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Written Question
Immigration: Fees and Charges
14 Jan 2022

Questioner: Stephen Farry (Alliance - North Down)

Question

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.

Answered by Kevin Foster

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.


Written Question
Immigration: EU Nationals
14 Jan 2022

Questioner: Stephen Farry (Alliance - North Down)

Question

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.

Answered by Kevin Foster

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.


Written Question
Taxation: Carbon Emissions
11 Jan 2022

Questioner: Stephen Farry (Alliance - North Down)

Question

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.

Answered by Helen Whately

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.


Written Question
Environment Protection and Health
10 Jan 2022

Questioner: Stephen Farry (Alliance - North Down)

Question

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.

Answered by John Glen

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.


Written Question
Regional Planning and Development: Northern Ireland
7 Jan 2022

Questioner: Stephen Farry (Alliance - North Down)

Question

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.

Answered by Neil O'Brien

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


Written Question
Belfast Agreement: Nationality
5 Jan 2022

Questioner: Stephen Farry (Alliance - North Down)

Question

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.

Answered by Kevin Foster

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.


Written Question
Spain: Travel
16 Dec 2021

Questioner: Stephen Farry (Alliance - North Down)

Question

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.

Answered by Wendy Morton

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.


Written Question
Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
9 Dec 2021

Questioner: Stephen Farry (Alliance - North Down)

Question

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.

Answered by Conor Burns

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.


Written Question
Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
9 Dec 2021

Questioner: Stephen Farry (Alliance - North Down)

Question

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.

Answered by Conor Burns

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.


Written Question
UK Shared Prosperity Fund: Northern Ireland
9 Dec 2021

Questioner: Stephen Farry (Alliance - North Down)

Question

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.

Answered by Neil O'Brien

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.


Written Question
UK Shared Prosperity Fund: Northern Ireland
9 Dec 2021

Questioner: Stephen Farry (Alliance - North Down)

Question

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.

Answered by Neil O'Brien

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.


Written Question
UK Shared Prosperity Fund: Northern Ireland
9 Dec 2021

Questioner: Stephen Farry (Alliance - North Down)

Question

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.

Answered by Neil O'Brien

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.


Written Question
UK Shared Prosperity Fund: Northern Ireland
9 Dec 2021

Questioner: Stephen Farry (Alliance - North Down)

Question

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.

Answered by Neil O'Brien

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.


Written Question
Immigration: Risk Assessment
8 Dec 2021

Questioner: Stephen Farry (Alliance - North Down)

Question

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.

Answered by Tom Pursglove

The Home Office no longer produces a National Risk Assessment in relation to any immigration applications.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Government Asssitance
6 Dec 2021

Questioner: Stephen Farry (Alliance - North Down)

Question

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.

Answered by Simon Clarke

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.