reflects the level of income at which a British family or a family settled in the UK generally ceases to be able to access income-related benefits.

The income requirement and the qualifying period over which the requirement must be met ensure family migrants are supported at a reasonable level without reliance on public funds.

The number of partner applications granted permission to come to the UK has reduced since the introduction of the minimum income requirement in 2012, from 36,290 in 2011 to 30,669 in 2019/20, which means a reduction in demand for public services and welfare systems and savings for the taxpayer.

We continue to keep the family Immigration Rules under review and make adjustments should they prove to be necessary. Our overall assessment is the Rules, including the minimum income requirement, are having the right impact by helping to ensure public confidence migration to the UK is not based on access to public services paid for by UK taxpayers.

.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will conduct a review of the effect of income requirements for spouse visas, as recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee in its December 2020 Report.

In February 2017 the Supreme Court upheld the lawfulness of the minimum income requirement, which prevents burdens on the taxpayer and promotes integration, ruling it strikes a fair balance between the interests of those wishing to sponsor a partner to settle in the UK and of the community in general.

We continue to keep the family Immigration Rules under review, including taking into account recommendations made by the Migration Advisory Committee, and will make adjustments should these prove necessary. However, our overall assessment is the Rules, including the minimum income requirement, are having the right impact and building public confidence in the immigration system, by ensuring migration to the UK is not based on access to public services and welfare systems paid for by UK taxpayers.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking with stakeholders to approve a tuberculosis testing clinic in Northern Ireland; and what provisions are currently in place for Hong Kong British National (Overseas) visa applicants in Northern Ireland in the context of those people not being able to access approved clinics in Great Britain.

On 31 January 2021 the UK Government launched a new immigration route for British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) status holders, providing the opportunity for them and their eligible family members to live, work and study in the UK.

Having a valid TB test certificate is an essential requirement for the BN(O) route. All those who have been in the UK for less than six months and who have previously travelled from a country with a high incidence of TB will need a certificate confirming they are free of the disease. This is a matter of public health.

There are already eight approved TB test clinics across the UK and we are working hard to get more clinics accredited. In particular, the Home Office is working closely with clinics across Northern Ireland to ensure a clinic can be accredited soon and available for appointments.

TB test clinics are open across the UK. We understand restrictions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic may impact on an applicant’s ability to travel and we would urge applicants to assess the risk and only travel to a TB test appointment where necessary. Where an applicant’s leave is about to expire and they cannot travel to an approved clinic, we will consider these applications on a case-by-case basis.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans the Government has to enable family members of frontier workers who work in Northern Ireland and reside in the border region of Ireland to continue to access (a) education, (b) healthcare and (c) other services in Northern Ireland.

Non-UK residents’ eligibility for education, healthcare and other services in Northern Ireland is a matter for the relevant UK Government Department in relation to reserved matters and the Northern Ireland Executive where responsibility is devolved.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the 2019-20 financial year can be used instead of the 2020-21 financial year to assess the £18,600 income threshold with regard to self-employed British citizens applying for a spouse visa who have experienced financial disruption due to the covid-19 outbreak.

We have made several relevant adjustments to the Minimum Income Requirement to support those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, including self-employed British citizens who are sponsoring their spouse or partner under the family Immigration Rules.

A temporary loss of annual income due to COVID-19 between 1 March 2020 and 31 May 2021 will generally be disregarded when assessing self-employment income, along with the impact on income from the same period for any future applications. Income received via the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will also be taken into account.

These adjustments are among a range of measures put in place by the Home Office to support those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. These are set out for customers on GOV.UK and are available here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what process of clearance each post for her Department's Twitter account goes through; and what the grade is of the officials who provide sign off on each of those posts.

Tweets are drafted by the Communications Team and signed off by a manager at grade 7 or above.

Tweets containing new or updated messaging or content are then cleared by ministerial private offices and/or special advisers prior to publication.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the tweet on foreign national offenders published by her Department on 9 October 2020, what representations she has received on the potential conflation of the UK's asylum system and the deportation of offenders from EU countries (a) in that tweet and (b) in her Department's social media strategy.

The Home Office makes no apology for deporting Foreign National Offenders; it is right that we do so.

This tweet referred to two different groups.

The first group were foreign national offenders who broke our laws and abused our values, who we successfully returned to Lithuania. We are grateful for the ongoing close cooperation of our Lithuanian partners in tackling crime, and for their specific cooperation in this instance which was essential for the removal of the foreign national offenders mentioned in the tweet.

The second group was made up of migrants from outside the European Economic Area who had already claimed asylum in Italy, and who we planned to return under the Dublin Regulation. The Italy leg of the flight did not take place and our efforts to return those who arrived on small boats via illegally-facilitated routes were frustrated by legal claims.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit, whether a relevant person from Northern Ireland who has not been residing in the UK for the six months prior to making an application for that permit intends to return to Northern Ireland with their non-EEA family members is eligible for that permit.

The relevant non-EEA national family members of a relevant person of Northern Ireland can apply for an EU Settlement Scheme Family Permit to accompany that person to, or join them in, the UK, where the relevant person of Northern Ireland holds status under the EU Settlement Scheme or (were they not a British citizen, where they are one) would be granted this status if they applied.

The potential eligibility for status under the scheme of the relevant person of Northern Ireland will require they have the requisite continuity of residence in the UK, which generally means they will not have been absent from the UK for more than six months.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to Answers of 8 September 2020 to Questions 83978, 83979, 83980 and 83981, if she will provide bespoke Answers to each of those Questions rather than copying the text of the grouped Questions as an Answer.

An error occurred when uploading the grouped answer to PQs 83978, 83979, 83980 and 83981; this has now been corrected and the correct text is now showing.

I would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what mechanisms are in place to tackle potential breaches of rights under the Common Travel Area.

The Universal Permission to Travel requirement will require everyone wishing to travel to the UK (except British and Irish citizens) to seek permission in advance of travel. We will introduce Electronic Travel Authorisations (ETAs) for visitors and passengers transiting through the UK who do not currently need a visa for short stays or who do not already have an immigration status prior to travelling, which will act as their permission.

As now, the UK will not operate routine immigration controls on journeys from within the Common Travel Area, with no immigration controls whatsoever on the Republic of Ireland-Northern Ireland land border. However, individuals arriving in the UK must continue to enter in line with the UK’s immigration framework including the Universal Permission to Travel requirement.

The CTA has never required the UK and Ireland to have entirely harmonised immigration arrangements for non-British or non-Irish citizens. Key to this is the high level of cooperation on border security to ensure that legitimate travel is facilitated while those who intend to abuse the arrangements are prevented from entering.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to Command Paper 258 entitled UK points-based immigration system: further details, whether passport checks will take place on on (a) air and (b) sea travel between (i) Northern Ireland to Great Britain and (ii) Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

The Universal Permission to Travel requirement will require everyone wishing to travel to the UK (except British and Irish citizens) to seek permission in advance of travel. We will introduce Electronic Travel Authorisations (ETAs) for visitors and passengers transiting through the UK who do not currently need a visa for short stays or who do not already have an immigration status prior to travelling, which will act as their permission.As now, the UK will not operate routine immigration controls on journeys from within the Common Travel Area, with no immigration controls whatsoever on the Republic of Ireland-Northern Ireland land border. However, individuals arriving in the UK must continue to enter in line with the UK’s immigration framework including the Universal Permission to Travel requirement.The CTA has never required the UK and Ireland to have entirely harmonised immigration arrangements for non-British or non-Irish citizens. Key to this is the high level of cooperation on border security to ensure that legitimate travel is facilitated while those who intend to abuse the arrangements are prevented from entering.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the July 2020 Command Paper entitled UK Points Based System Further Details, CP 258, whether she plans to include in a universal permission to travel requirement (a) EU nationals without settled status and (b) other non-visa nationals wishing to travel from the Republic of Ireland to (i) Northern Ireland and (ii) Great Britain.

The Universal Permission to Travel requirement will require everyone wishing to travel to the UK (except British and Irish citizens) to seek permission in advance of travel. We will introduce Electronic Travel Authorisations (ETAs) for visitors and passengers transiting through the UK who do not currently need a visa for short stays or who do not already have an immigration status prior to travelling, which will act as their permission.

As now, the UK will not operate routine immigration controls on journeys from within the Common Travel Area, with no immigration controls whatsoever on the Republic of Ireland-Northern Ireland land border. However, individuals arriving in the UK must continue to enter in line with the UK’s immigration framework including the Universal Permission to Travel requirement.

The CTA has never required the UK and Ireland to have entirely harmonised immigration arrangements for non-British or non-Irish citizens. Key to this is the high level of cooperation on border security to ensure that legitimate travel is facilitated while those who intend to abuse the arrangements are prevented from entering.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the July 2020 Command Paper entitled UK Points Based System Further Details, CP 258, what assessment she has made of the implications for her proposals on no routine immigration controls on journeys from within the Common Travel area to the UK and no immigration controls on the Northern Ireland - Ireland land border of her policy on a universal permission to travel requiring everyone wishing to travel to the UK excluding British and Irish nationals to seek permission in advance of travel via a UK Electronic Travel Authorisation.

The Universal Permission to Travel requirement will require everyone wishing to travel to the UK (except British and Irish citizens) to seek permission in advance of travel. We will introduce Electronic Travel Authorisations (ETAs) for visitors and passengers transiting through the UK who do not currently need a visa for short stays or who do not already have an immigration status prior to travelling, which will act as their permission.

As now, the UK will not operate routine immigration controls on journeys from within the Common Travel Area, with no immigration controls whatsoever on the Republic of Ireland-Northern Ireland land border. However, individuals arriving in the UK must continue to enter in line with the UK’s immigration framework including the Universal Permission to Travel requirement.

The CTA has never required the UK and Ireland to have entirely harmonised immigration arrangements for non-British or non-Irish citizens. Key to this is the high level of cooperation on border security to ensure that legitimate travel is facilitated while those who intend to abuse the arrangements are prevented from entering.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her Department's policy is on removal visa charges for former Commonwealth UK Armed Forces personnel and their immediate families when applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain.

The Government highly values the service of all members of HM Forces, including Commonwealth nationals.

We are committed to upholding our obligations under the Armed Forces Covenant, to ensure that no one who is serving, or who has served, or their family members are disadvantaged as a result of their service.

The Ministry of Defence make clear to foreign and Commonwealth recruits into the Forces the process by which they and their families can attain settlement in the UK, and the costs involved.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many applications to the EU settlement scheme from people in Northern Ireland have been (a) received, (b) accepted and (c) rejected.

The latest published figures show that the total number of applications received up to 31 January 2020 was more than 3.1 million (3,107,900), of which 50,500 were from Northern Ireland.

Published information on EUSS applications and concluded applications by the applicants location in the United Kingdom (up to 31 December 2019), can be found in the Home Office’s ‘EU Settlement Scheme quarterly statistics’, statistics tables, tables EUSS_01 and EUSS_03_NIR respectively, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/eu-settlement-scheme-quarterly-statistics-december-2019.

As at 31 December 2019 a total of 2.8 million (2,756,130) applications had been received and 2.5 million (2,450,220) applications had been concluded, of which 44,860 were from Northern Ireland.

Of the 44,860 applications from Northern Ireland, 38,630 had been concluded, within which 25,830 (67%) were granted settled status and 12,620 (33%) were granted pre-settled status, 130 were withdrawn or void and 50 found to be invalid.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential effect of the decision not to seek the UK's ongoing participation in the European Arrest Warrant on the ability of the UK and Ireland to tackle cross-border terrorism and organised crime on the island of Ireland.

The Government stands ready to discuss an agreement with the EU on law enforcement and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.

As set out in our approach to negotiations, the agreement should provide for fast-track extradition arrangements with appropriate further safeguards beyond those provided for in the European Arrest Warrant.

Such an agreement should equip operational partners on both sides with the capabilities that help protect citizens and bring criminals to justice, including in relation to North-South security and criminal justice cooperation.

21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to paragraphs 13-15 of Annex A of the document entitled New Decade, New Approach, published in January 2020, whether people in Northern Ireland will be able to permanently access rights to family reunification that are broadly equivalent to those available to Irish citizens in the UK under EEA Regulations.

Article 1 (vi) of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement sets out the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British as they may so choose, and confirms their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship. In line with this commitment, the people of Northern Ireland are legally able to hold British or Irish citizenship, or both.

The reciprocal Common Travel Area arrangements between the UK and Ireland ensure the people of Northern Ireland are not required to choose and assert an identity, or to align their citizenship with their choice of identity, in order to access public services and other entitlements in the UK.

As set out in the New Decade, New Approach document published in January 2020, the Home Office intends to change the UK’s Immigration Rules so family members of the people of Northern Ireland can apply for immigration status on broadly the same terms as family members of Irish citizens and will open this route as soon as delivery allows. We aim to do this before the end of the year.

The Rules change will enable the people of Northern Ireland to bring their family members to the UK on broadly the same basis as family members of Irish citizens who have entry and residence rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

Where family members of Irish citizens are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement (for example, because the Irish citizen moved to the UK after the end of the transition period) they will, as now, be able to apply for immigration status under the UK’s family Immigration Rules. Family members of the people of Northern Ireland in an analogous position will also be subject to those Rules.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to paragraphs 13-15 of Annex A of the document entitled New Decade, New Approach, published in January 2020, what the timeframe is for bringing forward legislative proposals on family migration arrangements for people in Northern Ireland.

Article 1 (vi) of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement sets out the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British as they may so choose, and confirms their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship. In line with this commitment, the people of Northern Ireland are legally able to hold British or Irish citizenship, or both.

The reciprocal Common Travel Area arrangements between the UK and Ireland ensure the people of Northern Ireland are not required to choose and assert an identity, or to align their citizenship with their choice of identity, in order to access public services and other entitlements in the UK.

As set out in the New Decade, New Approach document published in January 2020, the Home Office intends to change the UK’s Immigration Rules so family members of the people of Northern Ireland can apply for immigration status on broadly the same terms as family members of Irish citizens and will open this route as soon as delivery allows. We aim to do this before the end of the year.

The Rules change will enable the people of Northern Ireland to bring their family members to the UK on broadly the same basis as family members of Irish citizens who have entry and residence rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

Where family members of Irish citizens are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement (for example, because the Irish citizen moved to the UK after the end of the transition period) they will, as now, be able to apply for immigration status under the UK’s family Immigration Rules. Family members of the people of Northern Ireland in an analogous position will also be subject to those Rules.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the effect of Article 1 (vi) of the Good Friday Agreement on (a) the legal status of people in Northern Ireland who identify as (i) Irish, (ii) British and (iii) both and (b) their related entitlement to be recognised as such.

Article 1 (vi) of the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement sets out the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British as they may so choose, and confirms their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship. In line with this commitment, the people of Northern Ireland are legally able to hold British or Irish citizenship, or both.

The reciprocal Common Travel Area arrangements between the UK and Ireland ensure the people of Northern Ireland are not required to choose and assert an identity, or to align their citizenship with their choice of identity, in order to access public services and other entitlements in the UK.

As set out in the New Decade, New Approach document published in January 2020, the Home Office intends to change the UK’s Immigration Rules so family members of the people of Northern Ireland can apply for immigration status on broadly the same terms as family members of Irish citizens and will open this route as soon as delivery allows. We aim to do this before the end of the year.

The Rules change will enable the people of Northern Ireland to bring their family members to the UK on broadly the same basis as family members of Irish citizens who have entry and residence rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

Where family members of Irish citizens are not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement (for example, because the Irish citizen moved to the UK after the end of the transition period) they will, as now, be able to apply for immigration status under the UK’s family Immigration Rules. Family members of the people of Northern Ireland in an analogous position will also be subject to those Rules.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how Irish citizens born in Northern Ireland can access their EU entitlement to family reunification.

The Government is firmly committed to upholding the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, which recognises the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and to be accepted as Irish, British, or both, as they may so choose, and also confirms their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship.

The Home Office and the Northern Ireland Office have reviewed the consistency of the UK’s family migration arrangements, taking into account the letter and spirit of the Belfast Agreement and recognising that the policy should not create incentives for renunciation of British citizenship by those citizens who may wish to retain it.

As a result of this review, the Government will change the rules governing how the people of Northern Ireland bring their family members to the UK. This change will mean that eligible family members of the people of Northern Ireland will be able to apply for UK immigration status on broadly the same terms as the family members of Irish citizens in the UK.

This immigration status will be available to the family members of all the people of Northern Ireland, no matter whether they hold British or Irish citizenship or both, and no matter how they identify.

Under UK nationality law, most people of Northern Ireland are automatically British from birth. This is consistent with the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, as confirmed by the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) in its decision of 14 October 2019 in the case of Jake De Souza. As such, there are no plans to amend the British Nationality Act 1981 in this respect.

Until the family migration rules change is implemented, Irish citizens from Northern Ireland who do not hold a British passport or identify as British can sponsor family members under the UK’s domestic route, set out in Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules. These apply to family members of a person who is a British citizen (including where they are a dual British/EU citizen), or is settled in the UK, or is in the UK with limited leave as a refugee or person granted humanitarian protection. Irish citizens are considered to be settled from the day they arrive in the UK which means their family members can use this route.

As Appendix FM applies equally to family members of British citizens, Irish citizens, and dual British/Irish citizens, family members of the people of Northern Ireland can use this route regardless of the person of Northern Ireland’s legal citizenship or choice of identity. This means that a person of Northern Ireland who identifies solely as Irish does not need to provide evidence of British citizenship or to identify as British to facilitate their family member’s application: they need only provide evidence of Irish citizenship.

Where Irish citizens born in Northern Ireland have EU law rights to family reunification, their family member can apply for a document confirming those rights, which are implemented in UK law through the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016. In addition, the EU Settlement Scheme has been established for resident EEA nationals and their family members to implement the UK’s commitments under the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how an Irish citizen from Northern Ierland who does not hold a British passport or identify as British can sponsor a family member to reside in the UK.

The Government is firmly committed to upholding the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, which recognises the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and to be accepted as Irish, British, or both, as they may so choose, and also confirms their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship.

The Home Office and the Northern Ireland Office have reviewed the consistency of the UK’s family migration arrangements, taking into account the letter and spirit of the Belfast Agreement and recognising that the policy should not create incentives for renunciation of British citizenship by those citizens who may wish to retain it.

As a result of this review, the Government will change the rules governing how the people of Northern Ireland bring their family members to the UK. This change will mean that eligible family members of the people of Northern Ireland will be able to apply for UK immigration status on broadly the same terms as the family members of Irish citizens in the UK.

This immigration status will be available to the family members of all the people of Northern Ireland, no matter whether they hold British or Irish citizenship or both, and no matter how they identify.

Under UK nationality law, most people of Northern Ireland are automatically British from birth. This is consistent with the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, as confirmed by the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) in its decision of 14 October 2019 in the case of Jake De Souza. As such, there are no plans to amend the British Nationality Act 1981 in this respect.

Until the family migration rules change is implemented, Irish citizens from Northern Ireland who do not hold a British passport or identify as British can sponsor family members under the UK’s domestic route, set out in Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules. These apply to family members of a person who is a British citizen (including where they are a dual British/EU citizen), or is settled in the UK, or is in the UK with limited leave as a refugee or person granted humanitarian protection. Irish citizens are considered to be settled from the day they arrive in the UK which means their family members can use this route.

As Appendix FM applies equally to family members of British citizens, Irish citizens, and dual British/Irish citizens, family members of the people of Northern Ireland can use this route regardless of the person of Northern Ireland’s legal citizenship or choice of identity. This means that a person of Northern Ireland who identifies solely as Irish does not need to provide evidence of British citizenship or to identify as British to facilitate their family member’s application: they need only provide evidence of Irish citizenship.

Where Irish citizens born in Northern Ireland have EU law rights to family reunification, their family member can apply for a document confirming those rights, which are implemented in UK law through the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016. In addition, the EU Settlement Scheme has been established for resident EEA nationals and their family members to implement the UK’s commitments under the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to bring forward proposals to amend the British Nationality Act 1981 to reflect the status of people from Northern Ireland who want to solely identify as Irish and to retain Irish citizenship.

The Government is firmly committed to upholding the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, which recognises the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and to be accepted as Irish, British, or both, as they may so choose, and also confirms their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship.

The Home Office and the Northern Ireland Office have reviewed the consistency of the UK’s family migration arrangements, taking into account the letter and spirit of the Belfast Agreement and recognising that the policy should not create incentives for renunciation of British citizenship by those citizens who may wish to retain it.

As a result of this review, the Government will change the rules governing how the people of Northern Ireland bring their family members to the UK. This change will mean that eligible family members of the people of Northern Ireland will be able to apply for UK immigration status on broadly the same terms as the family members of Irish citizens in the UK.

This immigration status will be available to the family members of all the people of Northern Ireland, no matter whether they hold British or Irish citizenship or both, and no matter how they identify.

Under UK nationality law, most people of Northern Ireland are automatically British from birth. This is consistent with the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, as confirmed by the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) in its decision of 14 October 2019 in the case of Jake De Souza. As such, there are no plans to amend the British Nationality Act 1981 in this respect.

Until the family migration rules change is implemented, Irish citizens from Northern Ireland who do not hold a British passport or identify as British can sponsor family members under the UK’s domestic route, set out in Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules. These apply to family members of a person who is a British citizen (including where they are a dual British/EU citizen), or is settled in the UK, or is in the UK with limited leave as a refugee or person granted humanitarian protection. Irish citizens are considered to be settled from the day they arrive in the UK which means their family members can use this route.

As Appendix FM applies equally to family members of British citizens, Irish citizens, and dual British/Irish citizens, family members of the people of Northern Ireland can use this route regardless of the person of Northern Ireland’s legal citizenship or choice of identity. This means that a person of Northern Ireland who identifies solely as Irish does not need to provide evidence of British citizenship or to identify as British to facilitate their family member’s application: they need only provide evidence of Irish citizenship.

Where Irish citizens born in Northern Ireland have EU law rights to family reunification, their family member can apply for a document confirming those rights, which are implemented in UK law through the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016. In addition, the EU Settlement Scheme has been established for resident EEA nationals and their family members to implement the UK’s commitments under the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the review announced by former Prime Minister the Rt Hon. Theresa May in Belfast on 5 February 2019, what the terms of reference are of that review; and how many meetings have been held in relation to that review.

The Government is firmly committed to upholding the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, which recognises the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and to be accepted as Irish, British, or both, as they may so choose, and also confirms their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship.

The Home Office and the Northern Ireland Office have reviewed the consistency of the UK’s family migration arrangements, taking into account the letter and spirit of the Belfast Agreement and recognising that the policy should not create incentives for renunciation of British citizenship by those citizens who may wish to retain it.

As a result of this review, the Government will change the rules governing how the people of Northern Ireland bring their family members to the UK. This change will mean that eligible family members of the people of Northern Ireland will be able to apply for UK immigration status on broadly the same terms as the family members of Irish citizens in the UK.

This immigration status will be available to the family members of all the people of Northern Ireland, no matter whether they hold British or Irish citizenship or both, and no matter how they identify.

Under UK nationality law, most people of Northern Ireland are automatically British from birth. This is consistent with the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, as confirmed by the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) in its decision of 14 October 2019 in the case of Jake De Souza. As such, there are no plans to amend the British Nationality Act 1981 in this respect.

Until the family migration rules change is implemented, Irish citizens from Northern Ireland who do not hold a British passport or identify as British can sponsor family members under the UK’s domestic route, set out in Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules. These apply to family members of a person who is a British citizen (including where they are a dual British/EU citizen), or is settled in the UK, or is in the UK with limited leave as a refugee or person granted humanitarian protection. Irish citizens are considered to be settled from the day they arrive in the UK which means their family members can use this route.

As Appendix FM applies equally to family members of British citizens, Irish citizens, and dual British/Irish citizens, family members of the people of Northern Ireland can use this route regardless of the person of Northern Ireland’s legal citizenship or choice of identity. This means that a person of Northern Ireland who identifies solely as Irish does not need to provide evidence of British citizenship or to identify as British to facilitate their family member’s application: they need only provide evidence of Irish citizenship.

Where Irish citizens born in Northern Ireland have EU law rights to family reunification, their family member can apply for a document confirming those rights, which are implemented in UK law through the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016. In addition, the EU Settlement Scheme has been established for resident EEA nationals and their family members to implement the UK’s commitments under the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
6th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the speech of former Prime Minister the Rt Hon. Theresa May, of 5 February 2019, in Belfast, what progress her Department has made in conjunction with the Northern Ireland Office on reviewing how UK immigration rules treat residents in Northern Ireland exercising their rights under the Good Friday Agreement to be Irish.

The Government is firmly committed to upholding the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, which recognises the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and to be accepted as Irish, British, or both, as they may so choose, and also confirms their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship.

The Home Office and the Northern Ireland Office have reviewed the consistency of the UK’s family migration arrangements, taking into account the letter and spirit of the Belfast Agreement and recognising that the policy should not create incentives for renunciation of British citizenship by those citizens who may wish to retain it.

As a result of this review, the Government will change the rules governing how the people of Northern Ireland bring their family members to the UK. This change will mean that eligible family members of the people of Northern Ireland will be able to apply for UK immigration status on broadly the same terms as the family members of Irish citizens in the UK.

This immigration status will be available to the family members of all the people of Northern Ireland, no matter whether they hold British or Irish citizenship or both, and no matter how they identify.

Under UK nationality law, most people of Northern Ireland are automatically British from birth. This is consistent with the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, as confirmed by the Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) in its decision of 14 October 2019 in the case of Jake De Souza. As such, there are no plans to amend the British Nationality Act 1981 in this respect.

Until the family migration rules change is implemented, Irish citizens from Northern Ireland who do not hold a British passport or identify as British can sponsor family members under the UK’s domestic route, set out in Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules. These apply to family members of a person who is a British citizen (including where they are a dual British/EU citizen), or is settled in the UK, or is in the UK with limited leave as a refugee or person granted humanitarian protection. Irish citizens are considered to be settled from the day they arrive in the UK which means their family members can use this route.

As Appendix FM applies equally to family members of British citizens, Irish citizens, and dual British/Irish citizens, family members of the people of Northern Ireland can use this route regardless of the person of Northern Ireland’s legal citizenship or choice of identity. This means that a person of Northern Ireland who identifies solely as Irish does not need to provide evidence of British citizenship or to identify as British to facilitate their family member’s application: they need only provide evidence of Irish citizenship.

Where Irish citizens born in Northern Ireland have EU law rights to family reunification, their family member can apply for a document confirming those rights, which are implemented in UK law through the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2016. In addition, the EU Settlement Scheme has been established for resident EEA nationals and their family members to implement the UK’s commitments under the EU Withdrawal Agreement.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
22nd Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, for what reason the online application form linked from the Gov.uk webpage entitled Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy: further information on eligibility criteria, offer details and how to apply, can no longer be accessed; and what steps his Department has taken to ensure its immediate reinstatement.

On 22 November 2021, we became aware of a technical issue affecting the ARAP online application form, and the Contact Us form. Resources were quickly re-directed in order to fix this and ensure immediate reinstatement of both forms. I can confirm that the Contact Us form was restored on 23 November, and the Application form was restored on 24 November. The forms can be found at the below link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghan-relocations-and-assistance-policy/afghan-relocations-and-assistance-policy-information-and-guidance

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what discussions he has had with relevant stakeholders on the disposal of the Kinnegar Logistics Base in Holywood, County Down, in the last 18 months.

Ministry of Defence officials have continued to discuss the future plans and disposal options for Kinnegar Logistics Base with Ards and North Down Borough council, their planning team and their regeneration team on a regular basis over the last 18 months. The last meeting was on 30 September 2021.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
13th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Ballymurphy Inquest.

The Coroner's findings were comprehensive and detailed, running to over 700 pages. We are now taking the time to review the report and carefully consider the conclusions drawn. The Prime Minister has made it clear that the terrible events of Ballymurphy should never have happened and has apologised unreservedly for this.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether the UK's departure from the EU has created obstacles to moving military equipment between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

The Protocol is clear that it respects the essential state functions and territorial integrity of the UK. It therefore places no restrictions on military movements between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress he has made on plans for the disposal of Kinnegar Logistics Base in Holywood, County Down.

Kinnegar Logistics Base was announced for disposal through 'A Better Defence Estate' in November 2016 with an intended disposal date of 2022. The capabilities in Kinnegar Logistic Base will be re-provided for in Palace Barracks and Flying Station Aldergrove.

Detailed re-location assessment work will now take place over the next 12 to 18 months during which the Department will ensure appropriate levels of engagement will take place with the relevant local authorities.

The disposal will be handled in accordance with the Department's standard disposal process as mandated by the Treasury.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
23rd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many investigations of veterans in relation to the conflict in Northern Ireland have been found to be vexatious.

Questions about the administration of justice in Northern Ireland are for the relevant authorities. The Ministry of Defence remains committed to offering comprehensive legal and pastoral support for all veterans facing investigations as a result of their service on Operation Banner.

24th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether an EU citizen fleeing domestic abuse who misses the EU Settlement Scheme 30 June 2021 deadline and subsequently makes a late application will be eligible for (a) local authority homelessness assistance and (b) a place in a women’s refuge, while she waits for a decision on her EUSS application.

Guidance on eligibility for homelessness assistance in England can be found in chapter 7 of the statutory Homelessness Code of Guidance. This is available at www.gov.uk/guidance/homelessness-code-of-guidance-for-local-authorities

Individual refuges will make their own decision on whether to accept an EEA citizen who has missed the deadline for the EUSS

The Government has been clear we will take a flexible and pragmatic approach where a person has reasonable grounds for missing the 30 June 2021 deadline for making an application to the EUSS. The Home Office is putting in place measures to expedite the processing of late applications from vulnerable people, (including victims of domestic abuse) using existing processes with charities, their network of grant funded organisations, local authorities and others to identify and expedite such cases.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the Answer of 30 March 2021 to Question 174332 on UK Shared Prosperity Fund: Northern Ireland, if he will publish a list of the community and voluntary groups that the Department has engaged with on the design of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will help to level up and create opportunity across the UK in places most in need, such as ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural and coastal communities, and for people who face labour market barriers. 

Officials have held 25 engagement events across the UK, attended by over five hundred representatives from a breadth of sectors including businesses, public bodies, higher education institutions, voluntary and charity sector and rural partnership groups including many in Northern Ireland. Government officials have been working closely with interested parties and will continue to do so as we develop the fund.

12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether organisations based in the Republic of Ireland will be permitted to partner with organisations in (a) Northern Ireland and (b) elsewhere in the UK to access funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will help to level up and create opportunity across the UK in places most in need, such as ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural and coastal communities, and for people who face labour market barriers. We will publish further details on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund in a UK-wide Investment Framework later in 2021.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he plans to take to ensure that the branding of UK Shared Prosperity Fund expenditure in Northern Ireland is sensitive to the particular circumstances of the region.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will help to level up and create opportunity across the UK for places most in need, such as ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural and coastal communities, and for people who face labour market barriers. The UK Government has a responsibility to support the economic health of people, businesses and communities across the whole of our United Kingdom. The UK Government is committed to ensuring the fund is delivered in a way that works for the whole of the UK.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent assessment his Department has made of the importance of the interface between the delivery of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and the EU's INTERREG and PEACE programme funding in Northern Ireland.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will help to level up and create opportunity across the UK for places most in need, such as ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural and coastal communities, and for people who face labour market barriers. The UK Government intends to work with the devolved administrations and other stakeholders to ensure that the UK Shared Prosperity Fund is used to its best effect, including ensuring it works effectively alongside other funding streams, and supports citizens across the UK. Devolved administrations will be represented on the governance structures for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effect of not having participated in the Community Renewal Fund on the extent to which Northern Ireland may benefit from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The UK Community Renewal Fund is a UK-wide fund which aims to support people and communities most in need across the UK to pilot programmes and new approaches and will invest in skills, community and place, local business, and supporting people into employment. The UK Government is taking a different approach to delivering the UK Community Renewal Fund in Northern Ireland compared to Great Britain, to take account of the different local government landscape in Northern Ireland. Project applicants in Northern Ireland will submit bids directly to the UK Government for assessment and approval. The UK Community Renewal Fund will help inform the design of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund through funding of one year pilots, but the Funds are distinct in regard to design, eligibility and duration.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what mapping exercise his Department has undertaken to understand (a) the existing pattern and (b) types of schemes and programmes that have been supported by EU Structural Funds.

The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government maintains a list of those benefiting from the Fund at www.gov.uk/government/publications/european-structural-and-investment-funds-useful-resources . This list includes information on the beneficiary, the type of investment and where the beneficiary is located.

23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what discussions he has had with community and voluntary groups in Northern Ireland on the design of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund will help to level up and create opportunity across the UK in places most in need, such as ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural and coastal communities, and for people who face labour market barriers. Officials have held 25 engagement events across the UK, attended by over five hundred representatives from a breadth of sectors including businesses, public bodies, higher education institutions, voluntary and charity sector and rural partnership groups including many in Northern Ireland.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for what reasons Northern Ireland is not included in the top 100 priority places identified for the UK Community Renewal Fund.

The UK Government will run a national competition against a fixed national allocation in Northern Ireland, equating to £11 million of funding. Project applicants in Northern Ireland will submit bids directly to the UK Government for assessment and approval. We are taking a different approach to delivering the UK Community Renewal Fund in Northern Ireland, to take account of the different local government landscape in Northern Ireland compared to Great Britain. Treating Northern Ireland as one eligible geographical area will also ensure that all communities across Northern Ireland have equal access in being able to apply for these funds.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to ensure that a proportion of the Shared Prosperity Fund will be ringfenced for spending in each of the devolved regions; and whether such sums will reflect historic allocations of Structural Funds based on relative need rather than the Barnett Formula.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) will help to level up and create opportunity across the UK in places most in need, such as ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural and coastal communities, and for people who face labour market barriers.

The November 2020 Spending Review set out the main strategic elements of the UKSPF in the Heads of Terms.  The Government will publish a UK-wide investment framework in 2021 and confirm multiyear funding profiles at the next Spending Review.

7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how the Shared Prosperity Fund will be allocated across the UK.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) will help to level up and create opportunity across the UK in places most in need, such as ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural and coastal communities, and for people who face labour market barriers.

Funding for the UKSPF will ramp up so that total domestic UK-wide funding will?at least match receipts from EU structural funds, on average reaching around £1.5 billion per?year. The Government will publish a UK-wide investment framework in 2021 and will confirm its funding profiles at the next Spending Review.

To help local areas prepare over 2021-22 for the introduction of the UKSPF, the Government will provide?£220 million?additional funding to support our communities to pilot programmes and new approaches. This funding will be delivered UK-wide. Further details will be published in the new year.

7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the devolved Administrations will receive at least the same amount of funding under the Shared Prosperity Fund as they received under the EU Structural Fund.

I refer the hon Member to the answer I gave to PQ UIN 126180 on 15 December 2020.

8th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to (a) replace and (b) administer a replacement to the European Social Fund; and what his policy is on the future of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

The Government understands the importance of local growth funding to places and people and is committed to creating the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to succeed European structural funds, providing vital investment in local economies, cutting out bureaucracy and levelling up those parts of the UK whose economies are furthest behind.

Furthermore, the 2019 Conservative Manifesto committed to targeting the UK Shared Prosperity Fund at the UK’s specific needs, at a minimum matching the size of European structural funds in each nation and ensuring that £500 million of the Fund is used to give disadvantaged people the skills they need to make a success of life.

The Government has engaged with key stakeholders on the design and priorities of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, including holding a series of engagement events across the UK. As we approach the transition from European Social Fund to the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, we will continue to engage with partners in order to aid policy development.

Final decisions on the design of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will need to be made through a cross-Government Spending Review, and we will set out further plans for the fund in due course.

9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the timetable is for the consultation with key stakeholders on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund; when he plans to publish further details on the fund; and when the fund will be ready to accept applications.

The Government will set out further plans for the Fund in due course, including at the CSR. The Spending review will create a multi-year, UK-wide Shared Prosperity Fund which will support local economic recovery by driving economic growth and tackling deprivation.

Government?officials have held engagement events with external stakeholders from a variety?of?sectors across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to discuss lessons learnt from past funding?programmes?and potential investment priorities for the?UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Government?officials have also held talks with their counterparts in the devolved administrations to ensure the fund works for places across the UK.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
11th May 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, whether candidates in future local government elections in Northern Ireland have to have their home addresses published.

Candidates in future local government elections in Northern Ireland will not be required to have their home addresses published.

The Local Elections (Northern Ireland) Amendment Order 2020 amended the law in June of that year. Now, candidates for local elections in Northern Ireland who do not want their home address to be made public can instead request the publication of the local government area they reside in.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of offering in-country applications in Northern Ireland for the Homes for Ukraine scheme to Ukrainian nationals entering Northern Ireland via the Republic of Ireland.

The situation in Ukraine is a humanitarian crisis and the Government is taking steps to support Ukrainians seeking safe passage and sanctuary in the UK, including through the Homes for Ukraine scheme. Those arriving under this scheme will be granted three years leave to remain, and the Government is using a variety of channels and working with stakeholders to communicate the steps that Ukrainians wishing to participate in the scheme would need to take.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
14th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what plans he has to make a direction on commissioning of abortion services in Northern Ireland prior to the dissolution of the Northern Ireland Assembly on 24 March 2022.

The delay in the implementation of abortion services in Northern Ireland is entirely unacceptable. Parliament has decided that women should have access to these services and this decision must be respected.

I am therefore considering all options available to the Government in order to resolve this situation and ensure the women and girls in Northern Ireland can access basic healthcare services, as is their right.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps he plans to take to help ensure that the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is able to operate in full compliance with United Nations General Assembly Resolution 48/134, known as the Paris Principles.

We are aware of the recent recommendations made by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions regarding the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and are working with the Commission to review the issues raised.

We provide funding to the Commission both for their work in the protection of rights set out in the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, but also for their participation in the Dedicated Mechanism. We are absolutely committed to ensuring the Commission has the ability and resources to carry out its core functions, and we are in regular communication with the Chief Commissioner, Commissioners and staff regarding the important work that the Commission carries out.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the outcome of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions' five-year periodic review of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

We are aware of the recent recommendations made by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions regarding the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and are working with the Commission to review the issues raised.

We provide funding to the Commission both for their work in the protection of rights set out in the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, but also for their participation in the Dedicated Mechanism. We are absolutely committed to ensuring the Commission has the ability and resources to carry out its core functions, and we are in regular communication with the Chief Commissioner, Commissioners and staff regarding the important work that the Commission carries out.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, with reference the Written Statement of 22 July 2021, HCWS238, what progress has been made on the commissioning of abortion services in Northern Ireland.

The delay in the implementation of abortion services is entirely unacceptable. Parliament has decided that women should have access to these services and this decision must be respected


I recently requested a timetable for the Health Minister’s bringing of proposals before the Executive Committee to commission abortion services. The direction I issued in July states that abortion services must be commissioned and delivered by March 2022, and this request is part of continued monitoring to ensure that services are delivered in line with that direction.


I am keen to work with the Health Minister to ensure that the rights of women and girls are protected in Northern Ireland. However, if it becomes clear at any stage before the March 2022 deadline that the Department of Health, or indeed the Executive, are not making sufficient progress, or are intent on blocking this issue, then I will have no alternative but to take further steps to ensure that women and girls have access to abortion services as decided by Parliament, and to which they have a right.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment his Department has made of the adequacy of British Pregnancy Advisory Service provision in meeting the requirement for the funding of a Central Access Service in the direction given on 22 July 2021.

I am extremely grateful to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service for stepping in at a crucial moment to provide women and girls with a temporary interim service. However, I am disappointed it had to get to that stage.

I will continue to monitor the new services provided by BPAS and I am determined that women and girls receive at least the same level of service as under the previous provider while this interim service is in place. I recognise that this is not a permanent solution, and that more needs to be done. It is for this reason that in July, I issued a Direction to the Department of Health and First and deputy First Minister to commission and make abortion services available by no later than 31 March 2022.

The Government recognises the importance of consulting with experts, counselling and other support services to support women and girls in accessing services and making individual decisions on these matters. I would like to put on record my thanks to Informing Choices NI for providing a central access point from April 2020 to September 2021, until they were forced to withdraw some services as a direct result of inaction from the Department of Health.

The Northern Ireland Office will continue to work closely with the Department of Health in taking forward implementation of this important devolved issue.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if he will publish the biographies and any declared interests of the members of the Castlereagh Foundation Advisory Panel.

The members of the Castlereagh Foundation Advisory Committee are:

Arlene Foster (Chair),

Simon Routh Jones CBE QFSM,

Julie Andrews,

Frederick Lauritzen,

Mary Madden CBE and,

Professor Peter Shirlow.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland announced the appointments to the Advisory Committee on 23 July 2021. These are non-statutory appointments for which no remuneration is payable.

The Advisory Committee will provide an independent advisory function to the Secretary of State and will report directly to him within a period of six months. The Government has full confidence that this committee will be fair and balanced in the analysis and advice they provide to the establishment of the Castlereagh Foundation.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, for what reason his Department did not publish a press release on the appointment of the members of the Castlereagh Foundation Advisory Panel.

The members of the Castlereagh Foundation Advisory Committee are:

Arlene Foster (Chair),

Simon Routh Jones CBE QFSM,

Julie Andrews,

Frederick Lauritzen,

Mary Madden CBE and,

Professor Peter Shirlow.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland announced the appointments to the Advisory Committee on 23 July 2021. These are non-statutory appointments for which no remuneration is payable.

The Advisory Committee will provide an independent advisory function to the Secretary of State and will report directly to him within a period of six months. The Government has full confidence that this committee will be fair and balanced in the analysis and advice they provide to the establishment of the Castlereagh Foundation.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if he will publish the members of the Castlereagh Foundation Advisory Panel.

The members of the Castlereagh Foundation Advisory Committee are:

Arlene Foster (Chair),

Simon Routh Jones CBE QFSM,

Julie Andrews,

Frederick Lauritzen,

Mary Madden CBE and,

Professor Peter Shirlow.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland announced the appointments to the Advisory Committee on 23 July 2021. These are non-statutory appointments for which no remuneration is payable.

The Advisory Committee will provide an independent advisory function to the Secretary of State and will report directly to him within a period of six months. The Government has full confidence that this committee will be fair and balanced in the analysis and advice they provide to the establishment of the Castlereagh Foundation.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, when he plans to announce allocations under the Community Renewal Fund for projects in Northern Ireland.

There has been significant interest in the Community Renewal Fund in Northern Ireland, with bids submitted by a wide range of applicants across all of the Fund’s investment strands. Applications have been assessed for strategic fit, deliverability and value for money. Successful projects will be announced in due course by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The UK Government has an ambitious plan to level up across the UK and the £220m Community Renewal Fund will help achieve this in Northern Ireland. By focusing on investment in skills, employment, net zero initiatives, local business and community and place, we will be making positive changes to communities right across the United Kingdom. The UK Government will ensure this investment makes a significant impact across Northern Ireland.

Conor Burns
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, with reference to the refresh of the electoral register from 1 July 2021, what contingencies are in place to facilitate any elections that may occur over the next few months.

The conduct of both elections and canvass are operational matters for the Chief Electoral Officer who has confirmed to the Secretary State for Northern Ireland that if required her office could conduct an election during the canvass period.

The Chief Electoral Officer is under a statutory duty to hold canvass this year following a one year postponement due to the pandemic.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of anti-abortion protests outside clinics in Northern Ireland on the accessibility of abortion services to women requiring abortion care.

We recognise that there are strongly held views on abortion, and that everyone has the right to express their views, including the right to peaceful protest. Equally, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is under a clear legal duty under section 9 of the NIEF Act to ensure that the recommendations in paragraphs 85 and 86 of the CEDAW report are implemented in respect of Northern Ireland. That includes Recommendation 86(g) - ‘Protect women from harassment by anti-abortion protesters by investigating complaints and prosecuting and punishing perpetrators’.

We previously committed to keeping the matter of exclusion zones under review for 12 months following the making of the 2020 abortion regulations, and we will continue to keep the matter under close review as and when abortion services are commissioned.

There are a range of existing public order offences in Northern Ireland that can likely be relied on, depending on the individual circumstances of the incident.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all children and young people in Northern Ireland are taught about all pregnancy options, including abortion as part of comprehensive relationships and sex education.

We recognise that sexual and reproductive health education is an important component in ensuring women and girls are well informed of the choices available to them.

Following the restoration of devolution, the Minister for Education agreed to continue funding the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) for the 2020/21 FY and now from 2021/22, and further funding was made available to develop a Relationship and Sexual Education hub. This further funding will continue to develop resources but also provide Teacher Professional Learning. My officials continue to work with the Department for Education to ensure appropriate implementation of recommendation 86(d) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW report) in Northern Ireland.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if he will place the minutes of the New Decade New Approach Joint Board in the Library.

The New Decade, New Approach Joint Board provides the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the First Minister and deputy First Minister, and other Ministers as appropriate, the opportunity to review the use of funding provided under the NDNA agreement. This is to:

  • Support the Northern Ireland Executive in ensuring sound and stable governance that delivers for the people of Northern Ireland;
  • Review funding provided by the UK Government to meet commitments set out in the NDNA agreement;
  • Support transformation in health, education and justice through the NDNA funding package; and,
  • Consider the effectiveness of infrastructure delivery, drawing on expertise from the Infrastructure and Projects Authority as appropriate.

The Terms of reference for the Joint Board are consistent with the New Decade, New Approach commitment that the Board has oversight for transformation in health, education and justice, where these draw on funding provided under the Agreement.

Whilst the Joint Board reviews the use of NDNA funding and related issues, it is not a decision-making body. As such, there are no criteria or procedures by which it reaches decisions.

The decision to release funding under the NDNA is a matter for the UK Government. The conditions of the UK Government’s financial commitments under NDNA are set out in page 54 of the agreement document.

Minutes of the meetings are not published.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if he will publish the (a) criteria and (b) procedures applied by the New Decade New Approach Joint Board in relation to decisions to release funding under the NDNA agreement.

The New Decade, New Approach Joint Board provides the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the First Minister and deputy First Minister, and other Ministers as appropriate, the opportunity to review the use of funding provided under the NDNA agreement. This is to:

  • Support the Northern Ireland Executive in ensuring sound and stable governance that delivers for the people of Northern Ireland;
  • Review funding provided by the UK Government to meet commitments set out in the NDNA agreement;
  • Support transformation in health, education and justice through the NDNA funding package; and,
  • Consider the effectiveness of infrastructure delivery, drawing on expertise from the Infrastructure and Projects Authority as appropriate.

The Terms of reference for the Joint Board are consistent with the New Decade, New Approach commitment that the Board has oversight for transformation in health, education and justice, where these draw on funding provided under the Agreement.

Whilst the Joint Board reviews the use of NDNA funding and related issues, it is not a decision-making body. As such, there are no criteria or procedures by which it reaches decisions.

The decision to release funding under the NDNA is a matter for the UK Government. The conditions of the UK Government’s financial commitments under NDNA are set out in page 54 of the agreement document.

Minutes of the meetings are not published.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, with reference to the undertaking in paragraph 24 of Annex A to the New Decade New Approach document of 9 January 2020 that the UK will recognise Ulster Scots as a national minority under the Framework Convention for National Minorities, if he will confirm that it remains Government policy to continue to recognise Ulster Scots speakers as a linguistic minority.

The Government is continuing work to deliver on its commitment in New Decade, New Approach to recognise Ulster Scots as a national minority under the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

The Northern Ireland Executive is primarily responsible for supporting and promoting language and culture, including Ulster Scots. To this end, the New Decade, New Approach agreement also contains important commitments from the Executive to progress. The Government welcomes the recent establishment by the Executive of the new Translation Hub in this regard.

We are continuing to work with the Executive to ensure the full delivery of the important New Decade, New Approach language, identity and culture commitments at the earliest possible opportunity.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what allocations have been made from New Deal for Northern Ireland funding to date.

The Government is firmly committed to strengthening the Union, Northern Ireland’s place within it and driving forward economic growth and prosperity into the future.

The £400m New Deal package of funding announced in December 2020, will boost economic growth as well as increasing Northern Ireland’s competitiveness and investment in infrastructure. This builds on the commitment articulated in the Government’s 10 May 2020 Command Paper, The UK’s approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The New Deal funding is additional to Northern Ireland’s Barnett share, demonstrating the Government’s firm commitment to Northern Ireland’s economy, and recognising the unique position of Northern Ireland following the UK’s exit from the European Union and the implementation of the Protocol on the ground in Northern Ireland.

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland announced on 8 March 2020 that nearly half of the £400m New Deal funding had now been allocated. This includes £23m having been made available to the Northern Ireland Department for the Economy to invest £15m over three years in skills, and £8m over two years to promote trade and investment in Northern Ireland from overseas markets.

The other allocations made so far will develop systems that will support the movement of agrifood products between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, to be delivered by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; and to build resilience in medicine supply chains, with the Department of Health and Social Care in the lead to deliver on this priority work.

We will continue to work closely with the Northern Ireland Executive to maximise opportunities this funding offers and further decisions will be made in due course on how the remainder of this fund will be allocated.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, for what reason his Department has not engaged with Border Communities against Brexit.

Both the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and I have had and will continue to have regular engagement with a range of individuals, businesses and groups in civic society across Northern Ireland, including those in border regions, to discuss the impact and opportunities of the UK’s exit from the European Union. We have engaged recently with a number of civic society representatives, which includes representatives from rural and border community organisations, to discuss their views and concerns around the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if he will publish a list of the participants from the so-called Loyalist Community Council who met with officials of his Department in a recent Zoom meeting.

The names of the participants that attended this meeting from the Loyalist Communities Council is in the public domain.

The Northern Ireland Office will continue to engage widely to ensure that the UK Government is able to meet its objectives in Northern Ireland.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what protocols his Department has on holding meetings with people reported to be associated with proscribed organisations.

The names of the participants that attended this meeting from the Loyalist Communities Council is in the public domain.

The Northern Ireland Office will continue to engage widely to ensure that the UK Government is able to meet its objectives in Northern Ireland.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what plans the Government has to bring forward legislative proposals on its commitments arising from the New Decade, New Approach deal.

Since the New Decade, New Approach (NDNA) deal was reached in January 2020, the UK Government has made good progress on implementing its commitments. For example, regulations to bring Union flag flying days into line with guidance in the rest of the UK came into force in December 2020. We are committed to delivering on other important language, culture and identity commitments in the coming months.

The Government plans to bring forward legislation to address outstanding NDNA commitments when Parliamentary time allows. This will include legislative changes on reforming the Petition of Concern, altering the Codes governing Ministerial accountability and conduct, and establishing certain other provisions to increase the sustainability of the institutions.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Defence is leading on UK-wide legislation to further incorporate the Armed Forces Covenant into law. This legislation is being developed in close consultation with the Northern Ireland Office, other UK Government departments and the devolved administrations.

In addition, in 2020 the UK Government legislated to establish a Victims Payments Scheme, which will provide acknowledgement payments to those permanently injured in Troubles-related incidents through no fault of their own. The UK Government is also committed to bringing forward legislation to address the legacy of the Troubles in a way that focuses on reconciliation, delivers for victims, and ends the cycle of investigations.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
30th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, whether any elements of the (a) Stormont House and (b) Fresh Start Agreement that still require legislation to implement.

Since the Stormont House and Fresh Start Agreements in 2014 and 2015 respectively, much good work has been achieved and multiple legislative commitments have been fulfilled.

The main outstanding legislative commitments in the Stormont House and Fresh Start Agreements concern parading and legacy. The UK Government has been consistently clear that responsibility for parades and related protests should, in principle, be devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly, and that should alternative, workable, locally agreed arrangements be forthcoming, it would look to bring forward legislation to devolve this matter.

The Government has been clear that it will bring forward legislation to address the legacy of the Troubles in a way that focuses on reconciliation, delivers for victims, and ends the cycle of investigations. We are committed to making progress on this as quickly as possible.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what discussions he has had with the Irish Government on the co-ordination of Christmas 2020 covid-19 restrictions.

The Northern Ireland Executive is leading Northern Ireland’s Covid-19 response, in line with devolution arrangements.

To ensure a joined-up approach in our response, the UK Government, the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish Government are communicating at all levels. There have been regular discussions between Ministers and officials from the UK and Irish governments and from the Northern Ireland Executive throughout the pandemic and most recently about arrangements over the festive period. The Secretary of State met the Irish Foreign Minister on 23 November to discuss a range of issues, including covid-19 restrictions.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, to what projects and programmes he has allocated Shared Future funding under the Fresh Start Agreement in (a) 2020-21 and (b) forthcoming financial years.

In 2015, the UK Government provided £60m over five years in support of the Executive’s delivery of confidence and relationship building measures within and between communities, contributing to the conditions that will allow the removal of peace walls and the creation of a shared future.

The UK Government has released £12m in each financial year since 2016-17, with the final £12m being provided to the Executive in 2020-21. The Northern Ireland Budget for the 2020-21 financial year confirmed £12 million of non ring-fenced resource funding for Shared Future projects. The Northern Ireland Executive is responsible for allocating this non ring-fenced spending and has not yet published its decisions for the 2020-21 period.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what official term is used by his Department to refer to the proposed series of checks on the movement of goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland after the transition period.

Safeguarding the free flow of goods within the UK internal market is a priority for this Government. The application of the Northern Ireland Protocol will involve some changes for goods movements into Northern Ireland.

Our unfettered access policy will ensure that businesses and individuals will be able to move goods from Northern Ireland into the rest of the UK on the same basis as now.

The end of the transition period will, however, mean some new arrangements for goods movements into Northern Ireland from Great Britain. Changes will be kept to an absolute minimum - with a new Trader Support Service, available to all traders at no cost, to be established to provide wraparound support, alongside guidance on the processes for food and agricultural products designed to uphold the longstanding status of the island of Ireland as a single epidemiological unit.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps he is taking to ensure that goods produced in Northern Ireland do not face competitive disadvantage when placed on the market in Great Britain.

The UK Government has committed to delivering unfettered access for Northern Ireland businesses in legislation, including through the UK Internal Market Bill and the Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods Regulations.

The UK Internal Market Bill will prohibit new checks and controls on qualifying Northern Ireland goods, and through the mutual recognition principle will enable qualifying Northern Ireland goods to be placed on the market in Great Britain without additional approvals. This will ensure direct trade from Northern Ireland to Great Britain will continue as it does now.

The non-discrimination principle contained in the bill will also apply fully to qualifying Northern Ireland goods. This principle will apply to certain types of regulatory requirements not captured by mutual recognition, for example on transportation and manner of sale, and will prevent requirements that discriminate against qualifying Northern Ireland goods by putting them at a disadvantage when sold in Great Britain.

Furthermore, through the UK Common frameworks programme we will work with the devolved administrations to ensure that coherent approaches are maintained across the UK in frameworks policy areas from the end of the transition period.


Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what provisions he has put in place to ensure that Northern Ireland goods do not face competitive disadvantage or discrimination when placed on the market in Great Britain.

The UK Government has committed to delivering unfettered access for Northern Ireland businesses in legislation, including through the UK Internal Market Bill and the Qualifying Northern Ireland Goods Regulations.

The UK Internal Market Bill will prohibit new checks and controls on qualifying Northern Ireland goods, and through the mutual recognition principle will enable qualifying Northern Ireland goods to be placed on the market in Great Britain without additional approvals. This will ensure direct trade from Northern Ireland to Great Britain will continue as it does now.

The non-discrimination principle contained in the bill will also apply fully to qualifying Northern Ireland goods. This principle will apply to certain types of regulatory requirements not captured by mutual recognition, for example on transportation and manner of sale, and will prevent requirements that discriminate against qualifying Northern Ireland goods by putting them at a disadvantage when sold in Great Britain.

Furthermore, through the UK Common frameworks programme we will work with the devolved administrations to ensure that coherent approaches are maintained across the UK in frameworks policy areas from the end of the transition period.


Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what assessment he has made of the implications for his Department's policies of the 3 September 2020 decision of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers on H46-44 McKerr group v the United Kingdom (Application No. 28883/95).

The Government has noted the decision of the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers and remains committed to introducing legislation to address the legacy of Northern Ireland’s past as soon as possible.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Sep 2020
What discussions his Department has had with (a) victims groups and (b) other key stakeholders in Northern Ireland on the development of the Government's proposals on addressing Northern Ireland legacy issues, announced on 18 March 2020.

The Government remains committed to introducing legislation to address the legacy of the past in Northern Ireland.

The Department has held discussions with a number of key stakeholders, including victims groups, the Commissioner for Victims and Survivors, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, and a range of individuals from across civic society and academia.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, if he will outline the current rules and requirements on the Northern Ireland Executive utilising the Fresh Start Agreement resources allocated for shared and integrated education.

The UK Government, through the Fresh Start and Stormont House Agreements, provided a contribution of up to £500m over 10 years of new capital funding to support shared and integrated education.

The Government remains committed to providing all of this funding for the purposes for which it was originally intended. We will continue to work with the Northern Ireland Executive and HM Treasury to ensure this can be profiled in the most effective way.

This support will help overcome divisions in Northern Ireland and benefit thousands of children through new and better facilities.

The Government is pleased to note that the restored Executive has made progress on delivering this important initiative, with 27 major capital projects being progressed under the Fresh Start programme in the current financial year.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern