Steve Baker Portrait

Steve Baker

Conservative - Wycombe

Treasury Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 19th Oct 2021
Treasury Committee
3rd Dec 2018 - 6th Nov 2019
Treasury Sub-Committee
3rd Dec 2018 - 6th Nov 2019
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Exiting the European Union)
13th Jun 2017 - 8th Jul 2018
Treasury Committee
8th Jul 2015 - 3rd May 2017
Treasury Committee
12th May 2014 - 30th Mar 2015
Transport Committee
2nd Nov 2010 - 10th Jun 2013


Oral Question
Thursday 2nd December 2021
09:30
Department for International Trade
Topical Question No. 6
If she will make a statement on her departmental responsibilities.
Save to Calendar
Division Votes
Tuesday 23rd November 2021
Health and Care Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 302 Conservative No votes vs 1 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 240 Noes - 304
Speeches
Thursday 25th November 2021
Army Restructuring: Future Soldier

Yesterday when I looked at the faces of young soldiers outside Parliament, I believe I saw a number of people …

Written Answers
Friday 26th November 2021
Shipping: Freight
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the impact of container …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Tuesday 1st June 2021
2. (b) Any other support not included in Category 2(a)
Name of donor: Matthew Ferrey
Address of donor: private
Amount of donation or nature and value if donation in kind: …
EDM signed
Wednesday 4th September 2019
CONFLICT IN KASHMIR
That this House expresses huge concern about the revocation of Articles 370 and 35A in Kashmir by the Indian Government, …
Supported Legislation
House of Commons (Precedence of Government Business) (European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018) Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Steve Baker has voted in 309 divisions, and 4 times against the majority of their Party.

25 Mar 2021 - Coronavirus - View Vote Context
Steve Baker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 35 Conservative No votes vs 305 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 484 Noes - 76
10 Feb 2021 - Public Health - View Vote Context
Steve Baker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 24 Conservative No votes vs 327 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 526 Noes - 24
13 Oct 2020 - Public Health: Coronavirus Regulations - View Vote Context
Steve Baker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 42 Conservative No votes vs 298 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 299 Noes - 82
27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Steve Baker voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 77 Conservative No votes vs 222 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 89
View All Steve Baker Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(32 debate interactions)
Mark Harper (Conservative)
(11 debate interactions)
Boris Johnson (Conservative)
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
(10 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(65 debate contributions)
Home Office
(40 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(28 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Steve Baker's debates

Wycombe 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).

Petition Debates Contributed

I would like the UK Government to make it law that nightclubs must search guests on arrival to prevent harmful weapons and other items entering the establishment. This could be a pat down search or metal detector, but must involve measures being put in place to ensure the safety of the public.

We ask Government to significantly increase targeted research funding for motor neurone disease (MND).

A new investment of £50m over 5 years could kickstart a pioneering MND Research Institute.

This would lead to better, faster and more definitive research outcomes and hope for those with MND.

Recognise the state of Palestine to help stop the conflict from Israel. Not recognising the Palestinian state allows Israel to continue their persecution of the Palestinians.

The Government should introduce sanctions against Israel, including blocking all trade, and in particular arms.

We want the Government to commit to not rolling out any e-vaccination status/immunity passport to the British public. Such passports could be used to restrict the rights of people who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine, which would be unacceptable.

I want the Government to prevent any restrictions being placed on those who refuse to have any potential Covid-19 vaccine. This includes restrictions on travel, social events, such as concerts or sports. No restrictions whatsoever.


Latest EDMs signed by Steve Baker

4th September 2019
Steve Baker signed this EDM on Wednesday 4th September 2019

CONFLICT IN KASHMIR

Tabled by: Naz Shah (Labour - Bradford West)
That this House expresses huge concern about the revocation of Articles 370 and 35A in Kashmir by the Indian Government, stripping away the right to special status for the people of Kashmir; is extremely alarmed by the road to ethnic cleansing opened up by the ongoing communications blackout and the …
27 signatures
(Most recent: 30 Sep 2019)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 23
Conservative: 1
Independent: 1
Scottish National Party: 1
Green Party: 1
11th April 2019
Steve Baker signed this EDM on Thursday 11th April 2019

Exiting the European Union

Tabled by: William Cash (Conservative - Stone)
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Exit Day) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2019 (S.I., 2019, No. 859), dated 11 April 2019, a copy of which was laid before this House on 11 April 2019, be annulled.
82 signatures
(Most recent: 29 Apr 2019)
Signatures by party:
Conservative: 73
Democratic Unionist Party: 7
Independent: 1
Non-affiliated: 1
View All Steve Baker's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Steve Baker, 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.


Steve Baker has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Steve Baker has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Steve Baker has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


300 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
5 Other Department Questions
15th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) extent of economic inequality in different areas across High Wycombe and (b) implications of that matter for his policies on levelling up; and if he will make a statement.

The Government publishes national economic inequality data, such as the Indices of Multiple Deprivation, and has recently published the methodology used for the Levelling Up Fund and the Community Renewal Fund. Levelling up is about spreading opportunity and boosting living standards across the nation, including addressing local pockets of deprivation. We will be setting out our proposals to deliver on Levelling Up in a White Paper later this year. We have recognised the specific challenges faced in High Wycombe and provided £11.7 million through the Future High Streets Fund to support the area’s plans to revitalise the town centre.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make an announcement on the local government finance settlement to ensure that councils are notified of that settlement before Christmas 2021.

The Department intends to publish the next provisional Local Government Finance Settlement later this year.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will make it his policy to ensure that assessments of the areas to be tackled by the Government's levelling up agenda are conducted on a geographical basis no larger than a Middle Layer Super Output Area; and if he will make a statement.

Levelling up is about addressing disparities within and between regions. It means empowering local leaders and communities to seize their own destiny; boosting living standards, particularly where they are lower; spreading opportunity and improving public services, particularly where they are weak; and restoring local pride across the UK. The Government is taking a data-driven approach to assessing geographic areas, ensuring that we are focusing our efforts on the places that need the most support. Each place and its requirements are unique, and therefore the support it receives must reflect this.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to increase the supply of specialist housing for the elderly.

Offering vulnerable people a better choice of accommodation to suit their changing needs can help them live independently and feel more connected to their communities. This Government is committed to the provision of suitable homes for older people, including extra care housing, which contributes to levelling up across communities. Housing-with-care allows individuals to choose where they want to live, with whom, how they can best be supported, and what happens in their home. Both the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the Department of Health and Social Care provide capital funding to incentivise their supply. Our planning rules already mean councils must consider the needs of older people when planning for new homes. In 2019, we published guidance to help councils implement the National Planning Policy Framework policies.

We are investing over £12 billion in affordable housing over 5 years, the largest investment in affordable housing in a decade. This includes the new £11.5 billion Affordable Homes Programme, where 10 per cent of delivery over the course of the programme will be used to increase the supply of much needed specialist or supported housing, including retirement housing. The Department of Health and Social Care are also continuing to subsidise new supply of specialist housing for older and disabled people through the Care and Support Specialised Housing (CASSH) Fund.

The Government's plan for health and social care, announced on Tuesday 7 September, also recognised the important role of housing, and supported housing in particular, in providing care and support to people in the community.

We continue to work closely with the older people's housing sector and across Government to look at how we can further support its growth. I look forward to engaging with representatives in the sector further and value their insight.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will provide guidance to local authorities on planning provision for extra care housing communities,

This Government is committed to the provision of suitable homes for older people, including extra care housing, which contributes to levelling up across communities.

Our planning rules already mean councils must consider the needs of older people when planning for new homes. In 2019, we published guidance to help councils implement the National Planning Policy Framework policies.

We continue to work closely with the older people's housing sector and across Government to look at how we can further support its growth. I look forward to engaging with representatives in the sector further and value their insight.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Attorney General, how many cases have been brought by the Director of Public Prosecutions in respect of modern slavery at hand car washes; and how many convictions there have been as a result of those cases.

The data published by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) shows the number of defendants prosecuted for offences of human trafficking for all forms of exploitation. To obtain details on the number of defendants prosecuted for offences relating to exploitation at hand-car washes would require a manual examination of individual case files to be undertaken at a disproportionate cost.

The table below shows the number of defendants prosecuted in cases flagged as human trafficking offences in England and Wales from 2015/16 to September 2019.

Convictions

Non-Convictions

Total

Volume

%

Volume

%

2015 - 16

192

65.1%

103

34.9%

295

2016 - 17

181

61.4%

114

38.6%

295

2017 - 18

185

65.1%

99

34.9%

284

2018 - 19

219

68.0%

103

32.0%

322

April - Sept 19

114

72.2%

44

27.8%

158

Data Source: CPS Case Management Information System

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the report entitled Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Covid-Status Certification: Government Response to the Committee’s Second Report, published on 9 September 2021, if he will publish the equalities impact assessment that the Government conducted on covid-status certification.

As set out in the Government’s response to the Committee’s report, the Government will provide the Equalities Impact Assessment conducted on COVID-status certification ahead of the introduction of any legislation that may be required, in the normal way.

Further inquiries on COVID-status certification should be directed to my colleagues at the Department of Health and Social Care.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the COVID-19 Response: Autumn and Winter Plan 2021, published on 14 September 2021, and the statement that in the event that the data suggests the NHS is likely to come under unsustainable pressure, the Government has prepared a Plan B for England, if he will define the data that would indicate that the NHS is likely to come under unsustainable pressure.

If data suggests the NHS is likely to come under unsustainable pressure, the Government has prepared a Plan B for England. The Government hopes not to have to implement Plan B. However, given the uncertainty, the Government set out details in the Autumn and Winter Plan 2021 so that the public and businesses know what to expect if further measures become necessary.

The Government will remain vigilant and monitor the data closely, using a wide range of evidence, as we have done throughout the pandemic. This includes case numbers, hospital admissions and occupancy, deaths, the ratio of cases to hospitalisations, the rate of growth in cases and hospital admissions - particularly in the over 65s.

Michael Ellis
Paymaster General
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021, published on 5 July 2021, on what date the Government plans to review covid-19 restrictions to assess the country’s preparedness for autumn and winter 2021; and what the format of that review will be.

As set out on 12 July in the Moving to step 4 of the roadmap publication, in September, the Government will undertake a review to assess the country’s preparedness for autumn and winter, which will consider whether to continue or strengthen public and business guidance.

The Coronavirus Act and remaining regulations throughout the autumn and winter will be kept under review.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
20th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people under the age of 35 have died from covid-19 in English hospitals since the outbreak of covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

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

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many people under the age of 35 without a co-morbidity have died from covid-19 in English hospitals since the outbreak of covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

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

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to his Department's consultation, COVID-Status Certification Review - Call for evidence, published on 15 March 2021, how that consultation is planned to assess the effect of COVID-Status Certification on business insurance policies;and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the previous response provided in PQ171522.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to his Department's consultation, COVID-Status Certification Review - Call for evidence, published on 15 March 2021, how that review is planned to assess the implications of the possible introduction of COVID-Status Certification on businesses, organisations and events requiring certification for other diseases and health conditions in the future; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the hon. Member to the previous response provided in PQ171522.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the consultation, COVID-status Certification Review - call for evidence, published on 15 March 2021, whether that review will include legal advice on whether the use of such certification will be compatible with the Equality Act 2010; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ171522 on 23 March 2021.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to his Department's consultation, COVID-Status Certification Review - Call for evidence, published on 15 March 2021, if he will publish a representative sample of the evidence that informs the outcome of that review.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ171522 on 23 March 2021.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to his Department's consultation, COVID-Status Certification Review - Call for evidence, published on 15 March 2021, how that consultation will make an assessment of the effect of the (a) covid-19 vaccine rollout and (b) high efficacy of the covid-19 vaccines; and if he will make a statement.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer given to PQ171522 on 23 March 2021.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to ensure peer review of the methods and independent verification of the results of ONS estimates of covid-19 cases.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent steps he has taken to improve the quality of data on covid-19 deaths both inside and outside of hospitals with respect to identifying for whom covid-19 was (a) the cause of death, (b) a cofactor and (c) a nosocomial infection; and if he will make a statement.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what recent discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the preparedness of the UK border for the end of the EU Withdrawal Agreement Implementation Period on 31 December 2020; and if he will make a statement.

Cabinet Office ministers - and in particular the Minister for the Cabinet Office, me as Paymaster General, and Lord True, frequently discuss matters relating to border preparedness with Cabinet and ministerial colleagues, including at the relevant Cabinet Committees which are Exit Operations (XO) and Exit Strategy (XS). In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of internal discussions are not normally disclosed.

The Government is committed to ensuring that the UK is ready for the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, and for seizing the opportunities of leaving the Single Market and EU Customs Union at that point. Work on border preparedness takes places across Government, including ministers and officials from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for International Trade, and UK Border Force.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the process is for an independent Scotland to (a) secede from the UK and (b) accede to the EU; and if he will make a statement.

Scotland had an independence referendum in 2014 which was legal, fair and decisive. People in Scotland voted by a significant margin to remain part of the UK on a promise this was a “once in a generation” vote. The UK Government is committed to respecting and upholding that result.

Now that the UK Government has delivered on the democratic decision to leave the EU, this Government will ensure that 2020 is a year of growth and opportunity for Scotland and the whole of the UK.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of container shipping prices on UK businesses; and if he will make a statement.

The situation faced by UK businesses and others across the globe is a result of high consumer demand, and the ongoing disruption caused by Covid-19 pressures. We are aware this is a global problem, and the UK is not uniquely disadvantaged as the container supply system and freight markets across the world are being impacted.

In fact, at present the position for UK freight is more positive than other locations globally who have experienced continued severe operations difficulties.

Government continues to work with the freight sector, including ports to manage the impacts of a surge in container demand and HGV driver shortages.

Lee Rowley
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help ensure that there is no energy supplier restrictions or rationing of industrial, business or individual energy use over the next six months; and if he will make a statement.

Energy security is an absolute priority for this government. We have highly diverse sources of gas supply and a diverse electricity mix, which ensures that households, businesses and heavy industry get the energy they need.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will (a) lift the moratorium on shale gas and (b) take steps to support the safe extraction of the UK's shale gas resources.

The Government has been clear that shale gas development must be safe and sustainable – both for local communities and the environment.

It remains government policy to be guided by the evidence, as demonstrated by BEIS’ Written Ministerial Statement of 4 November 2019, where BEIS confirmed the decision to take a presumption against issuing any further Hydraulic Fracturing Consents, which are required before hydraulic fracturing operations can take place. Please see: https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-statement/Commons/2019-11-04/HCWS68/.

This position, an effective moratorium, will be maintained unless compelling new evidence is provided which addresses the concerns around the prediction and management of induced seismicity.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what further plans he has for cooperation with the US on the development of nuclear power capabilities following the Prime Minister’s recent visit to Washington.

The United States is our closest strategic partner and we regularly discuss clean energy policy with them, including on nuclear energy.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
21st Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of bringing at least one large-scale nuclear reactor to final investment decision on (a) the future energy security of the UK and (b) the long-term stability of energy prices.

New nuclear power has a key role to play as the Government works to reduce the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels and our exposure to volatile global gas prices. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Net Zero Strategy published on 19 October committed to legislating for a Regulated Asset Base (RAB) funding model for new nuclear projects to facilitate a final investment decision this Parliament on one large scale nuclear plant. On 26 October, the Government introduced the Nuclear Energy (Financing) Bill. The RAB model could reduce the cost of financing new nuclear power plants, saving the average dual fuel household more than £10 per year throughout the life of each nuclear power station, which can operate for 60 years. In December 2020, the Government announced the start of formal negotiations on Sizewell C and those negotiations are ongoing.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to inform businesses in the (a) retail, (b) hospitality and (c) leisure sectors of the role of ventilation in inhibiting the spread of covid-19.

The Working Safely guidance encourages businesses to ensure that their ventilation is adequate as a mitigation against COVID-19. We have amplified messages around ventilation through our wider engagement with businesses including regular discussions with sector bodies and meetings with business representatives.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has also used existing communication routes to direct members of their Hospitality Industry Liaison Forum to their ventilation guidance. To increase messaging impact, BEIS added a link to a HSE video on ventilation to our Working Safely guidance. Our guidance is kept under constant review and is updated when new evidence arises.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many covid-19 vaccines his Department has ordered for delivery in each year of the next five years.

The UK government has secured early access to 332 million vaccines doses through supply agreements with five separate vaccine developers. This includes agreements with:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech for 135​ million doses
  • University of Oxford/AstraZeneca for 100 million doses
  • Moderna for 17 million doses
  • Novavax for 60 million doses
  • Janssen for 20 million doses

Of these, Pfizer/BioNTech, University of Oxford/AstraZeneca and Moderna vaccines have received MHRA regulatory approval and are currently in deployment in the UK. The Janssen vaccine has also received regulatory approval and deliveries are expected later this year. The Novavax vaccine is yet to receive regulatory approval, so timings for delivery are dependent on this.

Due to commercial sensitivities, we are not able to provide detailed timelines for delivery.

We are in regular contact with the vaccine manufacturers and are confident in our vaccine supplies going into the autumn/ winter, having already secured the doses we need for everyone in the UK who requires a booster.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has placed advance purchase orders for (a) next-generation universal coronavirus or (b) nasal-spray covid-19 vaccines.

The UK government has secured early access to 332 million vaccines doses through supply agreements with five separate vaccine developers. This includes agreements with:

  • Pfizer/BioNTech for 135​ million doses
  • University of Oxford/AstraZeneca for 100 million doses
  • Moderna for 17 million doses
  • Novavax for 60 million doses
  • Janssen for 20 million doses.

We have not purchased any next-generation universal coronavirus or nasal-spray covid-19 vaccines; however, the Vaccine Taskforce keeps our portfolio and emerging vaccines under review.

George Freeman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the average capital cost per megawatt of capacity is for UK offshore wind farms that (a) were commissioned in the last five years, (b) are due to be commissioned in the next five years and (c) was assumed in his Department's 2020 Cost of Electricity Generation report.

The Department’s 2020 Cost of Electricity Generation Report[1] presents forecasts from 2025 to 2040. In response to point (c), the capital costs assumed in the report are £1.95million per megawatt capacity, in 2018 prices, for a UK offshore wind farm commissioning in 2025. The above can also be taken as the Department’s assumption for (b), wind farms that are due to be commissioned in the next five years.

The Department does not hold historic project data on (a), capital costs for UK offshore wind farms commissioned in the past five years.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/beis-electricity-generation-costs-2020

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he has plans to bring forward legislative proposals on the financing of new nuclear power stations; and if he will make a statement.

As set out in our response to the consultation on the Regulated Asset Base (RAB), RAB is a credible model for financing large-scale nuclear projects. It is also our assessment that using a RAB for such projects would require primary legislation. We are continuing to explore the RAB model with nuclear project developers and undertaking further policy development. We are also continuing to assess the potential role of Government finance during the construction of a nuclear project, subject to clear value for money for consumers and taxpayers, and all relevant approvals.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of undertaking a Strategic Environmental Assessment into the hazards of mass deployment of lithium-ion batteries for grid storage.

There are mechanisms in place at a local level to assess the environmental impacts and benefits of lithium-ion battery storage projects. Any applications for such projects will be carefully assessed by relevant decision-makers against all relevant criteria.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what estimate his Department has made of the number of households that require a mains electricity and fuse upgrade to install a heat pump.

In the ‘Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution’, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced our aim to install 600,000 heat pumps a year by 2028. We estimate that, in all future heat scenarios, we will need to hit this target to remain on track for net zero. We must therefore act now to scale up supply chains and build the UK heat pump market.

Our analysis of off gas grid homes suggests that around 70% to 80% of homes would have sufficient energy efficiency and internal fuse limit electrical connections to accommodate a low temperature heat pump system. This potentially rises to around 80% to 90% with fabric upgrades including draught-proofing, cavity wall insulation, floor and loft insulation, and/or more major upgrades such as external wall insulation.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to publish his Department's review of Microgeneration Certification Scheme Planning Standard MCS-020 relating to heat pumps.

The Microgeneration Certification Scheme Planning Standard MCS-020 is maintained by the quality assurance organisation MCS. Whilst BEIS has not carried out a review of the standard, the Department is in regular contact with stakeholders regarding heat pump deployment and uptake. Recently, this has included engaging with local authorities on noise, which is one of the issues covered in MCS-020.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that heating engineers are adequately trained in the installation of heat pumps.

The Government is working closely with industry and the education sector to ensure that high-quality training is available for heat pump installers. This includes training for new heating engineers, and for existing heating engineers who do not yet have heat pump training.

As part of the Green Homes Grant Skills Competition, the Government awarded more than £6 million to support training for tradespeople delivering green home energy improvements, including heat pump installations.

We are also supporting the industry-led development of new heat pump upskilling courses for existing heating engineers. By the end of 2021, we expect industry to have the capacity to upskill thousands of heating installers per year.

Furthermore BEIS, together with the Department for Education, is also working with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) to ensure that apprenticeships and T-Levels contain high quality heat pump training. Additionally, we are working with the Association of Colleges to ensure that further education providers are aware of future needs for heat pump skills, and to understand barriers to providing relevant training so that they can be better addressed.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the effect on businesses of the covid-19 guidance on close contact services that advises against providing reading materials such as newspapers and magazines in client waiting areas; and if he will make a statement.

We continue to keep the Safer Working guidance under constant review and will update the guidance in line with new scientific evidence as it arises. Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive have advised that there is currently no scientific evidence to support changing the Safer Working guidance in light of the new variants.

PHE guidance states that Covid-19 spreads from person to person through small droplets, aerosols and through direct contact. Surfaces and belongings can also be contaminated with Covid-19 when people with the infection cough or sneeze or touch them. The risk of spread is greatest when people are close to each other, especially in poorly ventilated indoor spaces and when people spend a lot of time together in the same room.

Given that client waiting areas are high traffic with frequent contact on common surface areas, we recommend not providing shared reading materials to reduce transmission risk via surface contact. Individuals can bring their own reading materials that they have purchased but we advise businesses to not provide sharing copies due to the frequent change of hands.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when he plans to withdraw covid-19 guidance on close contact services which advises against providing reading materials such as newspapers and magazines in client waiting areas; and if he will make a statement.

We continue to keep the Safer Working guidance under constant review and will update the guidance in line with new scientific evidence as it arises. Public Health England (PHE) and the Health and Safety Executive have advised that there is currently no scientific evidence to support changing the Safer Working guidance in light of the new variants.

PHE guidance states that Covid-19 spreads from person to person through small droplets, aerosols and through direct contact. Surfaces and belongings can also be contaminated with Covid-19 when people with the infection cough or sneeze or touch them. The risk of spread is greatest when people are close to each other, especially in poorly ventilated indoor spaces and when people spend a lot of time together in the same room.

Given that client waiting areas are high traffic with frequent contact on common surface areas, we recommend not providing shared reading materials to reduce transmission risk via surface contact. Individuals can bring their own reading materials that they have purchased but we advise businesses to not provide sharing copies due to the frequent change of hands.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the announcement in Budget 2021 on restart grants, when he plans to provide full details of that grant to local authorities.

Guidance to Local Authorities on the Restart Grants was published on 17th March, and can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/970686/Restart_Grant_-_LA_guidance_170321.pdf.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether greeting card and gift shops, classed as non-essential retail, are permitted to offer a telephone click and collect service under covid-19 restrictions.

All shops in England are permitted to operate click-and-collect services online, by telephone/text or via post.

Customers must remain outside of the store to collect their goods.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the economic effect of green levy subsidies on low-income households.

The Energy White Paper has affordability at its heart and includes measures we are bringing forward to keep bills affordable. As set out in the Energy White Paper, the average household dual fuel bill in 2019 was similar to 2010. However, the underlying costs have changed. Over the past decade, electricity prices have risen because of policy and network costs, while gas prices have fluctuated, reflecting movements in the wholesale gas price. However, consumers have used less energy, which has balanced out the cost increase. Based on the policies in the Energy White Paper, we estimate that household dual fuel bills will be, on average, broadly similar in both 2025 and 2030 to 2019.

We see improving the energy efficiency of homes as the best long-term solution to reduce energy bills and tackle fuel poverty. The Energy Company Obligation, worth £640m per year, is focused on low-income and vulnerable households. The Green Homes Grant, launched in September 2020, is a £2 billion programme which will help improve the energy efficiency of homes in England. Of the £2 billion, 500 million is allocated to the Local Authority Delivery scheme which is specifically aimed at low income, vulnerable and fuel poor households.

In addition to the available funding to support low-income households with improving the energy efficiency of their homes, we recognise that some households may need more immediate support and so also assist with energy bills for low income and vulnerable consumers through the Warm Homes Discount, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of different measures to lower fuel poverty in electricity dominated households.

We recognise that electrically heated homes typically have higher energy costs, and that reducing these bills is key to addressing fuel poverty.

Improving energy efficiency is the best long-term solution to tackle fuel poverty, regardless of the heating system used. The Energy Company Obligation, worth £640 million each year, is focused on low-income and vulnerable households. The Green Homes Grant, launched in September 2020, will help improve the energy efficiency of homes in England. £500 million has been allocated under the scheme to the Local Authority Delivery scheme which is specifically for low income, vulnerable and fuel poor households.

We are also working to help fuel poor consumers transition away from forms of heating with high running costs. Heat pumps are a highly efficient, low-carbon heating solution, and benefit from government support through the Green Homes Grant and Renewable Heat Incentive. Evidence indicates that a heat pump can lower fuel bills, especially where it replaces a conventional electric heating system.

In addition to the available funding to support low-income households with improving the energy efficiency of their homes, we recognise that some households may need more immediate support and so also assist with energy bills for low income and vulnerable consumers through the Warm Homes Discount, Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of negotiating an amendment to his contract with Oxford-AstraZeneca to change its emphasis on providing vaccines on only a non-profit basis to make provision for a suitable premium for each additional dose provided in advance of agreed delivery schedules.

Details of negotiations between the Government and vaccine developers are commercially confidential. The Government robustly negotiated with suppliers to ensure the best possible terms in order to ensure access to safe and effective vaccines as soon as possible. Through this approach, the Government has secured early access to 407 million vaccines doses through agreements with seven vaccine developers – this includes 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine.

The UK was the first country in the world to procure, authorise and then deploy both the Oxford University/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines.

The UK vaccine supply and scheduled deliveries will fully support vaccination of priority cohorts 1 to 4, as advised by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, and we are on track to offer a first vaccine to every person in these cohorts by 15 February 2021.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential default rate for SMEs that took out loans under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme; and what steps he is taking to reduce that rate.

The preliminary estimate of default rates was published in the BEIS Annual Report and Accounts for 19/20, is based on losses observed in previous programmes which are similar to the Scheme. However these estimates are highly uncertain.

In order to reduce the potential default rate for SMEs, on 24th September my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced the Pay As You Grow measures. Under the measures, the Government will give all businesses that borrowed under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) the option to repay their loan over a period of up to ten years. This will reduce their average monthly repayments on the loan by almost half. UK 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), or to pause their repayments entirely for up to six months (an option they can use once and only after having made six payments).

These changes will provide greater flexibility to repay these loans over a longer period and in a way that better suits businesses’ individual circumstances. A business which took out a £30,000 Bounce Back Loan would see their average monthly repayments fall from £532 to £309 (42% reduction) if they repaid the loan over 10 years rather than six. The same borrower could temporarily reduce their monthly repayments to just £63 if they switched to interest-only repayments.

The first Bounce Back Loans repayments will begin in May 2021, and businesses will have the opportunity to request these Pay as you Grow measures before their first repayments fall due.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the report entitled Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, Covid-Status Certification: Government Response to the Committee’s Second Report, published on 9 September 2021, and the statements that (a) the Events Research Programme concluded that, where possible, certification should be introduced rather than more economically restrictive measures and (b) published findings will be made available in due course, if she will make those findings from the Events Research Programme publicly available immediately.

The Autumn/Winter plan published on 14 September sets out the potential next steps for certification. The analysis for the final phase of events, which finished at the end of July, is underway. DCMS continues to work closely with other government departments and expects to be able to publish the final Events Research Programme findings shortly.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when she plans to publish the findings of Phase II and Phase III of the Events Research Programme.

The analysis for the final phase of events, which finished at the end of July, is underway. DCMS continues to work closely with other government departments and expects to be able to publish the final Events Research Programme findings shortly.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support public service mutuals and co-operatives within the public sector; and if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reestablishing the Mutuals Support Programme.

In recent years we have made a significant investment in the development of public service mutuals. We delivered a number of targeted support programmes, such as the Government’s Mutual Support Programme 2. We have also commissioned external research projects on Mutuals, the findings of which will be published shortly.

We have published tools and resources which replicate a number of the technical and legal consultancy services provided through the Government’s Mutual Support Programme 2. These will enable organisations and departments to explore mutualisation independently, where it aligns with their public service reform agendas.

These targeted programmes were always intended to be time limited and came to an end as of March 2020, and at this time the Mutuals Team, which led these programmes, was also disbanded. While we no longer have a team focused specifically on mutuals, we continue to be supportive of this model and will maintain an interest as part of our wider social enterprise agenda.

10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, for what reason his Department has abolished the Mutuals Unit.

In recent years we have made a significant investment in the development of public service mutuals. We delivered a number of targeted support programmes, such as the Government’s Mutual Support Programme 2. We have also commissioned external research projects on Mutuals, the findings of which will be published shortly.

We have published tools and resources which replicate a number of the technical and legal consultancy services provided through the Government’s Mutual Support Programme 2. These will enable organisations and departments to explore mutualisation independently, where it aligns with their public service reform agendas.

These targeted programmes were always intended to be time limited and came to an end as of March 2020, and at this time the Mutuals Team, which led these programmes, was also disbanded. While we no longer have a team focused specifically on mutuals, we continue to be supportive of this model and will maintain an interest as part of our wider social enterprise agenda.

25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, for what reason his Department's guidance on amateur choirs, orchestras and music groups was updated on 18 May 2021, limiting rehearsals to six people, one day after step 3 of the Government's Roadmap suggested that non-professional performing arts groups could return to practice in any number.

The Performing Arts guidance was updated on 18 May to reflect the latest arrangements for Step 3. I know that the restrictions on singing are frustrating to large numbers of amateur choirs and performance groups across the country and that many people have made sacrifices in order to drive down infections and protect the NHS over the last year. I can assure you that everyone across Government wants to ease these restrictions as soon as possible.

However, it is important that we take a cautious approach in easing restrictions. We have followed the views of public health experts on singing. We are aware, through the NERVTAG and PERFORM studies that singing can increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission through the spread of aerosol droplets. This was backed up by a consensus statement from SAGE, resulting in the suggested principles of safer singing being published.

We will continue to keep guidance and restrictions under review, in line with the changing situation. Further detail on step 4 will be set out as soon as possible.

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if his Department will publish revised guidance to allow amateur singing groups to resume rehearsing and performing in a covid-secure way.

On 4 January the Prime Minister announced that new national restrictions would come into effect the following day in England to help stem the spread of coronavirus and the new variant strain of the virus. Guidance on the national restrictions advise that people should only leave home for a limited number of reasons and that people should travel to work only where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home. We have updated the Performing Arts Guidance to be clear that during this period all amateur activity including amateur choirs and orchestras, cannot take place.

We are committed to moving to stage 5 of the performing arts roadmap, for both professional and amater activity, as soon as it is safe to do so. However we have always been clear that the activity permitted would be in line with the latest public health context.

16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans he has to support the erection of a memorial to remember the victims of the Transatlantic slave trade and slavery.

It is not normal practice for central Government to fund new memorials and it has no current plans to establish a national memorial to the victims of the slave trade. Many organisations – public and private – are rightly able (subject to the relevant permissions) to freely propose, fund and deliver memorials marking a variety of incidents and historical moments in a way that they are best-placed to deem appropriate and sensitive.

Many successful memorials are created by a wide-range of authorities and organisations, allowing each one to respond sensitively to the particular circumstances that it seeks to commemorate.

Given the wide range of people and organisations interested in establishing memorials, it is as a general rule, for them to work with the relevant local planning authority to identify a suitable site and obtain the necessary planning permissions

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the report entitled Back on Track supporting young people out of lockdown, published by the YMCA in August 2020, if he will develop a strategy for children and young People’s recovery from covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown which targets (a) education, (b) reducing loneliness, (c) improving mental health, and (d) reducing family strain.

Ministers have received the YMCA report ‘Back On Track’ and will be carefully considering its contents.

The department is aware of the impact Covid-19 has had on young people. We have worked closely with both young people and the youth sector to understand the effects of the pandemic, and are considering how the £500 million Youth Investment Fund, alongside other government initiatives, can best support young people with the issues we know to have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

DCMS has also worked closely with departments across Whitehall to ensure rounded support for young people. The Department of Education has placed a particular focus on wellbeing support for children and young people during the pandemic and as young people return to school and college. This includes investing £8 million in the Wellbeing for Education Return training and advice programme, which will provide schools and colleges all over England with the knowledge and practical skills they need to support teachers, students and parents.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the proposals made by the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatres in their open letter to the Prime Minister, dated 17 June 2020.

To support the sustainability of the arts sector, including theatres, DCMS has worked closely with Arts Council England (ACE) to provide a tailored package of financial support. In March, ACE announced a £160m emergency response package to complement the financial measures already announced by the Government and to ensure immediate resilience of this vital sector.

This includes £20 million of financial support for individuals, including self-employed theatre practitioners, and £140 million of support for organisations, including theatres, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. To date over 9000 individuals and organisations have been successful in applying for this support.

DCMS has also established the Cultural Renewal Taskforce and the Entertainment and Events working group to ensure appropriate supporting guidance is given to the cultural sector. Theatres and stage-based entertainment organisations are represented on these groups, including via membership of UK Theatre/Society of London Theatre, which is on the Entertainment and Events working group.

Sector-specific expert input into the groups’ work, alongside DCMS’s wider extensive consultation with the Arts sector, is helping to ensure we fully understand the impacts of Covid-19 and remain well placed to respond as it develops.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support his Department is providing for theatres in Wycombe.

To support the sustainability of the arts sector, including theatres, DCMS has worked closely with Arts Council England (ACE) to provide a tailored package of financial support. In March, ACE announced a £160m emergency response package to complement the financial measures already announced by the Government and to ensure immediate resilience of this vital sector.

This includes £20 million of financial support for individuals, including self-employed theatre practitioners, and £140 million of support for organisations, including theatres, so they can better sustain themselves, and their work, in the coming months. To date over 9000 individuals and organisations have been successful in applying for this support.

DCMS has also established the Cultural Renewal Taskforce and the Entertainment and Events working group to ensure appropriate supporting guidance is given to the cultural sector. Theatres and stage-based entertainment organisations are represented on these groups, including via membership of UK Theatre/Society of London Theatre, which is on the Entertainment and Events working group.

Sector-specific expert input into the groups’ work, alongside DCMS’s wider extensive consultation with the Arts sector, is helping to ensure we fully understand the impacts of Covid-19 and remain well placed to respond as it develops.

24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, if he will take steps to support community radio stations through the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is strongly supportive of the community radio sector and recognises the great value that it offers to communities across the United Kingdom, in terms of providing quality local news, information and entertainment.

We recognise the challenges that some community stations are facing due to Covid-19 and are currently holding discussions with Ofcom and the Community Media Association (CMA) on possible options to provide urgent support for those stations in greatest need.

16th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of Government contracts for the provision of school breakfasts.

The government is committed to continuing support for school breakfast clubs in England and is further investing up to £24 million to continue our national programme for the next two years. This funding will support around 2,500 schools in disadvantaged areas in England, including opportunity areas. This means that thousands of children from low-income families will be offered free nutritious breakfasts to better support their attainment, wellbeing, and readiness to learn.

The breakfast clubs programme is operated by our provider Family Action.

Throughout the current contract we will be working with this provider to monitor different aspects of the current programme and its effectiveness on school breakfast provisions. We will consider the best opportunities to share information as it progresses.

The department made a £38 million investment in the National School Breakfast Programme between March 2018 and July 2021. This has helped to set up or improve breakfast clubs in up to 2,450 schools in disadvantaged areas and to sustain them in the longer term.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment his Department has made of the cost-effectiveness of the Music and Dance Scheme; and if he will make a statement.

The department has a long-term commitment to ensuring that high-quality dance and music education is not the preserve of the elite, but the entitlement of every single child.

The Music and Dance Scheme (MDS) allows exceptionally talented children to attend specialist music and dance education providers. The scheme provides bursaries and grants totalling around £30 million per annum to children and young people with exceptional potential, regardless of their personal circumstances, to benefit from world-class specialist music or dance training.

The department regularly assesses the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of all programmes, including the MDS. The department is working with MDS providers to improve the information collected from them each year, so future assessments can be improved.

Following the Spending Review, the department will continue to invest around £115 million per annum in cultural education over the next three years, though our music, arts and heritage programmes, and this includes the Music and Dance Scheme.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department has taken to improve ventilation in schools to inhibit the spread of covid-19.

On 21 August, the department announced that carbon dioxide monitors will be provided to all state-funded nurseries, schools, and colleges from September. Backed by a £25 million government investment, the new monitors will enable staff to act quickly where ventilation is poor and provide reassurance that existing ventilation measures are working.

The programme will provide nurseries, schools, and colleges with sufficient monitors to take representative readings from across the indoor spaces in their estate, assessing all spaces in a relatively short space of time. On 6 September, the department also provided new information to settings on how to use CO2 monitors to better manage ventilation.

The department has committed to supplying around 300,000 carbon dioxide monitors across England in the Autumn term. From 6 September, the department started to despatch carbon dioxide monitors to special schools and alternative provision, who have been prioritised to receive their full allocation given their higher-than-average numbers of vulnerable pupils.

The government has also launched a trial of air purifiers in 30 schools in Bradford, which is designed to assess the technology in schools and whether they could reduce the risk of transmission.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Education)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will conduct a review of the Apprenticeship Levy focused on what further potential flexibility for businesses can be introduced into the scheme.

In response to employer feedback, we are continuing to improve apprenticeships, making them more flexible for employers and making it easier for employers to make greater use of their levy funds.

The department is making it easier for large employers to transfer levy funds to support new starts in small businesses, or in a certain sector or region. On 13 September 2021, we launched a new online service to allow levy paying employers to advertise funding pledges, enabling a much wider range of businesses to browse and apply for available funds.

In addition, the department is making apprenticeships more flexible so that they better meet the needs of employers in all sectors. We are encouraging greater use of innovative apprenticeship training models, such as the front-loading of off-the-job training so apprentices can be productive from day one in the workplace. We are also developing accelerated apprenticeships so that apprentices with substantial prior learning from other skills programmes, such as traineeships and T Levels, can complete an apprenticeship more quickly.

In August, the department launched a new £7 million flexi-job apprenticeship fund to support greater use of apprenticeships in sectors, such as creative and construction, where flexible working practices are commonplace. Flexi-job apprenticeships will enable apprentices to move between different host employers in a sector or region as they complete the training requirements for their apprenticeship.

The department currently has no plans to review the apprenticeship levy and what funds can be spent on.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of year 12 and 13 pupils have (a) self-consented and (b) had their parents consent on their behalf to their being tested for covid-19 in their academic setting.

Schools are the individual data controllers responsible for processing any personal data, including obtaining and maintaining records of consent, for testing carried out on their sites. As part of testing, schools share data on tests carried out with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), at which point DHSC becomes the data controller. Therefore, the Department for Education does not hold the requested information.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of year 12 and 13 pupils have (a) not self-consented and (b) had their parents not consent on their behalf to their being tested for covid-19 in their academic setting.

Schools are the individual data controllers responsible for processing any personal data, including obtaining and maintaining records of consent, for testing carried out on their sites. As part of testing, schools share data on tests carried out with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), at which point DHSC becomes the data controller. Therefore, the Department for Education does not hold the requested information.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of year 7 to 11 secondary school pupils have had their parents abstain from giving permission to their being tested for covid-19 in school.

Schools are the individual data controllers responsible for processing any personal data, including obtaining and maintaining records of consent, for testing carried out on their sites. As part of testing, schools share data on tests carried out with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), at which point DHSC becomes the data controller. Therefore, the Department for Education does not hold the requested information.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of year 7 to 11 secondary school pupils have had their parents not consent to their being tested for covid-19 in school.

Schools are the individual data controllers responsible for processing any personal data, including obtaining and maintaining records of consent, for testing carried out on their sites. As part of testing, schools share data on tests carried out with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), at which point DHSC becomes the data controller. Therefore, the Department for Education does not hold the requested information.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what proportion of year 7 to 11 secondary school pupils have had their parents' consent to be tested for covid-19 in school.

Schools are the individual data controllers responsible for processing any personal data, including obtaining and maintaining records of consent, for testing carried out on their sites. As part of testing, schools share data on tests carried out with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), at which point DHSC becomes the data controller. Therefore, the Department for Education does not hold the requested information.

13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what progress the Government has made on mass lateral flow testing of university students; and if he will make a statement.

The Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care have worked in partnership with higher education (HE) institutions to deliver an asymptomatic mass testing programme to ensure that students could travel home from university in December and that students reading a subject listed within the guidance as essential in order to support the pipeline of future workers (as well as those with exemptions as outlined in guidance) can travel back to university safely and with confidence while protecting themselves, their friends, family and wider community.

Officials worked with the sector to ensure that almost all HE institutions were ready to provide 2 COVID-19 tests to students that returned in January 2021. I also wrote to Vice Chancellors on 21 January 2021, announcing that providers should commence regular ongoing lateral flow testing from 25 January 2021.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to deliver of covid- secure teaching without the use of (a) facemasks and (b) social distancing at special educational needs and disability schools during the covid-19 outbreak.

The guidance entitled ‘full opening: special schools and other specialist settings’ includes details on how settings should put in place proportionate ‘System of Control’ measures to minimise the risk of transmission, including advice on the use of face masks and managing social distancing. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings. Relevant for all specialist settings, this guidance is informed by advice from Public Health England and is updated, as necessary, to reflect current advice. Based on current evidence and the measures that settings have already put in place, such as the system of controls and consistent bubbles, face coverings will not be necessary in the classroom even where full social distancing is not possible. Face coverings could have a negative impact on teaching and their use in the classroom should currently be avoided.

Mainstream and special schools that teach children in years 7 and above, and which are under tier 1 local restrictions, may decide to recommend the wearing of face coverings for pupils and adults in indoor communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain. When an area moves to tier 2 or 3 local restrictions, face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils in year 7 and above in communal areas, and when moving around the premises outside of classrooms. This does not apply to those of any age who are exempt, such as those who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical impairment or disability, illness or mental health difficulties.

Primary school head teachers have the discretion to require adults to wear face coverings in indoor situations where social distancing is difficult to maintain. Primary-aged school children do not need to wear a face covering.

We recognise that maintaining distance or forming bubbles could be particularly difficult in special schools, particularly given the need for staff to administer care and provide therapies to children and young people. However, the average number of pupils or students attending a special school is much lower than the average number in a mainstream school, and this, in itself, will help to limit the number of contacts for any individual.

Our guidance, entitled ’Safe working in education, childcare and children’s social care settings, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE)’ provides further support on preventing and controlling infection, including the use of PPE in education, childcare and children’s social care settings during the COVID-19 outbreak. This guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care/safe-working-in-education-childcare-and-childrens-social-care-settings-including-the-use-of-personal-protective-equipment-ppe#what-care-should-be-taken-in-residential-settings-including-residential-schools-residential-special-schools-and-childrens-care-homes.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy under his Department's restructuring regime to enable (a) Buckinghamshire New University and (b) other financially strong higher education institutions to assist nearby institutions in financial difficulty; and if he will make a statement.

The government recognises the value of the higher education sector and that a high level of uncertainty remains around the scale of problems that higher education providers, as a whole and individually, may face in the coming academic year. We have been working closely with the higher education sector, in the Higher Education Taskforce, as well as with the Office for Students (OfS) and across the government to understand the financial risks that providers are facing and to help providers to access the support on offer. Providers with concerns about their financial viability or sustainability have been encouraged to contact the OfS at the earliest opportunity. They can now also directly contact the department’s Restructuring Unit at:
HE.RestructuringRegime@education.gov.uk.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced further information about the Higher Education Restructuring Regime on 16 July and more details are available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/higher-education-restructuring-regime.

This may be deployed as a last resort, if a decision has been made to support a provider in England, when other steps to preserve a provider’s viability and to mitigate the risks of financial failure have not proved sufficient. The overarching objectives that will guide the department’s assessment of cases will be to protect the welfare of current students, to preserve the sector’s internationally outstanding science base and to support the role that higher education providers play in regional and local economies through the provision of high-quality courses aligned with economic and societal needs.

We will consider providers’ circumstances on a case-by-case basis, supported by expert advice, to ensure there is a robust value-for-money case for intervention. In cases where an Independent Business Review is carried out, the resulting restructuring plan may include options for a merger as well as for consolidation and services sharing between providers. The department’s Restructuring Unit will work with the provider and other stakeholders to ensure that the best option forward is chosen to ensure that the overarching objectives, as mentioned previously, are met.

Regarding the circumstances of Buckinghamshire New University, the government does not comment on individual higher education providers.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the boarding fee income forgone by individual state boarding schools during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Many boarding schools have been impacted by loss of income from a range of sources including boarding fees, catering and sports facilities. While these schools have, in some cases, been able to benefit from schemes such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, in line with guidance on the GOV.UK website (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care), many have still been left facing financial challenges.

The Department continues its work to monitor and support the financial health of the whole education sector and the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak is a crucial part of that.

The Department supports academy trusts facing financial difficulties through the existing framework for financial support (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/financial-support-for-academy-trusts-in-financial-difficulty), which enables academies to approach the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) for additional financial support.

A temporary measure has also been agreed that enables academy trusts to apply to the ESFA to use their general unrestricted reserves to support boarding provision in response to these circumstances.

In the case of maintained schools, schools should discuss with their local authority to make sure their use of unrestricted reserves complies with the local authority’s accounting requirements.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on state boarding schools' finances of lost boarding fees as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Many boarding schools have been impacted by loss of income from a range of sources including boarding fees, catering and sports facilities. While these schools have, in some cases, been able to benefit from schemes such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, in line with guidance on the GOV.UK website (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care), many have still been left facing financial challenges.

The Department continues its work to monitor and support the financial health of the whole education sector and the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak is a crucial part of that.

The Department supports academy trusts facing financial difficulties through the existing framework for financial support (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/financial-support-for-academy-trusts-in-financial-difficulty), which enables academies to approach the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) for additional financial support.

A temporary measure has also been agreed that enables academy trusts to apply to the ESFA to use their general unrestricted reserves to support boarding provision in response to these circumstances.

In the case of maintained schools, schools should discuss with their local authority to make sure their use of unrestricted reserves complies with the local authority’s accounting requirements.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to provide financial assistance to state boarding schools who have lost boarding fees to support them through the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Many boarding schools have been impacted by loss of income from a range of sources including boarding fees, catering and sports facilities. While these schools have, in some cases, been able to benefit from schemes such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, in line with guidance on the GOV.UK website (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-education-early-years-and-childrens-social-care), many have still been left facing financial challenges.

The Department continues its work to monitor and support the financial health of the whole education sector and the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak is a crucial part of that.

The Department supports academy trusts facing financial difficulties through the existing framework for financial support (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/financial-support-for-academy-trusts-in-financial-difficulty), which enables academies to approach the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) for additional financial support.

A temporary measure has also been agreed that enables academy trusts to apply to the ESFA to use their general unrestricted reserves to support boarding provision in response to these circumstances.

In the case of maintained schools, schools should discuss with their local authority to make sure their use of unrestricted reserves complies with the local authority’s accounting requirements.

23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to ensure state boarding resumes in September 2020; and if he will make a statement.

We want to get all children and young people back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows because it is the best place for them to learn, and because we know how important it is for their mental wellbeing to have social interactions with their peers, carers and teachers.

We are working to bring all children and young people, including those at boarding schools, back into education in September.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on capital funding for family hubs.

We are working with councils to champion family hubs. We have commissioned research from the Early Intervention Foundation to learn from effective local practice, which will be reported in spring 2020. We are exploring what other steps could support the family hub model.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has announced additional funding of up to £165 million to extend the Troubled Families Programme for an extra year. This will mean more people in need get access to the programme's early, practical and coordinated support to transform their lives for the better.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if the Government will make it its policy to include family hubs as part of its (a) early years strategy, (b) Troubled Families programme and (c) children's services reform; and if he will make a statement.

We are working with councils to champion family hubs. We have commissioned research from the Early Intervention Foundation to learn from effective local practice, which will be reported in spring 2020. We are exploring what other steps could support the family hub model.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has announced additional funding of up to £165 million to extend the Troubled Families Programme for an extra year. This will mean more people in need get access to the programme's early, practical and coordinated support to transform their lives for the better.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has commissioned independent research on the potential dangers arising from trifluoroacetic acid that has leaked into the environment.

The Government has no current plans to commission independent research on this topic. Evidence tells us that the primary source of trifluoroacetic acid in the environment is believed to be through atmospheric oxidation of the CFC-replacement gases, HCFC-123 and HFC-134a, though various fluorochemicals have the potential to degrade to trifluoroacetic acid.

Trifluoroacetic acid is one of a group of thousands of substances collectively called poly- and per-fluorinated substances (PFAS), which are highly persistent in the environment. As a group they are being considered under a risk management options analysis under UK chemical regulation (UK REACH). The Environment Agency also considered Trifluoroacetic acid as part of its priority and early warning system for chemicals.

My Department has had no discussions with the German Federal Environment Agency regarding their reports on trifluoroacetic acid but is aware of its monitoring approach.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department (a) is in discussions with the German Federal Environment Agency to obtain further information on that Agency's reports of leakage of trifluoroacetic acid (TFA) into German water supplies from heat pumps and air conditioning and (b) has made an assessment of whether those reports of leakage of TFA into German water supplies have implications for the Government’s plans with regards to heat pumps.

The Government has no current plans to commission independent research on this topic. Evidence tells us that the primary source of trifluoroacetic acid in the environment is believed to be through atmospheric oxidation of the CFC-replacement gases, HCFC-123 and HFC-134a, though various fluorochemicals have the potential to degrade to trifluoroacetic acid.

Trifluoroacetic acid is one of a group of thousands of substances collectively called poly- and per-fluorinated substances (PFAS), which are highly persistent in the environment. As a group they are being considered under a risk management options analysis under UK chemical regulation (UK REACH). The Environment Agency also considered Trifluoroacetic acid as part of its priority and early warning system for chemicals.

My Department has had no discussions with the German Federal Environment Agency regarding their reports on trifluoroacetic acid but is aware of its monitoring approach.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the cost of prohibiting the use of modern refrigerants including unsaturated hydrofluorocarbons in heat pumps, and replacing them with natural refrigerants such as ammonia, carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons.

Unsaturated hydrofluorocarbons, also known as hydrofluoro-olefins (HFOs), are used increasingly in products and equipment such as heat pumps as replacements for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) due to their much lower Global Warming Potential.

HFCs are powerful greenhouse gases and their use is being phased down under legislation. We are reviewing that legislation to see whether we can go further in support of the UK’s net zero target. As part of the review, we will assess the availability, feasibility, and cost-effectiveness of all alternatives to HFCs, including HFOs and natural refrigerants.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential for (a) consumer confusion, (b) material substitution and (c) other unintended consequences if a limited number of packaging materials are included in the proposed Deposit Return Scheme.

The Government is committed to introducing a world leading Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for drinks containers. We expect the introduction of a DRS to deter littering of in-scope containers; increase recycling of in-scope containers; provide higher quality recyclate for reprocessors; and influence consumer behaviours with potential knock-on effects to other environmental activities.

We have now consulted twice on introducing a DRS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and are analysing the responses to the second consultation, including those on scope and materials, with a view to publishing a government response later this year. An impact assessment for the introduction of the scheme will also be published alongside the Government response.

In developing proposals, the government have considered the inclusion of cartons in the scheme. However, the recent consultation proposed that cartons would not be captured by DRS and instead could be collected through kerbside collections. Cartons could be included in the core list of materials to be collected in the dry recyclable waste streams, and producers could pay for disposal of the packaging through the reformed packaging producer responsibility regime.

We continue to assess the implications of which materials are included and excluded from the DRS, including any possible confusion this could cause. This includes drawing on evidence and findings from international DRS schemes to inform the final design and scope of a DRS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

No specific assessment has been made by the Government on material substitution but it is something we will continue to consider in finalising the DRS scope.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of studies and trials undertaken in other countries which examine the feasibility of including carton packages in Deposit Return Schemes.

The Government is committed to introducing a world leading Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for drinks containers. We expect the introduction of a DRS to deter littering of in-scope containers; increase recycling of in-scope containers; provide higher quality recyclate for reprocessors; and influence consumer behaviours with potential knock-on effects to other environmental activities.

We have now consulted twice on introducing a DRS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and are analysing the responses to the second consultation, including those on scope and materials, with a view to publishing a government response later this year. An impact assessment for the introduction of the scheme will also be published alongside the Government response.

In developing proposals, the government have considered the inclusion of cartons in the scheme. However, the recent consultation proposed that cartons would not be captured by DRS and instead could be collected through kerbside collections. Cartons could be included in the core list of materials to be collected in the dry recyclable waste streams, and producers could pay for disposal of the packaging through the reformed packaging producer responsibility regime.

We continue to assess the implications of which materials are included and excluded from the DRS, including any possible confusion this could cause. This includes drawing on evidence and findings from international DRS schemes to inform the final design and scope of a DRS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

No specific assessment has been made by the Government on material substitution but it is something we will continue to consider in finalising the DRS scope.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will use the introduction of a UK Deposit Return Scheme to create a world-leading system that (a) covers all materials and (b) ensures higher (i) collection and (ii) recycle rates across all materials.

The Government is committed to introducing a world leading Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for drinks containers. We expect the introduction of a DRS to deter littering of in-scope containers; increase recycling of in-scope containers; provide higher quality recyclate for reprocessors; and influence consumer behaviours with potential knock-on effects to other environmental activities.

We have now consulted twice on introducing a DRS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and are analysing the responses to the second consultation, including those on scope and materials, with a view to publishing a government response later this year. An impact assessment for the introduction of the scheme will also be published alongside the Government response.

In developing proposals, the government have considered the inclusion of cartons in the scheme. However, the recent consultation proposed that cartons would not be captured by DRS and instead could be collected through kerbside collections. Cartons could be included in the core list of materials to be collected in the dry recyclable waste streams, and producers could pay for disposal of the packaging through the reformed packaging producer responsibility regime.

We continue to assess the implications of which materials are included and excluded from the DRS, including any possible confusion this could cause. This includes drawing on evidence and findings from international DRS schemes to inform the final design and scope of a DRS in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

No specific assessment has been made by the Government on material substitution but it is something we will continue to consider in finalising the DRS scope.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the risk to groundwater and drinking water from trifluoroacetic acid (TFA) and trifluoroacetate resulting from refrigerants used in air-conditioning and in heat pumps.

Trifluoroacetic acid (TFA) is one of a group of thousands of substances collectively called poly- and per-fluorinated substances (PFAS), which are highly persistent in the environment. As a group they are being considered under a risk management options analysis under UK chemical regulation (UK REACH). The Environment Agency (EA) also considers TFA as part of its priority and early warning system for chemicals.

We are aware of some concerns raised about TFA and trifluoroacetate in relation to the breakdown of certain refrigerants, in particular hydrofluoro-olefins (HFOs). HFOs are used increasingly as replacements for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) due to their much lower Global Warming Potential.

HFCs are powerful greenhouse gases and their use is being phased down. Defra is reviewing the legislation covering HFCs to ascertain whether we can go further in support of the UK's net zero target. This will include assessing the adequacy of existing leak prevention, detection and repair measures, as well as the possibility of reducing further the use of HFCs.

The 2018 UN Montreal Protocol Environmental Effects Assessment Panel (EEAP) report concluded there was minimal risk to human health or the environment from TFA from HFOs used as refrigerants. However, we continue to monitor the latest scientific assessments and will take on board their conclusions, including as part of our review.

Activities with the potential to impact upon the quality of groundwater are regulated through the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 (EPR). The EPR provide for ongoing supervision and control by the EA to ensure that groundwater activities are only permitted to operate where the risks to groundwater are well understood and mitigated. The EA does not currently monitor TFA in groundwater.

Refrigerants used in ground source heat pumps are designed and installed to be contained within closed loop systems having no connection to the surrounding environment. Should any evidence show that systems have leaked, the EA has powers to serve notices requiring remediation of any impacted groundwater, surface water or soils.

Drinking water quality is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

The Drinking Water Regulations require that, in order to be considered “wholesome”, drinking water must not contain any substance at a level which would constitute a potential danger to human health.

The topic of PFAS substances is not new. The Drinking Water Inspectorate has provided guidance to water companies since 2009 and this has recently been updated to reflect current knowledge. The guidance requires water companies to ensure these chemicals are adequately considered in their risk assessments. Should the EA find evidence to suggest that the closed loop systems have leaked, it will inform relevant water companies of any potential risk, and the water companies will consider initiating monitoring for the chemicals at any of their works where appropriate.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking under the Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill to improve the health of (a) rivers and (b) other inland waters.

The Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill is a Private Members' Bill sponsored by my Rt Hon Friend the Member for Ludlow. The Government is very supportive of the intentions of the Bill. With regard to measures to improve the health of rivers and other inland waters, the Government remains committed to bringing at least three quarters of our waters to as close as possible to their natural state as soon as is practicable. In support of this, we will be bringing forward a further legally binding target as part of the targets setting processes set out in the Environment Bill.

Sewage management by some water companies and diffuse pollution from agriculture are the two biggest sources of pollution affecting England's water environment. Through regulation, enforcement, financial incentives and educational schemes, we are improving poor farming practices which lead to water pollution. Our new Environmental Land Management scheme will be a critical part of that.

With regard to sewage pollution, water companies are committed in the five-year business planning period (2020-2025) to a significant programme of improvements to the monitoring and management of storm overflows at a cost of around £1.2 billion. However, I recognise that there is more to do. I met water company CEOs in September and made clear that the volumes of sewage discharged into rivers and other waterways in extreme weather must be reduced. To achieve this, I have set up a new Taskforce bringing together the Government, the water industry, regulators and environmental NGOs. This Taskforce will set out clear proposals to address the volumes of sewage discharged into our rivers. The Taskforce is also exploring further short-term actions water companies can take to accelerate progress on storm overflows.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he is taking steps to implement the conclusions of the paper entitled, Wildlife Licencing in England: Chaos, Crisis and Cure, published by the Countryside Alliance, National Gamekeepers’ Association and the Moorland Association on 29 May 2020; and if he will make a statement.

The paper calls for a feasibility study into Defra taking back control of individual licensing from Natural England (NE).

Last spring, following a legal challenge by Wild Justice which led NE to revoke three general licences for the lethal control of wild birds, the then Secretary of State decided to take responsibility for granting the relevant general licences under s16(1) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. He considered it appropriate to take over this function, recognising the scale of interest and concern that had been generated by the decision to revoke. Defra issued new interim general licences on 14 June 2019, and launched a review to inform longer-term licensing arrangements. At the time, wild bird control on and near European sites and lethal control of gulls had to be excluded from those interim licences, and has been regulated since then via individual licence by NE.

I appreciate the frustrations expressed in the report regarding individual licensing, and the Secretary of State is working closely with NE to ensure that these issues are resolved as quickly as possible. NE has received a very high number of applications for control of the two gull species and for control of other species on protected sites. NE has invested in its capacity to address the anticipated increase in licence applications. However, the information provided in a significant number (approximately 90%) of applications has not been sufficient to make informed decisions. The process of requesting and processing outstanding information from applicants has added considerably to the timescale needed to determine licence applications. We would expect this number to decrease in future years as applicants become better acquainted with the level of information required, and as wild bird control on European sites is brought back within the general licence following the review.

Defra and NE are committed to achieving a licensing regime for wild birds which is both robust and workable for users. Our review is seeking to achieve this based on extensive evidence review and consultation with stakeholders.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what recent assessment she has made of the impact of container shipping prices on UK trade; and if she will make a statement.

High consumer demand and sustained disruption caused by Covid-19 has put pressure on global freight capacity which has resulted in demand for shipping containers outstripping supply. This has caused an increase in the cost of freight transport globally. Higher prices have impacted UK trade causing disruption for businesses and individuals. DIT has supported DfT in working with the shipping industry to mitigate disruption. DIT is also engaging with affected businesses and continues to monitor the impact of rising shipping prices on international trade.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will remove Pakistan from the covid-19 red list of countries; and if he will make a statement.

Decisions on Red, Amber or Green List assignment and associated border measures are taken by Ministers, who take into account Joint Biosecurity Centre risk assessments of countries and territories, alongside wider public health factors.

Further engagement is planned between senior officials and Pakistan’s officials. This is in part to further understand the strategies employed by Pakistan, and to establish stable and long-term access to the outcome of Pakistan’s in-country genomic surveillance and sequencing.

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

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the full scientific advice that the Government has received to support the current Government advice against travel to amber list countries for leisure purposes.

The Government has always been clear that we are taking a cautious approach in restarting international travel in order to protect public health and our domestic COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Evidence shows that transmissibility of COVID-19 variants of concern and the virus is significantly lower for people who have had both doses of the COVID-19 vaccination. Consequently, the success of our vaccination programme means that the blanket message for people not to travel to amber countries will be removed from 19 July.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish an assessment of the effect on (a) local prices and (b) local building site productivity of HS2 Ltd pre-purchasing stocks of stone and aggregates, steel, timber and other building materials and supplies; and if he will make a statement.

We are aware of price fluctuations of key construction materials, fuelled by high demand from the construction sector as it recovers strongly from the pandemic combined with decreases in global supplies.

HS2 Ltd, the Department for Transport, and colleagues at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy are monitoring this closely, but do not have any information to suggest that HS2 is having a material impact on material availability or pricing at this time.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will record road casualty data from electric scooters in his Department’s publications separately from other modes of transport and not include them within the motorcycle casualty statistics.

Data on personal injury road accidents is collected via the STATS19 system of accidents reported by the police.

Electric scooters and other micromobility vehicles are not currently one of the designated vehicle types collected in STATS19, and as such they would be classed as ‘other’ and can only be identified using a free text field in the STATS19 database.

Data for 2020 are currently being collated and validated. Subject to the data recorded in the free text field being of sufficient quality, we intend to publish data on e-scooters and other vehicle types which can be reliably identified from the free text field alongside the annual Reported Road Casualties Great Britain statistics publication in September 2021.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to restore confidence in domestic coach travel as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

As the country progresses safely through the steps of the roadmap (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021-summary), the Government will continue to engage with coach operators to assess how it can support the sector’s recovery. The Government is also planning to bring forward a Tourism Recovery Plan in the Spring. This will provide further detail on how the Government will support the UK tourism sector, with measures that will be applicable to many sub-sectors, including coach travel.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what impact assessment the DVSA has undertaken to ensure people living on a low income in Wycombe are not disadvantaged by having to travel to a test centre with a round trip distance of over 30 miles.

The DVSA is communicating with a range of stakeholders, including instructors, to factor in all considerations as it develops its options for the provision of driving tests in High Wycombe.

It is typical for a candidate to have a 1 hour driving lesson prior to their driving test, which can include the drive to the test centre.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the evidential basis for his Department’s claim on 1 December 2020, in relation to driving test centres, that Slough and Uxbridge are the nearest test centres to High Wycombe with a travel time of under 30 minutes for either test centre.

The information is taken from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s booking & customer mapping data.

The 2019/20 mapping data shows High Wycombe customers come from 164 different postcode areas, some of which are very close to Slough test centre and Uxbridge test centre.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department plans to take following the proposed closure of High Wycombe driving test centre to prevent excess travel by local driving instructors and students to test centres with round trip distances of over 30 miles.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has held virtual meetings with local approved driving instructors in the High Wycombe area regarding the site closure, the nearest test centres, and possible alternative test centre locations.

The DVSA continues to make enquiries to determine the suitability and viability of an alternative hub space option at Cressex Business Park to ensure it can accommodate operational suitability, instructor and candidate welfare, local planning and highways legislation.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what impact assessment the DVSA has undertaken on the financial effect on driving instructors in High Wycombe when considering the decision to close the driving test centre in High Wycombe.

The DVSA is communicating with a range of stakeholders, including instructors, to factor in all considerations as it develops its options for the provision of driving tests in High Wycombe.

Not all driving instructors operate in the direct vicinity of test centres.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the viability of alternative driving test centre premises proposed by local driving instructors to the DVSA in High Wycombe; and if he will make a statement.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has been working closely with local approved driving instructors and customers in High Wycombe to identify a possible alternative location for driving tests in the area.

It is currently assessing the proposed site at Cressex Business Park to determine its suitability. The DVSA is also reviewing other considerations such as the welfare of instructors and candidates, local planning and highways legislation.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of providing a mobile driving test site in High Wycombe.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) aim to is to provide a service that meets the needs of its customers in every area, whilst providing value for money. The DVSA has work underway to further modernise its services, which includes the driving test provision. Different options are under active consideration for the Hon Member’s constituency.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has in place to ensure that learners taking a driving test in High Wycombe are able to take a test locally after the driving test centre is closed in spring 2021; and if he will make a statement.

Test centres at Aylesbury, Slough and Uxbridge have the capacity to meet the extra demand for testing once the centre at High Wycombe closes on 12 March 2021. Driving examiners currently carrying out tests at High Wycombe will carry out tests at these other centres.

Slough and Uxbridge are the nearest test centres to High Wycombe with a travel time of under 30 minutes for either test centre.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reason the driving test centre in High Wycombe has closed; and if he will make a statement.

It is important customers are provided with a value for money service. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has taken the decision to cease driver testing at High Wycombe as the low demand for tests and the cost of the driving test centre lease is not a good use of public money.

Learner drivers will be able to receive a good service from the centres in Aylesbury, Slough and Uxbridge, which have the capacity to meet the extra demand for testing as the examiners who conducted tests at High Wycombe will be based in these nearby sites instead.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he will take to support employees of British Airways in response to the proposed restructuring of the business; and if he will make a statement.

The recent announcements about redundancies by British Airways will no doubt be very distressing for employees and their families. Both the Secretary of State and I have spoken directly to IAG’s Chief Executive, Willie Walsh, to discuss the organisation’s plans for engagement with staff and union representatives. I have offered to support these engagement efforts, where appropriate to do so, and have also encouraged the company to go beyond its minimum legal obligations in supporting its employees.

I will continue to encourage BA and unions to engage constructively with each other, striving to provide employees with as much certainty as possible during this challenging time.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he will take to prevent job loses in the aviation sector.

The aviation sector is able to draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor. These measures include: HMRC’s Time to Pay flexibilities with tax bills, including VAT deferrals; HMT and the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility; the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme for large and small businesses; and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which provides financial support for employees. Employers in the aviation sector can apply for a grant that covers 80% of furloughed employees’ usual monthly wage costs, up to £2500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions.

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

25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to recognise and promote in Government transport communications the role of motorcycles and scooters as a socially-distanced and sustainable mode of transport during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department’s guidance issued on 12 May refers to “Private cars and other vehicles” as an alternative to using public transport, and encourages the public to “consider all other forms of transport before using public transport”. This would include private vehicles such as motorcycles and mopeds where the journey to be made is appropriate.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to mandate local authorities to allow motorcycle and scooter access in combined bus and cycle routes.

Local traffic authorities already have powers to allow motorcycles to use bus lanes in their areas, and to provide dedicated parking facilities for them. It is for them to decide what is appropriate for roads in their area. In making these decisions they will need to consider how to balance the needs of local residents, emergency services, local business and those who work in and visit the area.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to mandate local authorities to provide secure two-wheeler parking that can be used by both motorcyclists and cyclists.

Local traffic authorities already have powers to allow motorcycles to use bus lanes in their areas, and to provide dedicated parking facilities for them. It is for them to decide what is appropriate for roads in their area. In making these decisions they will need to consider how to balance the needs of local residents, emergency services, local business and those who work in and visit the area.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will extend the Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2000 exemption period for private school coaches from July 2020 to July 2025; and if he will make a statement.

Operators, local authorities and education establishments have had almost twenty years to comply with the Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2000.

Government has offered temporary exemptions for certain statutory and school procured services whilst compliant vehicles are procured, which will ensure that children are still able to get to and from their place of education.

We are currently liaising with stakeholders to understand the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the ability of operators to comply and what further support might be required.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of steps taken by engineering companies involved in high speed 2 to ensure participation of women in engineering; and if he will make a statement.

HS2 Ltd is an award winning employer in relation to equality, diversity and inclusion and is recognised as a sector leader in relation to exemplar equality, diversity and inclusion practices. HS2 Ltd’s engineering staff sit within the Construction and Infrastructure directorates. As of February 2020, women represented 27 and 29 percent of these directorates respectively, compared to averages of 13 and 17 percent in the wider construction and infrastructure sectors. (In February 2020, 37 percent of HS2 Ltd’s total employees were women.)

HS2 Ltd sets stringent equality, diversity and inclusion requirements for the supply chain which are monitored at each stage of the procurement process and results are reported bi-annually. Currently, the representation of women on all major HS2 contracts exceeds industry averages. HS2 Ltd also publishes the EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) annual report which is available on the HS2 Ltd website (www.gov.uk/hs2).

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to ensure the CAP1616 airspace design change process supports (a) general aviation, (b) gliding and (c) parachuting in the UK.

The government’s overarching policy on airspace change is set out in the Air Navigation Directions 2017 and reflected in the Civil Aviation Authority’s CAP1616 airspace change process.

The Directions were amended in October 2019 to help support general aviation in the UK, and a further amendment to provide additional assistance is due shortly.

The objective is for the UK to be the best place in the world to undertake general aviation-related activities in order to inspire the next generation of pilots, engineers and designers, and an appropriate airspace change process is crucial to ensuring this.

Grant Shapps
Secretary of State for Transport
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will review the exclusion of lithium-ion batteries for grid storage from the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015.

The Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015 (COMAH) apply to dangerous substances as classified by the Classification, Labelling and Packaging Regulations 2008. Lithium-ion batteries are considered to be articles, rather than substances, and are therefore outside of the scope of the COMAH.

The Health and Safety Executive considers that the current regulatory framework is sufficient and suitably robust in relation to lithium-ion batteries and battery energy storage systems.

Of particular relevance are the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations which set minimum requirements for the protection of workers and others from fire and explosion risks; the Electricity at Work Regulations which require precautions to be taken against the risk of death or personal injury from electricity in work activities; and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations which require risks to be assessed and appropriately managed. In addition, for large scale battery storage, there are statutory requirements to notify the Fire and Rescue Service to inform their emergency response planning.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to publish the findings from the review, announced in July 2019, on how the welfare system supports people who are terminally ill.

The evaluation remains a priority for the Department. The Department has made good progress and we expect to be able to provide an update on the outcome of the evaluation shortly.

5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make it her policy to exempt people of state pension age in receipt of disability living allowance from further reassessments for that allowance; and if she will make a statement.

Everyone who was in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) on 8 April 2013 and was under the age of 65 will be invited to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP), even if they are over the age of 65 when invited to claim. We have no plans to change these rules as we complete reassessment activity for adult DLA recipients.

DLA recipients who were 65 or over on 8 April 2013 will not be invited to claim PIP and will remain on DLA for as long as the entitlement conditions remain satisfied.

12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to require unvaccinated UK citizens returning from abroad to take two PCR tests as an alternative to the ten day quarantine.

There are no plans to do so at present, although we continue to keep all policies under review.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to lay regulations to rescind Schedules 21 and 22 of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

Following the third six-month review of the Coronavirus Act 2020 in September 2021, the Government proposed that a number of provisions, including section 51 (Schedule 21) and section 52 (Schedule 22) be expired early, in line with the commitment to ensure only powers deemed necessary and proportionate remain in force. Expiry regulations were laid on 27 October.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will set out the conditions that must be reached for him to stop the operation of NHS Test and Trace.

NHS Test and Trace remains critical to our plan for managing the virus in the autumn and winter. We continue to keep all elements of our COVID-19 response under review, taking into account the latest scientific and medical advice.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will set a date on which he will stop the operation of NHS Test and Trace.

The NHS Test and Trace service remains critical to the Government’s plan for managing the virus. Decisions on the continuation of the service will be made in due course.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps a British national who received the covid-19 vaccination overseas must undertake to add their inoculation records to the NHS App.

Since 30 September, a pilot has been in place for overseas vaccinations to be recorded on the National Immunisation Management System (NIMS) and the NHS COVID Pass. The Vaccine Data Resolution Service contacts patients with overseas vaccinations in their health records to attend a regional centre to present evidence of their vaccination and to receive any additional doses required.

The pilot initially involved three vaccination sites in England with more open since 11 October. By the end of October, there will be one site in every region in England offering this service. Currently any Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Janssen or Moderna vaccinations administered by the European Medicines Agency, the Food and Drug Administration or Swissmedic can be recorded on the NHS COVID Pass.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has (a) funded or (b) has plans to fund the development of the antiviral treatment for covid-19 Pfizer’s PF-07321332/Ritonavir.

We have monitored company trials and development of a number of antivirals including Pfizer’s PF-07321332/Ritonavir but are not funding development. We are in contact with a number of manufacturers to ensure that United Kingdom patients have access to COVID-19 antivirals as evidence emerges.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department is (a) funding or (b) plans to fund the development of emerging covid-19 antibody therapy drugs (i) Ronapreve, (ii) Sotrovimab and (iii) AstraZeneca’s AZD7442.

We are monitoring clinical trials and development of monoclonal antibodies including Ronapreve, Sotrovimab and AZD7442.

Ronapreve was part of the Government supported RECOVERY trial and in August the Medicines and althcare products Regulatory Agency approved Ronapreve as the first neutralising monoclonal antibody combination product for use in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom. While we have not funded the development of Sotrovimab or AZD7442, company-funded trials for AZD7442 were prioritised by the National Institute for Health Research as urgent public health COVID-19 studies.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish a breakdown of the cost of £2285 for Government-approved covid-19 quarantine hotels.

The notional costing from 12 August based on the charge of £2,285 is comprised of: room and board £1,217; security £651; testing £96; liaison £69; airport costs £92; welfare costs £51; transport £38; administration £49; and ‘other’ and contingency £22.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the two-monthly report on the status of the provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 published on 21 July 2021, what recent assessment he has made of the merits and demerits of maintaining powers under (a) section 52 and (b) Schedule 22 of that Act.

The Government intends to expire section 52 and Schedule 22 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 as it pertains to England.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the two-monthly report on the status of the provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020 published on 21 July 2021, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits and demerits of maintaining powers under (a) section 51 and (b) Schedule 21 of that Act.

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his timetable is commencement of the national flu immunisation programme for 2021 to 2022.

The national flu immunisation programme commenced on 1 September 2021.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the number of daily non-covid-19 deaths for as long as he publishes the number of daily deaths from covid-19 in England.

While Public Health England publishes the number of daily deaths following a positive test for COVID-19, monthly mortality analysis and data on daily deaths is published by the Office for National Statistics.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of people there were who tested positive for covid-19 on Day 2 tests after returning to England from Portugal for each day in the period that country was on the Green list.

This information is not held in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the data collected on the dashboard developed by Public Health England for purposes of (a) identifying and (b) monitoring trends in Trust-level hospital onset cases of covid-19 in patients; and if he will make a statement.

The National Health Service publish weekly reports by trust on the number of hospitalised patients with COVID-19, including those on mechanical ventilation; the number of patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19; and the number of patients diagnosed in hospital with COVID-19. These reports are available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-hospital-activity/

In addition, national and regional data on the daily number of hospitalisations, new admissions and inpatient cases and patients on mechanical ventilation is available at the following link:

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he will set out plans on the closure of NHS Test and Trace; and if he will make a statement.

The full range of responsibilities delivered by NHS Test and Trace are being transferred into the United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKSHA). As NHS Test and Trace transfers into UKHSA, we are planning against a range of scenarios for the trajectory of the pandemic and assessing the appropriate test, trace and self-isolation response. We anticipate testing, tracing and self-isolation requirements to reduce as prevalence reduces. The UKHSA will be fully functional by 1 October.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate he has made of the volume of single-use plastics consumed through (a) PCR and (b) lateral flow covid-19 tests; and if he will make a statement.

We have not made a formal assessment. However, NHS Test and Trace continues to work on exploring alternatives to current lateral flow devices which are as safe and effective but are made of predominantly recyclable or biodegradable materials.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's most recent estimate is of the covid-19 infection fatality rate.

As of 15 July, Public Health England’s modelling group, with the MRC Biostats Unit, estimated that overall infection mortality rate is approximately 0.096%.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of how British nationals studying abroad may add their inoculation records to the NHS App for when they return to the UK after having been vaccinated against covid-19 in the foreign country where they reside.

The NHS App can only display vaccinations delivered in England. Once a British national returns from abroad, they will need to contact their general practitioner who will have guidance about what can be used to verify that a person has received a vaccine dose and ensure this is represented on their vaccination history.

There are a large variety of COVID-19 vaccines being administered worldwide. Work is ongoing, including with international partners, to determine which non-United Kingdom vaccines can be recognised.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the (a) Joint Biosecurity Centre’s risk assessment data for the entire covid-19 traffic light list and (b) risk assessment status of all countries and destinations on those green, amber and red lists.

Decisions to place countries on the ‘red’, ‘amber’ or ‘green’ lists are taken by Ministers informed by evidence, including the Joint Biosecurity Centre’s (JBC) risk assessments alongside other wider public health factors. We are unable to provide the advice, evidence and methodology which informs these decisions as it relates to the on-going development of Government policy. However, further information on the data informing international travel risk assessments is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/data-informing-international-travel-risk-assessments

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to (a) create catch-up non-covid vaccination programs for children vulnerable to serious childhood diseases and (b) protect children's vaccination services against the risk of disruption by unseen events in the future.

The majority of National Health Service immunisation services were maintained throughout the COVID-19 response and time-critical routine immunisations administered in primary care continued to be delivered. However, the delivery of schools-based immunisation programmes have been rescheduled when schools reopened and we have raised awareness of the ongoing availability of NHS immunisations and the importance of keeping up to date with routine childhood immunisations.

Children’s vaccination services will continue to be maintained. The NHS ensures accurate information on the immunisation status of children and young people is available and reminders/recalls are sent to those who fail to attend. This information is available to clinicians to provide catch-up vaccinations at every appropriate opportunity, if needed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish an assessment of the effect of covid-19 quarantine requirements on the availability of overseas labour in the UK; and if he will make a statement.

We have made no specific assessment and have no plans to do so.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria will need to be met for NHS Test and Trace to be closed; and what estimate he has made of when those criteria will be met.

As NHS Test and Trace transfers into UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), we are planning against a range of scenarios for the trajectory of the pandemic and assessing the appropriate test, trace and self-isolation response. We anticipate testing, tracing and self-isolation requirements to reduce as prevalence reduces. The UKHSA will be fully functional from 1 October.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps he has taken to ensure that staff working at covid-19 quarantine hotels have been offered a vaccination; and if he will make a statement.

Workers in hotels used as managed quarantine facilities are being offered vaccination according to their age and clinical risk along with the rest of the population. This is in line with advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation which the Government has accepted.

The vaccination programme is currently on track to offer a first dose to all adults over 18 years old by the end of July.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
11th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of infection control measures at covid-19 quarantine hotels; and if he will make a statement.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people were (a) admitted to hospital with covid-19 and (b) discharged from hospital having been admitted with covid-19 in each month since January 2021.

The information is not currently held in the format requested. The audited data is due to be published by NHS Digital in September 2021.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what proportion of patients admitted to hospitals with covid-19 were discharged in under 24 hours in England and Wales in each month since January 2021.

The information is not currently held in the format requested. The audited data is due to be published by NHS Digital in September 2021.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the potential contribution to increasing health output that might be achieved through the increased employment of medical secretaries and doctor’s assistants in healthcare settings.

We have made no such assessment. It is a matter for individual health care providers to identify the most efficient mix of staff to deliver their services.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the recruitment of community nurses; and what assessment he has made of the potential role of community nurses in the integration of healthcare and social care.

A specialist community and public health nurse apprenticeship has been launched, which offers a new direct route into the profession. The Chief Nursing Officer England together with Director for Community Services at NHS England and NHS Improvement have committed to the development of a National Community Nursing Plan.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to ensure NHS recruitment keeps pace with an increasingly elderly population; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to ensuring there are sufficient staff numbers to meet England’s workforce requirements, including taking account of demographic changes. At a national level, the Government is committed to expanding the supply of the National Health Service workforce and we are on track to deliver 50,000 more nurses by the end of this Parliament.

We have opened five new medical schools across England and are committed to funding an extra 1,500 undergraduate medical school places per year at English universities or a 25% increase, taking the total number of medical school training places in England to 7,500 each year. This expansion was completed in September 2020. Retention is also a key focus the NHS People Plan. There are almost 6,300 or 5.3% more doctors and over 11,200 or 3.8% more nurses in the NHS than last year.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Royal College of Physicians’ position statement, NHS Workforce Planning: the case for transparency and accountability, what steps he is taking to increase the number of places to study medicine in universities over the next 10 years.

The Government recently increased the number of places to study medicine at English universities by 1,500 per year or 25%. As part of this expansion, which was completed in September 2020, we opened five new medical schools across the country.

The Government currently has no plans to increase the number of funded medical school places beyond this. We are committed to ensuring that the number of places reflect England’s workforce requirements and continues to monitor current arrangements.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the paper entitled Insights on transmission of COVID-19 with a focus on the hospitality, retail and leisure sector, published by the EMG Transmission Group on 30 April 2021, was not disclosed by his Department during the case of R (On the Application of Sacha Lord and Hugh Osmond) v Secretary of State for Health and Social Care; and if he will make a statement.

The Government disclosed the key documents and evidence on 22 March. As this report was not published until 30 April, it was not included.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the paper, Insights on transmission of COVID-19 with a focus on the hospitality, retail and leisure sector, by the EMG Transmission Group, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the closure of indoor hospitality and leisure on the prevalence of covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

The Emergency Modelling Group Transmission Group’s paper as discussed by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) on 8 April and received by Departmental officials that day. The minutes of that meeting summarised SAGE’s position in relation to the paper and provided advice to the Department. The minutes are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/emg-transmission-group-insights-on-transmission-of-covid-19-with-a-focus-on-the-hospitality-retail-and-leisure-sector-8-april-2021

The closure of indoor venues has had an effect in suppressing the pandemic. Infection rates, hospital admissions and cases of severe illness currently remain in line with modelling provided by scientific experts. The Government keeps the restrictions under continual review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will use the findings of the paper, Insights on transmission of COVID-19 with a focus on the hospitality, retail and leisure sector, by the EMG Transmission Group, to review the Covid-19 Response – Spring 2021 Roadmap; and if he will make a statement.

The Emergency Modelling Group Transmission Group’s paper as discussed by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) on 8 April and received by Departmental officials that day. The minutes of that meeting summarised SAGE’s position in relation to the paper and provided advice to the Department. The minutes are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/emg-transmission-group-insights-on-transmission-of-covid-19-with-a-focus-on-the-hospitality-retail-and-leisure-sector-8-april-2021

The closure of indoor venues has had an effect in suppressing the pandemic. Infection rates, hospital admissions and cases of severe illness currently remain in line with modelling provided by scientific experts. The Government keeps the restrictions under continual review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking in response to the paper entitled, Insights on transmission of COVID-19 with a focus on the hospitality, retail and leisure sector by the EMG Transmission Group, published on 30 April 2021; and if he will make a statement.

The Emergency Modelling Group Transmission Group’s paper as discussed by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) on 8 April and received by Departmental officials that day. The minutes of that meeting summarised SAGE’s position in relation to the paper and provided advice to the Department. The minutes are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/emg-transmission-group-insights-on-transmission-of-covid-19-with-a-focus-on-the-hospitality-retail-and-leisure-sector-8-april-2021

The closure of indoor venues has had an effect in suppressing the pandemic. Infection rates, hospital admissions and cases of severe illness currently remain in line with modelling provided by scientific experts. The Government keeps the restrictions under continual review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, on what date the paper entitled Insights on transmission of COVID-19 with a focus on the hospitality, retail and leisure sector, by the EMG Transmission Group, published on 30 April 2021, was received by (a) officials and (b) Ministers in his Department.

The Emergency Modelling Group Transmission Group’s paper as discussed by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) on 8 April and received by Departmental officials that day. The minutes of that meeting summarised SAGE’s position in relation to the paper and provided advice to the Department. The minutes are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/emg-transmission-group-insights-on-transmission-of-covid-19-with-a-focus-on-the-hospitality-retail-and-leisure-sector-8-april-2021

The closure of indoor venues has had an effect in suppressing the pandemic. Infection rates, hospital admissions and cases of severe illness currently remain in line with modelling provided by scientific experts. The Government keeps the restrictions under continual review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that covid-19 quarantine hotels (a) make halal food available for Muslim guests and (b) help those guests observe Ramadan.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to his Department's Lateral Flow Device Specificity in Phase 4 (Post Marketing) Surveillance report, what steps he has taken to include the false-negative rate of lateral flow tests in his plans for the mass testing of asymptomatic individuals; and if he will make a statement.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the relationship between the prevalence of covid-19 and the number of lateral flow tests required to be conducted on asymptomatic people to find a single positive covid-19 case; and if he will make a statement.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before prorogation.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the proportion of fatal covid-19 infections that were acquired in (a) healthcare and (b) social care settings; and if he will make a statement.

Data on the number of deaths from COVID-19 following a definite healthcare acquired infection is not routinely collected.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish an updated timetable for the estimated (a) regulatory approval and (b) delivery to the NHS of the (i) Novavax and (ii) Johnson & Johnson covid-19 vaccines; and if he will make a statement.

Reviews are underway by the  Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to assess the Johnson & Johnson (known by Janssen in Europe) and Novavax vaccines. Any vaccines that are made available will have been authorised because they pass the MHRA’s tests on safety and efficacy. If and when those vaccines are authorised by the MHRA, we expect to receive the doses for both vaccines in the second half of this year.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to My Name'5 Doddie Foundation's report entitled Accelerating research for a treatment for motor neurone disease (MND), if he will implement the recommendation of that report to fund £50 million over five years in a new MND Research Institute.

The Department has not made a specific assessment of the report. The Government is committed to supporting research into dementia and neurodegeneration, including motor neurone disease (MND). Over the past five years, the Department has spent over £9 million on MND research through the National Institute for Health Research. Additionally, UK Research and Innovation, through the Medical Research Council, has spent £45 million on MND research over the past five years. This includes research which aims to increase our understanding of the causes and genetic mechanisms of MND. We are currently working on ways to significantly boost further research on dementia and neurodegeneration at all stages on the translation pathway including medical and care interventions.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his polices of the report entitled, Accelerating research for a treatment for motor neurone disease, published by the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation.

The Department has not made a specific assessment of the report. The Government is committed to supporting research into dementia and neurodegeneration, including motor neurone disease (MND). Over the past five years, the Department has spent over £9 million on MND research through the National Institute for Health Research. Additionally, UK Research and Innovation, through the Medical Research Council, has spent £45 million on MND research over the past five years. This includes research which aims to increase our understanding of the causes and genetic mechanisms of MND. We are currently working on ways to significantly boost further research on dementia and neurodegeneration at all stages on the translation pathway including medical and care interventions.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will extend access to the workplace testing scheme to all companies with 10 or more employees that are operating in the covid-19 vaccine supply chain.

NHS Test and Trace is coordinating the provision of free tests to all workers who cannot work from home across England. All organisations with workers in England unable to work from home can sign up for rapid workplace testing, including those still closed due to lockdown. They will need to register by 31 March and free tests will be provided until the end of June


All businesses in England can access lateral flow tests from Test and Trace to establish testing programmes on-site, for workers without symptoms. Companies can register for this service at the following link:

www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests

All local authorities have also signed up to offer rapid lateral flow testing in the community through local asymptomatic test sites. Small businesses can direct workers to these test sites if they cannot offer rapid workplace testing on-site.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people's health data can be shared with non-health authorities without consent during the covid-19 outbreak.

Data law provides a number of gateways that enable sharing of personal data, including personal health data, with a range of organisations without the individual's consent. These include where sharing is legally required or where it is in the public interest.

We have used existing powers to publish Control of Patient Information (COPI) notices to require organisations working for the health service, local authorities and the Department's arm’s length bodies to share data to support the response to COVID-19. An individual's confidential patient information can only be shared under the COPI notices where it is allowed under data protection legislation such as the Data Protection Act and United Kingdom General Data Protection Regulations. The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 also enable the disclosure of confidential patient information to a non-health authority during the management of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
11th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Health and Social Care and the National Police Chiefs’ Council agreed in October 2020 on police access to NHS Test and Trace data.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Department and the police is currently being updated to reflect amendments to the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 on 29 January and feedback from the Information Commissioners Office. These updates are currently being agreed by all parties and the MoU will be published as soon as practically possible.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to counter misinformation about covid-19 vaccines to ensure that all communities have access to accurate information.

The Department is working closely with Public Health England and NHS England and NHS Improvement to provide authoritative information to the public to make an informed choice about getting vaccinated. We are also working with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to help social media platforms identify and take action against incorrect claims about the virus in line with their terms and conditions. This includes anti-vaccination narratives that could endanger people’s health.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will urgently formalise the process of (a) administering spare vaccination doses and (b) filling vaccination appointment gaps.

No vaccine should be wasted and there is National Health Service operational guidance in place to help prevent this. Following this guidance, all vaccination centres should have a reserve list of people in the eligible cohorts who can be called in case doses would be wasted. If no members of the currently prioritised cohorts are available, it is recommended that members of the next priority cohorts be vaccinated. In the extremely exceptional case where this is not possible, locally available people can be vaccinated based on clinical judgement.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on rolling out vaccinations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; and if he will implement more late night and early morning vaccination services, with subsidies for overtime and late shifts as required.

Currently there are no plans to open vaccination sites 24 hours a day. However, we are keeping this under review based on patient and staff feedback.

We previously piloted an extended hours service in community pharmacy led vaccination sites in key locations in England, operating an extended hours service from 5am to 8am and 8pm to 1am. This was a very small pilot with limited data and for a very short period of time. However, it is recommended that regional teams encourage pharmacy local vaccination sites to offer more flexible hours/appointment schedules outside of the 8am to 8pm period if a trial shows there is local demand. Under current contractual terms, this would be opt-in for the contractor but may be attractive due to potentially minimising impact on provision of other pharmaceutical services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement will continue to test extended opening hours, including 24-hour provision.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps he has taken to reduce the spread of anti-vaccination material in BAME communities.

The Department, the National Health Service and Public Health England are providing advice and information to support those getting the vaccine and who might have questions about the vaccination process.  Our communications include targeted information and advice via TV, radio and social media. This has been translated into 19 languages including Bengali, Chinese, Filipino, Gujarati, Hindi, Mirpur, Punjabi and Urdu.   Print and online material, including interviews and practical advice has appeared in hundreds of national, regional, local and specialist titles including black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) media for Asian, Bangladeshi, Bengali, Gujarati and Pakistani communities.

The Department of Health and Social Care, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the NHS are holding regular meetings with local authorities, faith leaders and BAME organisations to provide advice and information about COVID-19 vaccines and how they will be made available.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will collate and publish covid-19 (a) nosocomial patient data and (b) subsequent deaths for (a) definite, (b) probable and (c) indeterminate healthcare-associated covid-19 infections; and if he will make a statement.

It is not possible to provide information on the estimated nosocomial infection rate for COVID-19 in England, based on data held.

Since October 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement have published data relating to hospital activity which includes the numbers of people diagnosed in hospital or admitted to hospital with COVID-19. Data relating to the number of patients diagnosed in the community and subsequently admitted to hospital or admitted to hospital and diagnosed with COVID-19 within eight days after admission is also published.

Given the incubation period of the virus and local differences in application of testing protocols, it is not possible to definitively determine the number of people who contracted COVID-19 while in hospital in England to date. Consequently, it is not possible to determine the number of deaths resulting from nosocomial COVID-19.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the prevalence among hospital healthcare workers of (a) anxiety, (b) depression and (c) other clinically significant mental health symptoms (i) at the time of and (ii) subsequent to the first peak of the covid-19 outbreak; what steps he is taking to support those healthcare workers; and if he will make a statement.

Assessments of staff mental health, which includes anxiety and depression, are routinely undertaken locally through analysis of sickness absence data and proactive engagement with staff to understand what support can be provided. A comprehensive package of health and wellbeing services are in place for National Health Service staff, including helplines for counselling and support and free access to well-being apps. £15 million is being invested to strengthen mental health support for NHS staff. This funding will be used to set up mental health hubs that will provide outreach and assessment services to help frontline staff receive rapid access to mental health services. Staff referred will be treated by local mental health specialists and those with the most severe needs will be referred to a specialist centre of excellence.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the iProov-Mvine vaccine passport, which was developed with Innovate UK funding, is undertaking a trial.

At the time of the COVID-19 Fast Start competition, launched in April 2020, the path the pandemic would follow was unclear and the Government supported every project which could aid the response, including ‘vaccine passports’. Two British companies, Mvine and iProov, were funded by Innovate UK to develop a working prototype of a vaccine passport.

The Government will review whether COVID-19 status certification could play a role in reopening the economy, reducing restrictions on social contact and improving safety. This will include assessing to what extent certification would be effective in reducing risk, and the potential uses to enable access to settings or a relaxation of COVID-19 secure mitigations. The Government will also consider the ethical, equalities, privacy, legal and operational aspects of this approach and what limits, if any, should be placed on organisations using certification. It will draw on external advice to develop recommendations that take into account any social and economic impacts and implications for disproportionately impacted groups and individuals’ privacy and security.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to vaccinate partners of clinically extremely vulnerable persons at the same time that those persons are vaccinated to reduce risks to their care.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccines the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level, based on their assessments.

In line with current advice from the JCVI, adult members of a household that includes someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) are prioritised for vaccination according to their own age and clinical risk. They are not prioritised based on sharing a household with someone who is CEV, whether this person is an adult or a child, so will not be vaccinated at the same time.

Exceptions to this rule include those who are in receipt of carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill. These people should be offered vaccination in priority group six. Additionally, on 29 March 2021, the JCVI advised that household contacts of the immunosuppressed should be offered a COVID-19 vaccination alongside priority group six, and these people will be vaccinated accordingly.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason takeaway alcohol sales from pubs and restaurants are not permitted in the January 2021 covid-19 lockdown on the same basis as the previous lockdown; and if he will permit those sales.

Throughout the pandemic, the Government has listened carefully to the views of the scientific community, the information from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its sub-groups when taking decisions on the best way to tackle the pandemic.

In recognition of the importance of transparency in these unprecedented times, SAGE has been publishing the statements and the accompanying evidence it has reviewed to demonstrate how the scientific understanding of COVID-19 has continued to evolve as new data emerges and how SAGE’s advice has quickly adapted to new findings that reflect a changing situation. Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs must close, with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway until 11pm, click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink including alcohol can continue to be provided by delivery.

The Government has these restrictions constantly under review.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the ONS surveys of 30 October and 4 December 2020, whether he has made an assessment of (a) the reasons for the ONS downgrade of its estimate of covid-19 in England from 9.52 per 10,000 on 17 October to 4.89 per 10,000 on 17 October 2020 and (b) the effect of that revision on the Government’s decision to enter into a second national lockdown in November 2020; and what steps the Government is taking to ensure that future covid-19 data published by the ONS will not require significant revision at a later date.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) have published an extensive methodology document in relation to their COVID-19 Infection Survey, which states that:

“All estimates presented in our bulletins are provisional results. As swabs are not necessarily analysed in date order by the laboratory, we have not yet received test results for all swabs taken on the dates included in this analysis. Estimates may therefore be revised as more test results are included”.

The ONS COVID-19 Infection Survey is one of the many data sources the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies include in their scientific advice to Government used to inform decisions on COVID-19 restrictions. Other data sources include the REACT STUDY, Test and Trace data and COVID-19 deaths and hospital admissions. Collectively this data highlighted the need to tighten restrictions in November 2020.

The ONS COVID-19 Infection Survey is a pilot study developed at pace to help monitor the situation as it evolves and is therefore undergoing continual quality improvement.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the article in Health Service Journal entitled, Leaks reveal two-thirds of private hospital capacity went unused by NHS, published on 1 December 2020, what percentage of private sector (a) day case, (b) diagnostics, and (c) outpatient's capacity that was block-purchased by the NHS was in use in (i) June, (ii) July, (iii) August and (iv) September.

This information is not held centrally

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 4 November to Question 112041, if he will make it his policy to publish on a weekly basis the (a) number of (i) covid-19 hospital patients, (ii) covid-19 hospital patients who are in critical status, (iii) hospital patients with other conditions who are in critical status and (iv) covid-19 hospitals patients who have recovered from critical status but remain in hospital and (b) discharge rate from hospitals compared with the historical average rate.

Specific datasets showing the number of COVID-19 hospital patients, COVID-19 patients who are in a critical status and hospital patients with other conditions who are in critical status are already published by NHS England and GOV.UK

Data showing the number of COVID-19 hospital patients who have recovered in critical status but remain in hospital and discharge rate from hospitals compared with the historical average rate are not published and there are no plans to publish additional information at this time.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people providing home care for vulnerable people have been prioritised for covid-19 vaccination in the same tranche as care home residents and staff; and if he will make a statement.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that the vaccine should first be given to care home residents and staff, as well as by people over 80 years old and health and social care workers.

Included in the definition of ‘social care workers’ as per the Green Book are care home staff, personal assistants to personal budget holders, domiciliary support workers and day centre workers. Also included are those non-clinical ancillary staff in care homes who may have social contact with patients but are not directly involved in patient care.

Social care workers include those working in long-stay residential and nursing care homes or other long-stay care facilities where rapid spread is likely to follow introduction of infection and cause high morbidity and mortality. This is also, social care staff directly involved in the care of their patients or clients and others involved directly in delivering social care such that they and vulnerable patients and clients are at increased risk of exposure.

We recognise the vital role unpaid carers play in caring for vulnerable individuals and we will provide further details on their access to the vaccine in due course.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to prioritise clinically extremely vulnerable under the age of 65 for a covid-19 vaccination.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the United Kingdom should use and provide advice on prioritisation at a population level. The JCVI has advised that the first priorities for any COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of COVID-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems. Therefore, in line with the recommendations of the JCVI, the vaccine will be initially rolled out to the priority groups including care home residents and staff, people over 80 years old and health and care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and risk, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and individuals aged 16 to 64 years old with certain underlying health conditions. Those conditions are set out in the advice of the JCVI published on 30 December at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-30-december-2020/joint-committee-on-vaccination-and-immunisation-advice-on-priority-groups-for-covid-19-vaccination-30-december-2020

Consideration has been given to vaccination of household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals. However, at this time there is no data on the size of the effect of COVID-19 vaccines on transmission. Evidence is expected to accrue during the course of the vaccine programme, and until that time the committee is not in a position to advise vaccination solely on the basis of indirect protection.

By 15 February we aim to have offered a first vaccine dose to everyone in the top four priority groups identified by the JCVI:

- all residents in a care home for older adults and their carers;

- all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers;

- all those 75 years of age and over; and

- all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on answering Questions (a) 88299, (b) 104723, (c) 105362, (d) 109318, (e) 109319, (f) 109321, (g) 109322, (h) 109324, (i) 109325, (j) 109326, (k) 109328, (l) 112038, (m) 112041, (n) 112043 and (o) 91875.

We take parliamentary scrutiny incredibly seriously and it is fundamentally important that hon. Members are provided with accurate and timely information to enable them to hold the Government to account. We are working rapidly to provide all Members with accurate answers to their questions, as well as supporting the Government’s response to the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers to Questions 88299, 105362, 112038, 112043 and 91875.

The hon. Member’s remaining questions will be answered as soon as possible.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to help diagnostic companies who supply covid-19 tests and are unable to renew their relevant insurance to meet his Department's requirements; and if he will make a statement.

The Department is aware of this issue and is consulting trade representatives of the insurance industry to determine their position and understand the best course of action.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made on the National Prioritisation Framework for a covid-19 vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who provide advice to Government on which vaccine(s) the United Kingdom should use, and which groups to prioritise. The JCVI and the sub-committee are currently reviewing evidence on risk factors associated with serious disease and mortality from COVID-19. Following a review of the evidence the Committee will develop advice on prioritisation of population and risk groups for any future COVID-19 vaccination programme.

For further information, JCVI’s interim advice on prioritisation is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-25-september-2020

The minutes of JCVI committee meetings and statements on COVID-19 vaccination are available at the following link:

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish each week the (a) number of (i) covid-19 hospital patients, (ii) covid-19 hospital patients who are in critical status, (iii) hospital patients with other conditions who are in critical status and (iv) covid-19 hospitals patients who have recovered from critical status but remain in hospital and (b) discharge rate from hospitals compared with the historical average rate.

Information is not available in the format requested.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to open a long covid clinic in Wycombe.

On 7 October the National Health Service announced that £10 million funding will go towards designating specialist ‘long COVID-19’ assessment clinics that will be available to all patients in England.

Commissioning guidance to support the establishment of these clinics was published on 6 November and local health systems are currently developing plans to implement them as soon as possible. More information about the clinic locations and how to access them will be released in the near future.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has for rolling out the Triumph and Ambush candidate vaccines; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has asked the National Health Service to be ready to deploy any safe, effective vaccines when available. We are working at pace for the delivery of any potential COVID-19 vaccination programme as quickly as possible. The scale of what is rolled out and when will depend on a safe, effective vaccine being available.

Planning considerations include the size and make-up of the workforce needed to deliver a potentially extensive vaccination programme at pace, training requirements, guidance, consumables and other equipment, as well as the supporting infrastructure required, including warehousing, transport, logistics and end-destination ‘clinic’ storage.

The UK Government has committed to procuring a COVID-19 vaccination on behalf of the United Kingdom. As health is a devolved matter, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are responsible for deployment of vaccination in their countries. The Government is working closely with the devolved administrations to ensure successful delivery across the whole of the United Kingdom.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to release timely and transparent trust-by-trust covid-19 admissions numbers for every NHS trust (a) in total and (b) as a proportion of overall capacity; and if he will make a statement.

The total number of COVID-19 admissions at a trust level is published on weekly and monthly basis at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-hospital-activity/

Figures are not published daily on estimates of overall capacity for admissions as this is dynamic in response to local demand.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps he has taken to validate against observed data modelled effects of (a) lockdown on reducing covid-19 virus transmission and (b) lifting lockdown on subsequent covid-19 virus transmission; and if he will make a statement.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) and its subgroup SPI-M-O regularly review modelling investigating the effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions. For example, after the current national restrictions were introduced on 5 January 2021, SAGE considered several different modelling scenarios to explore the potential impact of the new measures.

These scenarios investigated the number of hospital admissions, deaths and hospital bed occupancy under a range of different ‘R’ values. An overview of these scenarios and a comparison to the outturn data can found in SPI-M-O’s consensus statements from 13 January and 3 February 2021 which are available at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spi-m-o-consensus-statement-on-covid-19-13-january-2021

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spi-m-o-consensus-statement-on-covid-19-3-february-2021

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that the UK logistics industry is prepared for the mass distribution of a covid-19 vaccine; and if he will make a statement.

Work has taken place to ensure we have the logistical expertise, transport and workforce to roll out a vaccine according to clinical priority, at the speed at which it can be manufactured. As part of the extensive planning, the National Health Service has worked with all stakeholders, including the United Kingdom logistics industry, in order to prepare for vaccine deployment. This includes working with partners to ensure effective logistics are in place to make sure consumables, such a syringes and other supplies, are in the right place, at the right time.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to work with international partners to ensure that the international logistics industry and global supply chain networks are prepared for the global mass distribution of a covid-19 vaccine; and if he will make a statement.

The Government’s commitment to international collaboration is clear. We are proud to work through multilaterals such as the G7 and G20, and with the World Health Organization and international partners, including industry, to agree collaborative approaches to supporting vaccine development, manufacturing scale-up and future distribution to meet both domestic and international needs, including for the world’s poorest countries.

The Government continues monitors plans for the requirements across the supply chain for COVID-19 vaccines and associated material. For each vaccine that is deployed, there are clearly defined supply chain plans for manufacturing, transport, storage and distribution.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to improve the characterisation of statistical uncertainty in his public communications on covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to transparency in order to build public trust throughout the pandemic. Slides and data from press conferences are published on GOV.UK and Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies papers are routinely released once any related policies are no longer in development.

As part of this process, the Government is committed to making clear and meaningful presentation of data and estimates. This includes explaining relevant strengths and limitations of estimates, such as the extent of any uncertainty or potential biases, to support the public’s use and interpretation of the information.

Alongside other analyses, these may sometimes form part of the information and evidence informing the Government’s decision-making. As part of the Government’s commitment to transparency, all slides from press conferences, and the data behind them are published on GOV.UK.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps he has taken to improve software quality in the NHS Test and Trace system; and if he will make a statement.

The NHS Test and Trace software quality is appropriate for its use as it is based on historically proven Public Health England and National Health Service software. The challenges have been around scaling as the volume of positive test results increased exponentially. The priority initiatives have therefore focused on improving data quality; making technology infrastructure improvements to allow faster test results and faster contact tracing; and moving away from legacy architecture that was not designed for this purpose.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to validate epidemiological models of covid-19 (a) cases, (b) hospitalisations and (c) deaths against observed data throughout 2020; and if he will make a statement.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) provides scientific advice to support the Government response to COVID-19. In fulfilling this role SAGE considers a wide range of infectious disease modelling.

Part of this advice includes consensus medium-term projections of hospitalisations and deaths produced by the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling. These represent a scenario in which the trajectory of the epidemic continues to follow current trends. They do not account for the impact of future policy or behaviour changes, nor seasonal effects that may affect transmission.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to remove from his communications extreme covid-19 scenarios used for illustration purposes; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to transparency in order to build public trust throughout the pandemic. Slides and data from press conferences are published on GOV.UK and Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies papers are routinely released once any related policies are no longer in development.

As part of this process, the Government is committed to making clear and meaningful presentation of data and estimates. This includes explaining relevant strengths and limitations of estimates, such as the extent of any uncertainty or potential biases, to support the public’s use and interpretation of the information.

Alongside other analyses, these may sometimes form part of the information and evidence informing the Government’s decision-making. As part of the Government’s commitment to transparency, all slides from press conferences, and the data behind them are published on GOV.UK.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to validate models of covid-19 impact on the NHS against observed data; and if he will make a statement.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) provides scientific advice to support the Government response to COVID-19. In fulfilling this role SAGE considers a wide range of infectious disease modelling.

Part of this advice includes consensus medium-term projections of hospitalisations and deaths produced by the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M). These represent a scenario in which the trajectory of the epidemic continues to follow current trends. They do not account for the impact of future policy or behaviour changes, nor seasonal effects that may affect transmission.

The charts included in the medium-term projections explainer show the consensus medium-term projections SPI-M’s operational sub-group have produced for daily hospital admissions and deaths in England. These projections are plotted on a log scale to better display the large range of values. As these charts show, actual data from October consistently fitted the projections made earlier in the month. These charts are published on GOV.UK.SPI-M does not estimate or project the number of cases. Models are continually validated against outturn data.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will prioritise the further development and deployment of a personal covid-19 risk calculator through the NHS App which takes into account an individual’s (a) age, (b) co-morbidities, (c) occupation, (d) household size, (e) deprivation, (f) ethnicity, (g) Body Mass Index, (h) blood group and (i) any other factors; and if he will make a statement.

The app is designed to the highest standards of data privacy and data security and does not collect any personal information.

We will continue to evaluate the app and improve it in response to feedback.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to issue guidance on the risk of transmission of coronavirus on paper.

We have no plans to issue guidance specifically on the risk of transmission via paper. However, we have published guidance on the risks of spreading the virus on surfaces such as furniture, benches or door handles and the importance of regular handwashing and cleaning of surfaces to reduce the spread, which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-stop-the-spread-of-coronavirus-covid-19/how-to-stop-the-spread-of-coronavirus-covid-19

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will prioritise the (a) further development and (b) deployment of a coronavirus risk calculator through the NHS App.

The NHS COVID-19 App already includes several features that are designed to help identify and manage risk for individuals and communities.

For contact tracing, the app detects and logs other nearby app users using random unique identifiers. If any of those users later test positive for COVID-19, close contacts will receive an exposure alert with advice to self-isolate.

When a user first registers for the app they are asked for the first half of their postcode. They can check the app every day to see if where they live has become a high-risk area for COVID-19. If it has, they will also receive a notification. This will help them make daily decisions to protect themselves and those close to them.

The app was launched following positive trials and rigorous testing. It is accurate, responsive and has received positive feedback from users. We continue to work to optimise the app and will keep further improvements under review.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve access to covid-19 testing in Buckinghamshire.

We have established a regional testing site at South Second Street Car Park in Milton Keynes and a local testing site at The Gateway Car Park, Buckinghamshire Council in Aylesbury. Our laboratories are processing more than a million tests a week and are scaling up our testing capacity even further to 500,000 tests a day by the end of October, expanding our network of testing sites and laboratories as well as investing in new testing technologies.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of targeting covid-19 testing on hotspots on case numbers; and if he will make a statement.

Our approach to testing is guided by the latest scientific advice. We are targeting testing capacity at the areas that need it most, including those where there is an outbreak, and prioritising at-risk groups.

On top of this, we are working in close partnership with local public health teams and councils. Every day they receive test, case and contact tracing data so that they can take action and follow up with anyone who it has not been possible to contact.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of estimates published on the level of covid-19 in the community since the start of the outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Government estimates for the level of COVID-19 in the community arise as a consensus between a number of academic groups contributing to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies sub-group SPI-M. Key quantities, such as R, infection-fatality ratio, and incidence are derived from data-driven models, but cannot be assessed directly as they are not observable quantities.

Assessment is only indirectly possible, either through looking at the goodness of fit of the models to the observed data and through cross-checking with the community surveys such as the Office for National Statistics and the Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission study, or through the retrospective assessment of predictions.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the changing distribution of covid-19 cases across different (a) age groups and (b) demographic groups; and if he will make a statement.

Public Health England publishes a surveillance report each Friday which details trends in case rates amongst different age groups, Index of Mean Deprivation quintiles, and ethnicities, as well as across different regions in England.

The latest report from 11 September (week 37) states that case rates are highest in the 20-29 years age group. Positivity rates have increased in all age groups and regions. A particularly steep increase in positivity has been observed in over 85-year olds tested through Pillar 2.

Among young adults there has been a shift in the demographic of cases in recent weeks from the highest rates among those in the most deprived groups towards those in the least deprived groups.

The report and data are available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/weekly-covid-19-surveillance-report-published

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of increased covid-19 testing on case numbers; and if he will make a statement.

Between 17 September and 23 September, 31,373 people tested positive for the first time, continuing the steep upward trend in positive cases seen in recent weeks. There were four times as many positive cases identified in the most recent week compared to the end of August.

Since Test and Trace launched, 153,597 people have tested positive for COVID-19 at least once; 83.0% of these positive cases were tested under pillar 2 in comparison to 17.0% under pillar 15. Between 17 September and 23 September, the number of positive cases under pillar 1 is over seven times higher compared to the end of August. The number of positive cases under pillar 2 is now nearly four times higher over the same period.

The number of people tested for the first time has increased by 32% since the end of August but has remained similar for the past three weeks.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the correlation between the level of hospital admissions and positive tests for covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

Data on hospital admissions and positive tests are reviewed by Public Health England and published on a weekly basis through the weekly surveillance report, which can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/national-covid-19-surveillance-reports

COVID-19 hospital admission and positive tests contribute to understanding of COVID-19 activity in the population and the targeting of interventions. Hospitalisations have remained relatively stable in recent weeks. However, there is typically a lag between an increase in disease activity and increases in hospitalisations. Following recent increases in case numbers, increases in hospitalisations can be seen in some parts of the country, such as the North West, in older adults.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make available to local councils summary data on the number of positive results for covid-19 in each care home.

Public Health England is providing Directors of Public Health with fully identifiable positive test data, updated daily, that has a ‘linked to care home’ flag. This allows the Director of Public Health to know when there is a link between the positive test and a care home.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the powers provided under Schedule 22 of the Coronavirus Act 2020 having not been used despite the outbreak having peaked in the UK and a public health response period having not been invoked, what plans he has to revise his assessment of the necessity of Schedule 22 in his two month report on that Act.

As per section 97(1)(b) of the Coronavirus Act 2020, the Secretary of State will make a statement in the two-monthly report about whether he considers the current status of non-devolved provisions to be appropriate. This is due to be published at the end of July. The first such statement was published on 29 May and can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-act-report-may-2020

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the the CPS's findings that 53 unlawful and no lawful prosecutions have been pursued in England and Wales under the powers provided by Schedule 21 of the Coronavirus Act 2020, what plans he has to revise his assessment of the necessity of Schedule 21 in his two month report on that Act.

As per section 97(1)(b) of the Coronavirus Act 2020, the Secretary of State will make a statement in the two-monthly report about whether he considers the current status of non-devolved provisions to be appropriate. This is due to be published at the end of July. The first such statement was published on 29 May and can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-act-report-may-2020

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure that members of the NHS Covid-19 App Data Ethics Advisory Board are given unrestricted access to all the information that they require.

The independent NHS COVID-19 App Ethics Advisory Board serves an important role in providing constructive challenge and advice. In order to fulfil its role, the board receives frequent, detailed briefings from those developing the app.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to resume urgent elective surgery in the NHS as soon as possible; and if he will make a statement.

To help ensure that sufficient capacity was in place to help deal with the initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, every hospital in England suspended non-urgent elective operations to help free up additional capacity. The suspension did not apply to clinically urgent care, such as emergency admissions and cancer treatment.

With evidence now suggesting that we have reached the peak of this wave of COVID-19, and with the National Health Service well-placed to provide world-leading care for those who do still have the virus, we have started to reset suspended services. The approach to this will be flexed at local level according to capacity and demand in different parts of the country, and will be gradual, over the coming weeks.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when the NHS plans to resume urgent elective surgery; and if he will make a statement.

To help ensure that sufficient capacity was in place to help deal with the initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, every hospital in England suspended non-urgent elective operations to help free up additional capacity. The suspension did not apply to clinically urgent care, such as emergency admissions and cancer treatment.

With evidence now suggesting that we have reached the peak of this wave of COVID-19, and with the National Health Service well-placed to provide world-leading care for those who do still have the virus, we have started to reset suspended services. The approach to this will be flexed at local level according to capacity and demand in different parts of the country, and will be gradual, over the coming weeks.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the speed of NHS procurement of personal protective equipment; and if he will make a statement.

Lord Deighton, formerly Chief Executive of London 2012 Olympics, has been appointed to lead on our domestic efforts to increase the supply of PPE. Contracts have been signed for over 3 billion items of PPE through UK-based manufacturers, including facemasks, visors, gowns and aprons, ensuring we build and maintain a domestic base for the future.

We are identifying personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers from across the globe to meet the increasing demand for a growing list of PPE products. As part of this effort, we have seconded expert procurement professionals from NHS Supply Chain to work with military planners and a cross-Government team from the Government Commercial Function.

Additionally, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) teams across the world have ensured local sources are able to deliver the products required, as well as working with the central teams to secure inbound logistics and freight operations at speed. The Department for Trade has also stood up a global network to coordinate the PPE sourcing augmenting the FCO's work so that faster fulfilment can be delivered.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the right hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church of England is taking to change the way parish donations are collected in response to reductions in the use of cash.

The Church recognises the need to adapt to the move away from cash towards contactless payments. A large and fast-evolving range of contactless solutions is available through the Church’s own Parish Buying service, with over 1,900 churches now having the means to accept payments or donations by card or mobile phone. The Church aims to have over half of its 16,000 churches able to take contactless payments and donations in the next three years.

The Church of England in partnership with the Church in Wales is working through its Parish Buying programme to negotiate competitive prices for churches. More information on that can be found at the Parish Buying website: https://www.parishbuying.org.uk/categories/giving-and-payments

The Church of England has also been encouraging congregations to move to electronic planed giving schemes. This is primarily to reduce administrative burdens on volunteers, but at a time when churches have closed for public health reasons, electronic planned giving ensures continuity of a regular income.

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps he has taken to ensure 111 call handlers do not direct suspected covid-19 patients to urgent treatment centres; and if he will make a statement.

Should an individual contacting NHS 111 meet the case definition they will be supported to report to the most appropriate testing facility, or alternatively home testing will be provided.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect on individuals of the level of fees charged by doctors to certify health prior to offers of employment; and if he will make a statement.

There are a number of specified reports and certificates that must be completed by general practitioners (GPs) for their patients free of charge, as these form part of the services they must deliver under their contracts with the National Health Service. Providing support to an employment application does not fall under part of those services. Accordingly, if a GP is asked to provide a report or certificate to certify a patient’s health for the purposes of an employment application, then under General Medical Services (GMS) Regulations they are allowed to charge a fee for doing so. There is no statutory limit to the level of such a fee and this would ultimately be a matter for the practice. However, NHS England and NHS Improvement would expect the practice to charge a reasonable sum appropriate for the workload involved. The GMS and Personal Medical Services Regulations contain a list of statutory certificates that GP practices are required to provide without charge, and the British Medical Association publishes guidance to support GPs in deciding how much they should charge which is available at the following link:

https://www.bma.org.uk/advice/employment/fees/check-your-fee

We recognise that there are concerns about some fees GPs charge for letters to certify a patient’s health and the consistency of those charges, and the additional burden this can place on GPs. We are considering how best to work with GPs and other stakeholders to look at where it is necessary for GPs to provide medical evidence and, where it is, that any charges for that evidence, where applicable, are fair and consistent.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to reduce the number of suicides, particularly among (a) men under 50 and (b) young people aged 16-24; and if he will make a statement.

In January 2019, we published the first cross-Government suicide prevention workplan, which sets out an ambitious programme of work across national and local government and the National Health Service to reduce suicide rates across all age groups. This includes work to support children and young people through our Green Paper on children and young people’s mental health. The workplan also outlines action being taken to reduce suicide rates in high-risk groups such as men by, amongst other things, raising awareness and reducing stigma of mental health in this group.

Through the NHS Long Term Plan, we are also investing £57 million in suicide prevention to support local suicide prevention plans and establish suicide bereavement support services. We have worked with NHS England to ensure that local areas use this funding to test approaches to reaching and engaging men in their local communities. We are also increasing investment in children’s and young people’s mental health services, meaning that, by 2023/24, an extra 345,000 children and young people aged 0-25 will receive mental health support via NHS-funded mental health services and school- or college-based mental health support teams.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he will take to improve mental healthcare in Wycombe; and if he will make a statement.

In response to the NHS Long Term Plan, the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care System published a draft strategic delivery plan in September 2019 which outlines how each county will work with stakeholders to deliver the expectations of the Plan, including how to further improve local mental health services. This is available at the following link:

https://bobstp.org.uk/media/1752/ics-ltp-1st-draft-submission-v10-2.pdf

Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) reports that a number of developments, which have the potential to impact on mental health care in Wycombe, are being delivered or are planned for delivery over the next financial year. These include:

- improving mental health crisis services with an increase in the number of days that the ‘safe haven’ service will operate in 2020 with a new location opening in High Wycombe. Home treatment for acutely unwell mental health patients will also start to be offered;

- two mental health support teams becoming operational in 2019, working in 33 schools across Buckinghamshire to provide interventions to young people with low to moderate mental health needs. The CCG will bid for national funding to expand this offering in 2020;

- increasing access to Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). The number of young people accessing these services has increased and waiting times for assessment have decreased. The CCG will continue to develop this further into 2020 using online technology to increase access;

- recruiting additional CAMHS psychologists as part of the four-week wait pilot scheme;

- the employment of additional trainees by Buckinghamshire’s ‘Healthy Minds’ service; and

- continuing to improve the physical health of people that have a serious mental illness by ensuring they are able to access an annual physical health check.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the UK's international climate change strategy on poverty in African countries.

Tackling climate change and biodiversity is the UK Government's number one international priority as set out in the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, published in March 2021. Evidence shows that poorer people are more vulnerable to the impact of climate change and unless addressed now, these impacts will represent an obstacle to the sustained eradication of poverty. Africa is the continent most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. From cyclones in Southern Africa to locusts in East Africa, changing weather patterns are already having catastrophic impacts for communities living across the continent, impacting lives and livelihoods.

As COP26 President, the UK is committed to driving action to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees and support countries that are most vulnerable to adapt to the impacts of climate change. This will be crucially important for communities in Africa, where the impacts of climate change are already being felt. The UK is a long-standing supporter of African adaptation, with around half of our £2.7 billion adaptation budget between 2016 and 2020 spent in Africa. We have strengthened these commitments at COP26, contributing £20 million to the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Programme to support African countries in designing and implementing transformational adaptation of their economies and post-COVID recovery. We have provided a guarantee to the African Development Bank, releasing up to $2 billion of climate finance - half of which will be for adaptation. We also recognise the importance of Africa's forested areas to mitigating climate change impacts and limiting global temperature rise. At the World Leaders Summit Forests and Land Use Event, the UK contributed £200 million to a landmark £1.1 billion donor pledge to protect the Congo Basin - the world's second largest rainforest - and support the region's long-term green economic development. These commitments demonstrate that Africa is at the heart of our approach to climate and nature.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Oct 2021
To ask the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, what recent discussions he has had with Swiss officials on the NHS Covid Pass being accepted as proof of vaccination to enter indoor areas in Switzerland.

Domestic COVID certificates are the prerogative of each individual country. Where a country has introduced domestic COVID certificates, for example to enter hospitality venues, we have sought to engage with them to understand whether the NHS COVID Pass fulfils their requirements. Swiss COVID certificates are the prerogative of Switzerland: it is up to the Swiss government to determine whether the NHS COVID Pass meets their requirements.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the implications of Iran's nuclear programme for the Government's policy; and if he will make a statement.

Iran continues its systematic non-compliance with its nuclear commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA). On 16 April Iran announced that it had started uranium enrichment up to 60% using advanced centrifuges, which is a serious and deeply worrying development in violation of its nuclear commitments. The production of highly enriched uranium is an important step in the production of a nuclear weapon. Iran has no credible civilian need for enrichment at this level.

The Foreign Secretary has been clear that Iran must never develop a nuclear weapon. Our immediate priority is to find a diplomatic solution to bring Iran back into compliance with its JCPoA commitments and restore the benefits of the deal. We are currently engaged in talks with other JCPoA participants and the US Administration in Vienna to that end. The JCPoA still represents the best and currently the only framework for monitoring and constraining Iran's nuclear programme.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano, what steps he is planning to take to support the islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines.

We are monitoring the situation in St Vincent and the Grenadines closely and our thoughts are with those affected by the eruptions.

On 12 April the UK pledged an initial £200,000 to the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to help address the humanitarian impact of the eruptions. This will provide urgent technical expertise to help coordinate the relief effort, including the provision of lifesaving emergency supplies, the restoration of telecommunications and transport links and other immediate needs including around the provision of water and electricity and in the health and agriculture sectors. We have provided technical advice from the UK Government Office of Science (GO Science) and the British Geological Survey on how to deal with the significant ash fall (including on its impact on livestock).

We currently have a volcanologist on the ground supporting the relief effort. They are working to facilitate the urgent analysis of ash samples back in the UK. This analysis will enable scientists in St Vincent to better understand how the eruptions are changing and determine seismic patterns of activity over the coming months

The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) have allocated $1million in response to the eruptions in St Vincent and the Grenadines. The UK is a longstanding supporter of the CERF. In 2020, the UK was one of the largest donors to the Fund, providing £66 million ($88.6million) to support responses to humanitarian need across the globe.

Finally the UK is also a contributor to the International Federation of the Red Cross Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) which has allocated funding of some £209,000 to the St Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross response. We will continue to work with CDEMA and other appropriate agencies to assess the need for further UK support.

Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, spoke to the Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines and his High Commissioner to the UK on 14 April. They discussed initial and ongoing UK support for the recovery following the volcanic eruption.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of reports that following the eruption of the La Soufrière volcano on the islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, only people who have been vaccinated against covid-19 are able to access evacuation to neighbouring islands; and if he will make a statement.

We are monitoring the situation in St Vincent and the Grenadines closely and our thoughts are with those affected by the eruptions.

On 8 April Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves ordered an immediate evacuation of people living in the most at-risk areas on St Vincent island. We can confirm that it is a requirement for persons who are being evacuated to another country in the region to be vaccinated. However, late on 12 April Prime Minister Gonsalves announced that his Government will no longer use cruise ships to evacuate people from the Red Zone as the numbers wanting to leave are low and people would prefer to stay on St Vincent and the Grenadines.

COVID-19 vaccinations are not required to gain access to emergency shelters or humanitarian support in-country, although Prime Minister Gonsalves is urging people to get vaccinated. There has been no impact on the provision of support from neighbouring islands (or more broadly - including by the UK), although appropriate COVID-19 measures are being used, including by those who have deployed to the island.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will revise his Department's travel guidance before the Test to Release Scheme starts on 15 December 2020 to restrict advice against non-essential travel in relation to covid-19 to destinations with a very high risk to travellers.

From 5 November, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) moved away from advising against all non-essential international travel, returning to country specific advice. The FCDO travel advice provides guidance on COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 risks abroad and currently advises against all but essential travel to many countries and territories on the basis of COVID-19 risks. All FCDO travel advice pages remain under constant review to ensure they reflect the FCDO's latest assessment of risks to British nationals and include up-to-date information and advice. FCDO travel advice related to COVID-19 is based on Public Health England's assessment of risks. When the FCDO no longer assesses the risks to British nationals to be unacceptably high, travel advice is updated.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make it his policy to bring forward a new UN Human Rights Council resolution on bringing perpetrators of violations of human rights to justice in Sri Lanka using an Independent Investigative Mechanism model at the next meeting of the UN (a) Human Rights Council and (b) General Assembly; and if he will make a statement.

The UK has long supported efforts to promote peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, including in our role as penholder on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). We firmly believe that UNHRC resolution 30/1, and its successor resolutions 34/1 and 40/1, remain the best framework for establishing truth and achieving justice and lasting reconciliation following the conflict in Sri Lanka. We have made this clear in statements delivered on behalf of the Core Group on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in February, June and September.

The Minister of State for South Asia and Minister responsible for Human Rights, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, has also raised the importance of justice and accountability on several occasions with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, most recently during calls on 4 and 5 November respectively. We will continue to engage with the Government of Sri Lanka to underline the importance we attach to this issue. Ahead of the March 2021 session of the UNHRC, we will continue to work with our international partners and with the HRC on how best to take forward this longstanding priority for the UK.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, further to the statement of UN experts on human rights in Jammu and Kashmir of 4 August 2020, what diplomatic steps he is taking to promote human rights in Jammu and Kashmir; and if he will make a statement.

We are aware of the statement written by UN Special Rapporteurs on 4 August. The UK recognises that there are human rights concerns in India-administered Kashmir. We encourage all states to ensure domestic laws are in line with international standards. Any allegation of human rights violations or abuse is deeply concerning and must be investigated transparently, promptly and thoroughly. We have raised our concerns directly with the Government of India.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to promote peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

The UK has long supported efforts to promote peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, including in our role as penholder on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). We firmly believe that UNHRC resolution 30/1, and its successor resolutions 34/1 and 40/1, remain the best framework for establishing truth and achieving justice and lasting reconciliation following the conflict in Sri Lanka. We continue to encourage and support Sri Lanka to deliver on the commitments it made to the UNHRC through these resolutions.

We are concerned about the Government of Sri Lanka's decision to withdraw support for the UN resolution. Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, has raised these concerns on several occasions with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. The Foreign Secretary also underlined the importance of accountability and reconciliation when he spoke to Foreign Minister Gunawardena in May. The UK Government made our concerns clear in statements delivered on behalf of the Core Group on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in February, June and September. These statements reiterated our ongoing commitment to justice and accountability for victims of conflict and human rights violations, and lasting reconciliation. We also have an active programme of engagement with a wide range of civil society groups and vulnerable communities, and support efforts to deliver peace and reconciliation through our programme work, including as part of the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund. This includes support for resettlement and sustainable livelihoods of those displaced by the conflict, peacebuilding and landmine clearance, and a number of capacity building programmes to strengthen democracy, the rule of law and reconciliation.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
16th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his Sri Lankan counterpart on promoting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

The UK continues to encourage and support Sri Lanka to deliver the commitments it made to the UN Human Rights Council through Resolutions 30/1, 34/1 and 40/1. We firmly believe that this is the best framework for establishing truth and achieving justice and lasting reconciliation following the conflict in Sri Lanka.

We are concerned about the government of Sri Lanka's decision to withdraw support for the UN Resolution. Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, who is also responsible for Human Rights, has raised these concerns on several occasions with the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. The Foreign Secretary also underlined the importance of accountability and reconciliation when he spoke to Foreign Minister Gunawardena in May. The UK Government made our concerns clear in statements delivered on behalf of the Core Group on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in February, June and September. These statements reiterated our ongoing commitment to justice and accountability for victims of conflict and human rights violations, and lasting reconciliation. We continue to engage with the Government of Sri Lanka on this important issue.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to his oral contribution of 6 July 2020, Official Report, column 673, when he plans to co-host a conference on freedom of religion or belief; and if he will make a statement.

Defending the right to Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) for all is a priority for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. In line with our commitment to championing FoRB, the UK intends to host an international Ministerial conference on this issue. We will announce a date for hosting this conference over the coming months.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the Government of India on Kashmir; and if he will make a statement.

We are in regular contact with the Indian Government regarding the situation in Kashmir. The Foreign Secretary most recently spoke about Kashmir with India's External Affairs Minister Jaishankar on 20 April. Our longstanding position is that it is for India and Pakistan to identify a lasting, political resolution that takes into account the wishes of the Kashmiri people. It is not for the UK to mediate or prescribe a solution.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
13th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Indian counterpart on internet communication between UK citizens with friends and family in Indian-administered Kashmir during the covid-19 pandemic; and if he will make a statement.

We are in regular contact with the Indian Government regarding the situation in Kashmir. The Foreign Secretary most recently spoke about Kashmir with Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar on 20 April. We remain concerned about ongoing restrictions on internet services in India-administered Kashmir and call for these to be lifted as soon as possible.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
10th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affair, what assessment he has made of the accuracy of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China 2019 survey findings on intimidation and harassment of journalists in China.

We are deeply concerned by the credible findings of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China's Annual Report. On 2 March, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad publicly set out his concerns that more foreign journalists in China are facing visa restrictions, and more are being harassed, intimidated and monitored by the authorities.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to promote (a) human rights and (b) secular government throughout the world.

The UK is committed to protecting and promoting human rights throughout the world through both bilateral and multilateral engagement, by working with and supporting human rights defenders, who play an essential role in upholding and promoting respect for human rights, democratic freedoms and civil society. We regularly raise concerns about countries that do not comply with their human rights obligations at the UN Human Rights Council, the Council of Europe and other multilateral fora; the UK has provided recommendations at every country's Universal Periodic Review since it began in 2008.

Additionally, we work to support democracies across the globe, whether secular or otherwise, as the system that best allows for societies that are more secure, more prosperous, and better equipped to meet the needs of their people. Effective democracy allows people to discuss and debate issues freely, to challenge their governments and to make informed decisions. Through our work with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and others, the UK works to strengthen democracy and to create inclusive, accountable and transparent democratic systems across the globe.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies on international human rights of (a) recent protests against and (b) allegations of mistreatment of people arrested under the Government of India's Citizenship Amendment Act.

The British High Commission in New Delhi and our network of Deputy High Commissions across India are following reports on the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens, as well as the Government of India's response. We raise our concerns with the Government of India where appropriate. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon discussed the Government of India's intent with the CAA, and public response to the legislation, with India's Minister of State for External Affairs on 19 December 2019. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials also raised the issue with the High Commission of India in London on 14 January.

India has a proud history of inclusive government and religious tolerance. Post-election, Prime Minister Modi promised to continue this under the guiding principles of "together with all, development for all, trust of all". We trust the Government of India will provide reassurances to its citizens who are expressing concern about the impact this legislation may have. We will continue to monitor the situation.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will (a) reappoint and (b) adequately resource the Prime Minister's Envoy for Freedom of Religion and Belief; and if he will make a statement.

Rehman Chishti MP has been reappointed as the Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief. Funding has been agreed for the office which should adequately cover travel and administrative costs.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what his timescale is for implementing the recommendations of the Bishop of Truro’s Independent Review for the Foreign Secretary of FCO Support for Persecuted Christians; and if he will make a statement.

The British government is committed to implementing the recommendations from the Bishop of Truro's Review. The recommendations have been divided into short, medium and longer term priorities and we have already implemented a good number of them. This includes recently appointing a Director General level champion for Freedom of Religion or Belief and marking Red Wednesday in support of persecuted Christians and members of other minority groups. Some of the recommendations will take longer to implement and many will require an ongoing effort to embed into the working practice of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and other Departments.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect on the human rights of Muslims in India of that Government's recent decision to pass the Citizenship Amendment Bill; and if he will make a statement.

The British Government and the British High Commission in New Delhi are following the human rights situation across India and raise issues with Indian officials where appropriate.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation affecting Uighur Muslims in China; and if he will make a statement.

We have particularly serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang including the extra-judicial detention of over a million Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in “political re-education camps”, systematic restrictions on Uyghur culture and the practice of Islam, and extensive and invasive surveillance targeting minorities. Reports indicating that forced labour is being used and children are being forcibly separated from their parents add to the growing body of evidence about the disturbing situation that Uyghurs and other minorities are facing in Xinjiang.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) humanitarian and (b) political situation in Indian-administered Kashmir; and if he will make a statement.

We are following the situation in Kashmir closely. Events in Kashmir can have regional and international implications and we urge calm and caution from all. We encourage the Government of India to ensure that the humanitarian needs of the people of India-administered Kashmir are being met. It is important that individual rights are fully respected and that there is constructive dialogue with affected communities. We have raised our concerns, including on the continued use of detentions and restrictions on communications, with the Government of India,​ most recently during Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon's meeting with Indian MEA Minsiter Muraleedharan on 19 December.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to ensure that the savings induced by his reforms to alcohol duty will be passed to consumers.

These are commercial matters between vendors and their suppliers.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy that any central bank digital currency will not be used to direct, control or hold under surveillance the spending of holders of such currency by ensuring that the currency is not programmable.

The Government and the Bank of England have not yet made a decision on whether to introduce a central bank digital currency (CBDC) in the UK, and will engage widely with stakeholders on the benefits, risks and practicalities of doing so.

Maintaining user safety and privacy is an utmost priority as the Government and the Bank appraises the case for a CBDC in the UK.

The Government’s commitment to ensuring any CBDCs operate within appropriate privacy frameworks was set out in the G7’s public policy principles for CBDC, as part of the UK’s G7 Presidency.  These principles set out rigorous standards of privacy, accountability for the protection of users’ data, and transparency on how information will be secured and used is essential for any CBDC to command trust and confidence.

Earlier this month, the Government committed to public consultation with the Bank of England in 2022 setting out an assessment of the case for a UK CBDC, including the merits of further work to develop an operational and technology model for a UK CBDC.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Nov 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what his planned timetable is for the (a) completion and (b) publication of the independent research commissioned by the Government into the short-term impacts of the April 2021 reform of the off-payroll working rules.

HMRC has commissioned external research into the short-term effects of the April 2021 off-payroll working rules reform in the private and voluntary sectors, and fieldwork for this research started in October.

The research is expected to be completed in spring 2022 and will be published in due course once complete.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the impact of the implementation of IR35 on the number of drivers in the haulage industry.

The Tax Information and Impact Note published in March 2021 sets out expected impacts of the April 2021 reform of the off-payroll working rules: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/off-payroll-working-rules-from-april-2021/off-payroll-working-rules-from-april-2021.

The Government committed to commission independent research into the short-term impacts of the reform by October 2021 during the debate on the Finance Bill 2020. That research has now been commissioned, and the findings will be published once complete.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether an independent estimate of the economic cost of the Net Zero policy is being prepared as part of the Net Zero Review; if he will publish the underlying assumptions and calculations of that estimate; and if he will make a statement.

The Net Zero Review is an analytical review that uses existing data to explore the key issues and trade-offs as the UK decarbonises. Against a backdrop of significant uncertainty on technology and costs, as well as changes to the economy over the next 30 years, it focuses on the potential exposure of households and sectors to the transition, and highlights factors to be taken into account in designing policy that will allocate costs over this time horizon. The final report will follow on from the interim report published in December 2020 and set out the key findings from the research and analysis carried out as part of the Net Zero Review.

The Net Zero Review final report will be published in due course, and in advance of COP26

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
25th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on tackling HMRC-related impersonation fraud.

The Chancellor is in regular contact with Cabinet colleagues, including the Home Secretary. In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of ministerial discussions are not normally disclosed.

HMRC have many hundreds of millions of contacts with the public every year. Creating clear air between genuine HMRC communications and those attempting to abuse the HMRC brand to commit fraud is a high priority for HMRC. HMRC’s success in preventing the UK public being duped by fraudulent operators impersonating legitimate contact is reflected in the move from HMRC as the third most phished brand globally five years ago, to not featuring in the top 100 most phished brands today.

25th May 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent estimate he has made of the proportion of legitimate HMRC contact with the public that the public has mistakenly perceived to be fraudulent; and what estimate he has made of the cost of that mistaken perception to the public purse.

The Chancellor is in regular contact with Cabinet colleagues, including the Home Secretary. In line with the practice of successive administrations, details of ministerial discussions are not normally disclosed.

HMRC have many hundreds of millions of contacts with the public every year. Creating clear air between genuine HMRC communications and those attempting to abuse the HMRC brand to commit fraud is a high priority for HMRC. HMRC’s success in preventing the UK public being duped by fraudulent operators impersonating legitimate contact is reflected in the move from HMRC as the third most phished brand globally five years ago, to not featuring in the top 100 most phished brands today.

26th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to Dame Elizabeth Gloster's report entitled, Independent Investigation into the Financial Conduct Authority’s Regulation of London Capital & Finance plc, published on 23 November 2020, what steps he has taken to implement the recommendations of that report and re-compensate bondholders.

The Government recognises that this has been a very difficult time for LCF bondholders. That is why on 23 May 2019, following a request from Charles Randell, Chair of the FCA, we formally directed the FCA to launch an independent investigation into the events at LCF, and approved the FCA’s appointment of Dame Elizabeth Gloster to lead it.

Dame Elizabeth’s independent investigation considered the events and circumstances surrounding the failure of LCF and whether, in its supervision of LCF, the FCA discharged its functions in a manner which enabled it to effectively fulfil its statutory objectives. Dame Elizabeth delivered her report to the FCA on 23 November 2020, and the report alongside the FCA’s response was published on 17 December 2020. A Written Ministerial Statement was made on the same day setting out the Government’s response. These documents are available online at gov.uk.

Dame Elizabeth makes nine recommendations for the FCA. The Government welcomes the FCA’s apology to LCF bondholders and their commitment to implement Dame Elizabeth’s recommendations.

HM Treasury has also accepted the four recommendations that Dame Elizabeth Gloster made for the government regarding the regulatory regime. The Written Statement set out the steps that the Government will be taking to implement them.

As set out in the Written Statement, there are three main channels through which London Capital & Finance plc (LCF) bondholders can seek compensation. These are the administration process, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), and the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Complaints Scheme.

The Written Statement also set out that, taking into consideration the specific and complex set of circumstances surrounding the collapse of LCF, the Treasury will set up a compensation scheme which will assess whether there is justification for further one-off compensation payments in certain circumstances for some LCF bondholders. The Government will announce further details in due course.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the (a) potential effect on community benefit societies of the Social Investment Tax Relief ending in April 2021 and (b) potential merits of extending that tax relief.

The Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) was introduced in 2014 to incentivise risk finance investments in qualifying social enterprises and charities. HMRC statistics show that up to 2018-19, about 110 enterprises have used the scheme to raise £11.2 million.

The Government keeps all taxes and reliefs under review in order to ensure they continue to meet policy objectives and represent value for money for taxpayers. The Government previously published a Call for Evidence on SITR’s use to date. A response to the consultation will be published in due course and a decision on SITR’s future will be announced at the Budget ahead of its sunset clause in April 2021.

20th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the financial effect of the extended duration of the covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions put in place in response to the covid-19 outbreak on (a) limited company directors, (b) the self-employed, (c) hospitality staff substantially remunerated through tronc payments and (d) others who have received no or limited Government support during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Government has provided substantial levels of support throughout this crisis to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods, and support businesses and public services across the UK. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has helped to pay the wages of people in 9.9 million jobs across the country and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has received claims from 2.7 million self-employed workers.

The Government has acknowledged that it has not been possible to support everyone as they might want and that the past months have been very difficult for many people.

The Government has put in place a wide-ranging £280 billion package of support including over £65 billion in affordable finance to firms through business loan schemes, a temporary £8 billion increase to welfare, mortgage holidays, help with council tax payments, business loans, grants, a business rates holiday, and tax cuts and VAT deferrals.

The resurgence of the virus has required further action to protect people’s health, while preserving the capacity of people to work and businesses to trade. The Government keeps the economic response to the pandemic under review.

18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of setting up an equity finance scheme to support businesses through the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

As part of the government’s response to Covid-19, we developed the Future Fund, which provides equity finance for high growth, highly innovative companies. As of December, more than 900 firms have taken part in the scheme.
Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reducing the VAT rate on building refurbishment works to zero.

The Government already maintains a reduced rate of VAT at five per cent, subject to certain conditions, for residential renovations.

Introducing a zero rate of VAT would come at a significant cost to the Exchequer, estimated at about £4 billion per year, which would have to be balanced by a reduction in public spending, higher borrowing or increased taxation elsewhere. While the Government keeps all taxes under review, there are no plans to change the VAT treatment of the repair and renovation of buildings.A

8th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of reducing the VAT rate to zero for existing dwellings when making energy efficient improvements as part of any climate change strategy.

The installation of various environmentally friendly home improvement materials, such as insulation and draft stripping, is already eligible for relief from VAT, subject to certain conditions.

Although the Government keeps all taxes under review, there are no plans to change the VAT treatment of home improvements at present.

7th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to the outcome of the consultation on the Reform to Retail Prices Index (RPI), published on 25 November 2020. what steps the Government plans to take to (a) protect the lifetime value of people’s defined benefit pension savings which are RPI-linked from 2030 and (b) maintain confidence in defined benefit pension schemes.

On 25 November, the Government and UK Statistics Authority (UKSA) published their response to the consultation on the timing of reform to the Retail Prices Index (RPI). Owing to shortcomings in its calculation, UKSA intends to bring the methods and data sources of the Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) into RPI.

The Government and UKSA are mindful of the widespread use of RPI in the economy, and, as such, sought views in the consultation on the broader impacts of reform. The Government and UKSA received approximately 550 responses from members of defined benefit (DB) pension schemes whose benefits are linked to RPI.

It is apparent that some DB pension schemes members will be affected by UKSA’s reform. The effect of reform on the members of such schemes will depend on whether their benefits are linked to RPI under the trust deed and rules of the scheme.

The announcement in the response by the Chancellor and UKSA Chair means that reform will not be implemented before 2030. The Government keeps the occupational pensions system under review and will continue to do so.

For further information please see the consultation response at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/a-consultation-on-the-reform-to-retail-prices-index-rpi-methodology.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what fiscal steps his Department is taking to create a positive environment for investment in the UK after the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.

The Government will maintain a competitive tax environment for business, ensuring the UK remains one of the most attractive places in the world to invest, start and grow a business.

As part of this, last month the Government announced a year-long extension to the £1 million temporary cap of the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA). The AIA provides firms 100% same year tax relief on qualifying capital expenditure, up to a fixed limit; and it responds to the needs of business, providing further upfront support for investment in 2021.

5th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of moving the trigger point for the Stamp Duty holiday from the date of completion to the date of sale.

The Stamp Duty Land Tax temporary rates apply to transactions completed or substantially performed between 8 July 2020 and 31 March 2021. A transaction is substantially performed where the buyer has paid 90% of the purchase price, or where they have possession of the whole or substantially the whole of the property.

Completion and substantial performance are recognised legal concepts and using them as trigger points for Stamp Duty Land Tax provides certainty to consumers and to HMRC. There is no standard definition of a point of sale in a housing transaction and so moving the trigger point for a transaction to the date of sale would lead to uncertainty and confusion among home buyers. This lack of certainty would also mean that such a trigger point would be open to abuse.

As with all tax policy, the Government continues to monitor the impact of the SDLT temporary rates.

5th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the stamp duty holiday for six to 12 months.

The temporary increase in the Stamp Duty Land Tax nil rate band was designed to create immediate momentum within the property market, where property transactions fell by as much as 50 per cent during the COVID-19 lockdown. The downturn in the market meant that the future was uncertain for many people whose jobs relied on custom from the property industry. There are already early signs that demand and transactions have increased, and are continuing to rise, since the increase to the SDLT nil rate band was announced in July.

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

20th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will ensure the decision on the treatment of the full life cycle of renewable, plant based plastics under the proposed plastic packaging tax will support the Government’s wider carbon reduction and climate change goals; and if he will make a statement.

The departments for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are in the process of analysing responses to their call for evidence on setting standards for biodegradable, compostable and bio-based plastics as part of the Bioeconomy Strategy. This will also reinforce the Government’s understanding of their environmental impact of their wider adoption.

As set out in the current consultation on the Plastic Packaging Tax, the Government decided not to pre-judge the outcome of this work by having any special treatment for these types of plastics, which could encourage wider adoption of them. This is also in line with the majority view to the first consultation on the tax conducted in 2019.

The Government will keep their treatment within the tax under review throughout the process of introduction in April 2022 and following this to ensure the tax continues to deliver on the Government’s environmental objectives.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
16th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what progress he has made in reviewing the benefits of the use of renewable plant-based plastics; and whether he plans to complete that review in time to inform the treatment of those plastics under the proposed plastic packaging tax.

The departments for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are in the process of analysing responses to their call for evidence on setting standards for biodegradable, compostable and bio-based plastics as part of the Bioeconomy Strategy. This will also reinforce the Government’s understanding of their environmental impact of their wider adoption.

As set out in the current consultation on the Plastic Packaging Tax, the Government decided not to pre-judge the outcome of this work by having any special treatment for these types of plastics, which could encourage wider adoption of them. This is also in line with the majority view to the first consultation on the tax conducted in 2019.

The Government will keep their treatment within the tax under review throughout the process of introduction in April 2022 and following this to ensure the tax continues to deliver on the Government’s environmental objectives.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of treating mechanical ventilation with heat recovery as an energy saving measure in order for such ventilation to qualify for a reduced rate of VAT.

Until the transition period negotiated as part of the Withdrawal Agreement is complete, the current UK VAT rules will continue to apply.

However, HM Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs are working closely together to consider any changes that may be needed to ensure that the VAT system supports the Government’s objectives for both the Net Zero Review and its wider fiscal and economic strategy.

29th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of Co-operatives UK’s campaign to build back better following the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the value of co-operatives, and the contribution they make to all sectors of the economy. The first phase of our economic response has seen us take unprecedented steps to support the economy through the crisis; to keep as many people as possible in their existing jobs, to support viable businesses, including co-operatives, to stay afloat, and to protect the incomes of the most vulnerable.

As we start to open the economy up and we look forward, our energies will focus on planning for the recovery, we will consider how best to support the economic recovery. We will develop new measures to grow the economy, to back business, including co-operatives, to boost skills, and to help people thrive in the new post-Covid world. We will continue to consider how we can best support the co-operative sector to reach its potential, and welcome the views of Co-operatives UK and others in the sector as we do.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will (a) extend and (b) review the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to ensure people working in the aviation industry are effectively supported.

The Government recognises the challenging times facing the aviation sector as a result of COVID-19. Firms experiencing difficulties as a result of COVID-19 can draw upon the unprecedented package of measures announced by the Chancellor, including schemes to raise capital, flexibilities with tax bills, and financial support for employees.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is a temporary scheme in place for 8 months starting from 1 March and ending at the end of October.

As of midnight 28 June 2020, the CJRS has helped 1.1 million employers across the UK furlough 9.3 million jobs, protecting people’s livelihoods.

As the Chancellor set out in his letter to the aviation sector, should individual firms still find themselves in difficulty after exhausting all other options, the Government is prepared to enter negotiations with them as a last resort. Any intervention would need to represent value for money for taxpayers.

26th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to ensure there is support for co-operative entrepreneurship in the Government's covid-19 recovery strategies; and if he will make a statement.

The Government recognises the value of co-operatives, and the contribution they make to all sectors of the economy. The first phase of our economic response has seen us take unprecedented steps to support the economy through the crisis; to keep as many people as possible in their existing jobs, to support viable businesses, including co-operatives, to stay afloat, and to protect the incomes of the most vulnerable.

As we start to open the economy up and we look forward, our energies will focus on planning for the recovery, we will consider how best to support the economic recovery. We will develop new measures to grow the economy, to back business, including co-operatives, to boost skills, and to help people thrive in the new post-Covid world. We will continue to consider how we can best support the co-operative sector to reach its potential, and welcome the views of Co-operatives UK and others in the sector as we do.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
4th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of reducing (a) VAT, (B) national insurance contributions, (c) income tax, (d) corporation tax, (e) Stamp Duty Land Tax and (f) other taxes to contribute to the UK's economic recovery after the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

The Treasury has taken unprecedented steps to keep as many people in their existing jobs, support viable businesses to stay afloat and protect the incomes of the most vulnerable. These measures have been on a scale unmatched by any government in recent history.

As the Chancellor has said, a new national collective effort has begun: to reopen the country and kickstart the economy. As part of this, the Treasury is keeping all taxes under review. The Chancellor will update Parliament at the appropriate time.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the income forgone by furloughed workers who usually receive tronc payments through formal PAYE payrolls; and if he will make a statement.

The objective of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJR) is to help employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) to retain their employees and protect the UK economy. To achieve this, the grants compensate employers for the payments that they are obliged to make in order to avoid the need for redundancies. Covering discretionary payments would go beyond the objectives of the scheme.

Therefore, where tronc payments are non-discretionary, they are included when calculating payments for the purpose of the CJRS. Where tronc payments are made at the discretion of the employer or a client, they cannot be included when calculating payments for the purpose of the CJRS.

1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reasons he has not amended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to compensate furloughed workers for tronc payments through formal PAYE payrolls for which HMRC has RTI data; and if he will make a statement.

The objective of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJR) is to help employers whose operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) to retain their employees and protect the UK economy. To achieve this, the grants compensate employers for the payments that they are obliged to make in order to avoid the need for redundancies. Covering discretionary payments would go beyond the objectives of the scheme.

Therefore, where tronc payments are non-discretionary, they are included when calculating payments for the purpose of the CJRS. Where tronc payments are made at the discretion of the employer or a client, they cannot be included when calculating payments for the purpose of the CJRS.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many incidences of failure to pay the national minimum wage have been discovered by HMRC at hand car washes.

The Government is determined that everyone who is entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) receives it. All businesses, irrespective of size or business sector, are responsible for paying the correct minimum wage to their staff.

HMRC continue to crack down on employers who ignore the law, ensuring workers receive the wages to which they are entitled.

HMRC recognise that hand car washes are a high-risk sector for NMW non-compliance. Since 2017 HMRC have undertaken proactive compliance activity targeted at car washes operating across the UK.

In 2017-18, HMRC closed 41 cases where NMW arrears were identified for workers employed at car washes, and a further 52 cases in 2018-19.

HMRC encourage any worker who suspects that they are being paid less than the NMW to contact ACAS on 0300 123 1100, or to submit a query online at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pay-and-work-rights-complaints.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will take steps to ensure taxpayers are adequately informed of the implications of Disclosure of tax avoidance schemes (DOTAS) registration; and if he will make a statement.

Under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Scheme (DOTAS) regime introduced in 2004, promoters of a tax scheme are required to notify HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) where a scheme contains various hallmarks of tax avoidance. Once notified, HMRC send the promoter a Scheme Reference Number (SRN) to give to any user of the scheme. Users must then include the reference number on their tax return. This helps identify users to HMRC for possible investigation.

Since 2009 promoters have been required to inform their clients that disclosure under DOTAS does not represent approval of the scheme by HMRC. Employers involved in disguised remuneration schemes and promoters are legally obliged to inform their employees and clients via forms AAG7 or AAG6. Both forms AAG6 and AAG7 make it absolutely clear that the recipient is involved in a disclosed tax avoidance scheme, that the scheme is not HMRC approved, and that DOTAS registration means the recipient is likely to be investigated for tax avoidance by HMRC.

Failure to inform clients carries a penalty of £5,000 per failure for promoters, and up to the same amount per employee, for employers.

Further information about forms AAG6 and AAG7 is available at the links below: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/491693/AAG6_10_15.pdf; https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/491713/AAG7_10_15.pdf

19th Dec 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make it his policy to delay the Loan Charge payment deadline of 31 January 2020 until after he has made an assessment of Sir Amyas Morse's review of the Loan Charge; and if he will make a statement.

The Government published Sir Amyas Morse’s independent review of the Loan Charge on 20 December, alongside the Government’s response to his recommendations. The Government welcomes Sir Amyas’ recognition that disguised remuneration schemes are a form of tax avoidance and that action was needed to tackle their use. However, the Government recognises concerns raised by the Review about the design of the Loan Charge and the impact on those liable to pay it and is therefore accepting all but one of the Review’s recommendations. The Government will ensure taxpayers have sufficient time to consider the impact of these changes on their tax position and individuals can now defer submitting their tax return and paying their Loan Charge liability until 30 September 2020, without incurring any penalties or interest.

19th Dec 2019
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish Sir Amyas Morse's review of the Loan Charge on 8 January 2020; and if he will make an oral statement on that day.

The Government published Sir Amyas Morse’s independent review of the Loan Charge on 20 December, alongside the Government’s response to his recommendations. The Government welcomes Sir Amyas’ recognition that disguised remuneration schemes are a form of tax avoidance and that action was needed to tackle their use. However, the Government recognises concerns raised by the Review about the design of the Loan Charge and the impact on those liable to pay it and is therefore accepting all but one of the Review’s recommendations. The Government will ensure taxpayers have sufficient time to consider the impact of these changes on their tax position and individuals can now defer submitting their tax return and paying their Loan Charge liability until 30 September 2020, without incurring any penalties or interest.

19th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when the Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme will be re-opened.

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) is not yet open. Officials are working urgently to stand up the remaining elements of the scheme, amid the complex and changing picture.

The Government will continue to work closely with other government departments, non-governmental organisations, charities, local authorities and other partners and relevant organisations in the development and implementation of the ACRS.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will introduce a 12-month covid-19 recovery visa for people involved in the food and drinks sector supply chains.

The Government position remains we will not be introducing a short-term visa route allowing recruitment at or near the minimum wage with no work-based training requirements, such as the ‘Covid recovery visa’ which has been suggested.

Most of the solutions for labour shortages are likely to be driven by industry, with a big push towards improving pay, conditions and diversity needed. This includes business facing recruitment issues engaging with the Department for Work and Pensions about the support they can provide, rather than turning to the Home Office for immigration based solutions instead.

The UK labour market has changed rapidly in recent months and we need time to monitor the impact of the new Skilled Worker route, as well as how the economy recovers post-Covid 19 including those individuals who will begin returning to the labour market from the furlough scheme.

The independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) found some roles in the food production, supply and agricultural sectors meet the RQF3 skills threshold for the Skilled Worker route so are eligible to be sponsored for a Skilled Worker visa and can therefore be recruited on global basis. The threshold was previously set at degree-level jobs. Modelling by the MAC suggests the new, broader RQF3 threshold strikes a reasonable balance between controlling immigration and business access to labour.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent steps she has taken to reduce knife crime among young people through working with schools.

This Government is committed to reducing serious violence, including knife crime, and prevent the tragedies affecting our communities. We are taking a whole system approach - this involves working with a wide range of partners to combat crime, including schools.

We have invested £105.5m over three years into to establish and develop 18 multi-agency Violence Reduction Units (VRUs), which bring together key partners across health, education, policing, housing, and others to address the root causes of serious violence in the worst affected areas. These VRUs commission a range of interventions to intervene early and prevent crime, including close working with schools to support vulnerable young people, such as through mentoring programmes, sports-based interventions, and behavioural therapy. With an additional £30 million this year for ‘Grip’ funding, to bolster operational problem-solving police activity work, some forces are also carrying out interventions, engagement and education work in schools alongside the VRUS. We have also invested £200 million in early intervention and understanding what interventions work best to reduce violence, through the 10-Year Youth Endowment Fund (YEF). YEF’s funded projects ensure those most at risk are given the opportunity to turn away from violence and lead positive lives; and will provide robust evidence about the effectiveness of different interventions.

The Government also supports Operation Sceptre’s knife crime weeks of action conducted by police forces across England and Wales, which include knife crime awareness session in education establishments. In the last week of action beginning 26 April, police forces conducted 1,481 school engagement events.

In addition, in 2020 the National Police Chiefs’ Council published guidance to schools on ‘When to call the police’ which provides advice regarding incidents on schools and colleges premises if a potential crime has been committed. This covers weapons enabled crime and also how to identify vulnerable children. It should be read alongside DfE’s statutory guidance Keeping Children Safe in Education.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on encouraging vehicle manufacturers to take steps to help prevent the theft of keyless vehicles.

The Government is committed to tackling vehicle crime as a priority. We continue to work closely with the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for vehicle crime, through the National Vehicle Crime Working Group, which includes representatives from the motor industry and Department for Transport, to take forward a programme of work. This work is overseen by the Government’s Crime and Justice Taskforce.

As part of this programme, the National Vehicle Crime Working Group has established a horizon-scanning group to identify potential future trends, threats and vulnerability in vehicle security and vehicle-related crime. We will continue to engage closely with academics, vehicle manufacturers and policing leads to undertake research and implement actions to mitigate future opportunities to criminally exploit technological and design changes in the automotive industry.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
25th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to encourage collaboration between (a) Ofcom, (b) the Telecommunications sector and (c) the National Crime Agency on reducing fraud; and if she will make a statement.

The Government is exploring a range of different measures aimed at tackling the criminal abuse of mobile telecommunications across a range of different crime types including fraud.

As set out in our Economic Crime Plan (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/economic-crime-plan-2019-to-2022), we are clear that a public- private partnership is essential in tackling fraud. Government, telecommunications providers, law enforcement, regulators, including Ofcom, and consumer groups are in regular conversation with the aim of protecting the public from these crimes. This includes developing a voluntary charter of the actions that telecoms companies will take to prevent fraud.

The Government will build on this work through our Fraud Action Plan, an ambitious approach grounded in prevention, education, effective enforcement and regulatory reforms that will be published after the Spending Review.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of police enforcement of covid-19 restrictions on the (a) nature of policing and (b) relationship between the police and the public; and if she will make a statement.

The police have played a vital role in the response to this pandemic, helping to keep the public safe, and ensuring that public order is maintained in these unprecedented circumstances.

Policing continues to be by consent. Throughout the pandemic the police approach to enforcing restrictions has followed the four-step escalation principles – engaging, explaining, encouraging, and then enforcing where necessary. In addition, the police have maintained community relations as local measures have come into effect.

The latest published ONS figures show that confidence in the police remains at high levels with 85% being very or fairly satisfied with the way the police in the local area is responding to the virus outbreak.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will write to police forces to explain that political protests are allowed under the proposed tier system provided required risk assessments and precautions are taken; and if she will make a statement.

The College of Policing has provided police forces with guidance on the changes to Covid regulations which came into force on 2nd December. Protests will be able to take place if the organiser has taken all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of coronavirus, including completing a risk assessment and following COVID-19 secure guidance. The police will engage with protest organisers and protesters to ensure that the rules are followed.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of an amnesty for people arrested as part of anti-lockdown protests during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown.

The right to peaceful protest is one of the cornerstones of our democracy. However, in these unprecedented circumstances it is vital that everyone plays a part in controlling the virus.

The time-limited, national measures previously in place between 5 November-1 December, applied to protests and to all other gatherings, except for a few exemptions such as funerals. Everyone was required to follow these rules.It is for the Police, in conjunction with the Crown Prosecution Service to determine whether an action warrants possible criminal proceedings.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the extent of destitution among asylum seekers; and if she will make a statement.

All asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute can apply for accommodation and other support to meet their essential living needs.

Individuals are notified of the availability of this support at the point they make their asylum claim and it can be applied for by emailing Migrant Help at: ASCorrespondence@migranthelpuk.org or by telephone on: 0808 8010 503.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make it her policy to grant asylum seekers the right to work.

Asylum seekers are allowed to work in the UK if their claim has been outstanding for 12 months or more, through no fault of their own.

Those permitted to work are restricted to jobs on the Shortage Occupation List, which is based on expert advice from the independent Migration Advisory Committee.

It is important to distinguish between those who need protection and those seeking to work here, who can apply for a work visa under the Immigration Rules. Our wider policy could be undermined if migrants bypassed work visa Rules by lodging unfounded asylum claims here.

Unrestricted access to employment could act as an incentive for more migrants to choose to come here illegally, rather than claim asylum in the first safe country they reach.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will secure funding settlements for the police extending over two to three years in the Spending Review.

The Department is in the process of undertaking work on the Spending Review, in consultation with the policing sector. We will continue to make the best case for policing to deliver this Government’s top priorities and will make an announcement in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will ensure that police officers are not used to backfill police staff roles to achieve cost savings; and if she will make a statement.

The Department is in the process of undertaking work on the Spending Review, in consultation with the policing sector. We will continue to make the best case for policing to deliver this Government’s top priorities and will make an announcement in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, she will ensure that police staff roles are sufficiently resourced through the Spending Review to ensure that new police officers are not diverted away from core policing duties.

The Department is in the process of undertaking work on the Spending Review, in consultation with the policing sector. We will continue to make the best case for policing to deliver this Government’s top priorities and will make an announcement in due course.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will bring forward legislative proposals before the 2020 summer recess to tackle unauthorised traveller camps through (a) giving the police new powers to arrest and seize the property and vehicles of trespassers who set up unauthorised encampments, (b) making intentional trespass a criminal offence and (c) giving local authorities greater powers within the planning system.

On 5 November 2019, the Government launched a consultation seeking views on measures to strengthen police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments The consultation closed on the 5 March. We will announce the outcome of this consultation in due course.

The government is committed to strengthening national policy so local planning authorities have stronger grounds to reject retrospective planning applications where there has been intentional unauthorised development. MHCLG will also extend the time period for temporary stop notices giving local planning authorities more time to build their case for enforcement action. MHCLG intend to consult on the details of these proposals shortly.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the condition of Royal Air Force (a) single living accommodation, (b) mess accommodation and (c) service families accommodation; and if he will make a statement.

There has been no recent assessment of the totality of single living accommodation, which includes mess accommodation, provided by the Royal Air Force (RAF), but data collected between 2005 and 2020 does provide an overview of their condition. All single living accommodation the RAF provides to its personnel is required to be of a suitable standard and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) is currently working to define a Defence Minimum Standard (DMS) against which all single living accommodation will be assessed.

The MOD’s Defence Infrastructure Organisation manages, on a Tri-Service basis, around 50,000 properties in the UK including targeted improvement programmes and planning future requirements. Therefore, it is not possible to separately identify RAF Service Families Accommodation (SFA). However, as at 1 September 2021, of the 99% of SFA that were assessed, 87.8% of the properties were above the Government’s Decent Homes Standard and 8.9% were at the standard. The remaining 2.3% were considered below the standard and not allocated to Service Families.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
10th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of the condition of Royal Air Force service accommodation on (a) flight safety, (b) operational effectiveness and (c) morale; and if he will make a statement.

There have been no recent assessments conducted specifically in relation to accommodation issues affecting flight safety and operational effectiveness. However, the annual Armed Forces Continuous Attitude Survey (AFCAS) includes questions regarding accommodation and morale to enable the MOD to garner the views of Service personnel and act where necessary.

The most recent report is published on the Gov.UK website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/armed-forces-continuous-attitude-survey-2021

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)
3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the condition of mess accommodation; and if he will make a statement.

The Department uses two assessment methodologies to review the condition of 'mess accommodation' otherwise known as Single Living Accommodation (SLA).

Facilities Condition Management (FCM) assesses the fabric and services of all buildings across the Defence Estate. Specific to SLA, a Four Tier Grading system also measures accommodation against additional internal criteria. The combined results provide a more accurate assessment of the overall condition of the SLA.

The overall condition of the UK SLA estate is currently assessed as 'Fair' indicating that a proportion of the estate will require minor repairs and some infrequent larger repairs within three to five years. Each Service prioritises investment in their SLA based on the outcome of these assessments.

13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent steps he has taken to ensure that in areas where social and affordable housing is built, investment is simultaneously provided to develop local services within the same community.

I recognise the importance of ensuring new housing development is supported by the provision of infrastructure. Contributions from developers play an important role in delivering the infrastructure and affordable housing to support communities and local economies.

The Planning for the Future White Paper proposes introducing a new 'Infrastructure Levy', to replace the existing system of developer contributions. Through the Levy, local authorities will have greater flexibility to determine how contributions are spent to shape and support both existing and new communities. The Levy will also deliver more of the infrastructure these communities require by capturing a greater share of the uplift in land value that comes with development.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the impact of the price cap of First Homes on the (a) variety and (b) local suitability of homes produced for the scheme under Section 106 obligations.

It is important that the price caps for First Homes retain an element of clarity and consistency to support consumers, developers and mortgage lenders who may operate across multiple local areas. The two-tier price cap system the Government has instigated provides this clarity, while the values of £250,000 in England and £420,000 in Greater London have been set to ensure that at least 25% of all properties purchased by first-time buyers in every local authority in England and greater London would be captured.

Local authorities have the flexibility to lower these price caps if appropriate for their local housing markets or, crucially, to raise the minimum discount required to either 40% or 50%, to ensure that high-value areas are able to capture a greater variety of housing types and sizes.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what additional financial support the Government plans to provide to property developers to support the development of First Homes.

The Government does not plan to provide any additional financial support to property developers to support the development of First Homes through the planning system. First Homes will be delivered via developer contributions and First Homes exception sites. National Planning Policy was altered on 28 June 2021 to require that at least 25% of all the affordable homes funded through contributions by developers are First Homes, and to replace entry-level exception sites with First Homes exception sites. This will result in no change to property developers' financial contributions to affordable housing and no additional financial support will be provided


We will also announce further information on the delivery of 1,500 homes via a pilot shortly, which will involve some financial support being provided to developers in the form of grant payments.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made on the financial impact of First Homes on property developers, including the receipts for sale of First Homes.

Our assumption is that First Homes will have minimal financial implications for property developers. This is because First Homes will only change the tenure mix that developer contributions are spent on, not the overall value of those contributions. In future, 25% of all affordable homes delivered by developers as part of their obligatory contributions will be First Homes.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
6th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the impact of sales of First Homes on the sales of other forms of affordable housing including shared ownership.

In our Equality Impact Assessment (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/975121/EQIA_First_Homes.pdf) we have published the implications we expect First Homes to have for other affordable home schemes.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of updating the Solar Energy Planning Guidance to give the same protections to ordinary agricultural land, categories Agricultural Land Classification Grade 3b and below, that it receives in other planning guidance.

The National Planning Policy Framework sets out that planning policies and decisions should contribute to and enhance the natural and local environment by recognising the benefits from natural capital, including those from the best and most versatile agricultural land. Though the Framework does not refer to agricultural land that is less versatile (graded 3b, 4 or 5 by Natural England), it does expect local planning authorities to have regard to the character and beauty of the countryside, and to protect valued soils and landscapes. Wherever possible, authorities should make the most of brownfield land for development.

The Framework explains that all communities have a responsibility to help increase the use and supply of green energy, but this does not mean that the need for renewable energy automatically overrides environmental protections and the planning concerns of local communities. As with other types of development, it is important that the planning concerns of local communities are properly heard in matters that directly affect them.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will issue guidance (a) for all religions to allow for outdoor group prayer to take place with the same criteria that applies to indoor places of worship before Step 3 of the covid-19 response Spring 2021 roadmap and (b) to facilitate communal Eid prayer in connection with Ramadan.

We know that it will be disappointing that Eid will take place before Step 3 of the roadmap to reopening has been taken. However, we must remember that we are still living through a pandemic – every additional day of restrictions directly improves our ability to reduce transmission and control the virus.

Communal worship outdoors in the grounds of a Place of Worship is already possible. Outdoors each participating group can involve up to two households. Mosques will also be able to organise ‘Eid in the Park’ prayers, but will need to work with local councils and health officials to facilitate this. Because larger events inevitably carry risks around groups mingling we have advised anyone planning such an event to ensure they are modest in size and well stewarded to ensure social distancing guidelines are followed, consistent with our guidance on Outdoor Events.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the number of local authorities that offer a deposit scheme to support young people in moving into the private rental sector; and what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of such schemes.

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 places duties on local housing authorities to take reasonable steps to try to prevent and relieve a person’s homelessness. Local authorities must now work with people who are homeless or at risk of losing their homes to develop personalised housing plans, tailored to focus on the needs and circumstances of the household. The support offered may involve financial support.

We are providing a £310 million Homelessness Prevention Grant to local authorities in 2021/22 to help them plan and respond to their local homelessness pressures. Amongst other things, local authorities may use this to support people into the private rented sector, for example through guarantor schemes or by providing deposits. Local authorities may use homelessness funding flexibility in line with local need.

In addition, this year there is £140 million available in Discretionary Housing Payments which can be used for those who may need additional support with housing costs.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate his Department has made of the number of local authorities that will act as a guarantor for young people who have experienced homelessness; and what recent assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of such schemes.

The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 places duties on local housing authorities to take reasonable steps to try to prevent and relieve a person’s homelessness. Local authorities must now work with people who are homeless or at risk of losing their homes to develop personalised housing plans, tailored to focus on the needs and circumstances of the household. The support offered may involve financial support.

We are providing a £310 million Homelessness Prevention Grant to local authorities in 2021/22 to help them plan and respond to their local homelessness pressures. Amongst other things, local authorities may use this to support people into the private rented sector, for example through guarantor schemes or by providing deposits. Local authorities may use homelessness funding flexibility in line with local need.

In addition, this year there is £140 million available in Discretionary Housing Payments which can be used for those who may need additional support with housing costs.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent assessment his Department has made of the (a) accessibility of the private rental sector to young people moving on from supported accommodation and (b) barriers faced by young people trying to move on from supported accommodation into the private rental sector; and what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on that matter.

Whilst my Department has not made a formal assessment, we recognise the importance of supporting vulnerable young people, including those staying in supported accommodation, into independent living for example in the private rented sector and we keep this and similar issues under regular review. Ministers in my Department and in the Department for Work and Pensions meet regularly on a range of matters.

We are already undertaking a range of wider action that should also help vulnerable young people with their onward housing needs. We have also taken action to support people, including young people, with renting property in the private rented sector, and we will go further to bring in a better deal for renters.

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, when community centres can re-open as covid-19 restrictions are eased; and whether those facilities are allowed to offer food and beverages.

As part of the Government's 'COVID-19 Response Spring 2021' roadmap, community centres can re-open in the whole of England from 12 April, but restrictions on meeting indoors with people not in your household or support bubble will remain unless the community centre is used for the purposes set out in the exemptions at Paragraph 14(5) of Schedule 1 to the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021.  

Any facility which offers food and drink for consumption, must close any indoor premises or indoor parts of the premises in which food or drink are provided, the food and beverages must be consumed off the premises in a seated area, and the person responsible for the facility must take all reasonable steps to ensure that the customer remains seated outdoors whilst consuming the food or drink on the premises.

7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the stay on eviction proceedings during the covid-19 outbreak.

This Government took urgent and necessary steps in the immediate face of a public health emergency to suspend housing possession action in the county courts between 27 March 2020 until 20 September 2020. This meant that neither cases in the system nor any about to go into it could progress to the stage at which someone could be legally evicted from their home. The latest government statistics for the period between April to June 2020 show that, as a result of the stay on possession proceedings, there were no bailiff repossessions recorded during this time.

The suspension of possession proceedings ended on 20 September 2020 and landlords are now able to progress their possession claims through the courts. We have published guidance on the possession action process which includes new rules to protect tenants and new processes and procedures which landlords need to follow.

To further protect renters over winter, we have legislated to increase notice periods to 6 months in all but the most serious circumstances and asked bailiffs not to carry out evictions over Christmas or in areas that are subject to a local lockdown where that includes a restriction on gatherings in homes


These measures build on the Government’s major economic package of support including assistance for businesses to pay wages; boosting the welfare safety-net by more than £9 billion; increasing Local Housing Allowance rates to the 30th percentile; and providing £180 million funding for Discretionary Housing Payments, for local authorities to distribute to support renters needing additional help.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will make it his policy to support London fringe local authorities by introducing a cap to incentive payments to landlords in those authority areas in line with the pan-London Local Authority Agreement as agreed by the London Boroughs.

The Government is committed to reducing homelessness and rough sleeping.

The London Collaboration Project initiated the creation of a local authority owned, not for profit, company named Capital Letters that will both procure and manage properties in the private rented sector across London.

It was set up with the support of £37.8 million of Government funding. It aims to become the main source of private rented sector accommodation to prevent and relieve homelessness in London.

It aims to increase efficiency, reduce competition between boroughs, increase market reach and market power, and allow many more homeless households to be accommodated in, or close to, their home borough.

Capital Letters will improve the supply of homes, reduce the costs to local authorities, and achieve better outcomes for homeless families. It will do this through centralised procurement and be assisted by £37.8 million Government funding to procure around 21,000 additional tenancies.

As part of the Rough Sleeping Strategy 2018, we announced an additional £20 million to fund existing or new local authority schemes that support both families and individuals in accessing or sustaining PRS tenancies.

The schemes range from an innovative transitional insurance policy to providing incentives to landlords to offer longer term tenancies.

6th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the level of compliance of local authorities with the (a) affordability and (b) suitability criteria under the Homeless Reduction Act 2017 when placing homeless households out-of-borough.

As the legislation and guidance sets out, the Government is clear that local authorities should, as far as possible, avoid placing households out of their borough. However, in some areas where there is a limited supply of suitable accommodation, we are aware that, on occasion, it is necessary to place households in temporary accommodation outside of the local area. This should be as a last resort.

If a local authority places a household into accommodation in another local area, they are required by law to notify the receiving local authority of any placement, to ensure there is no disruption to schooling, employment and other vital services.

In order to support local authorities,?the Government has put in place bespoke support in the form of the Homelessness Advice and Support Team, a group of specialist advisors drawn from authorities and charities with expertise in the homelessness sector. The team has contact with all 326 local authorities to provide?challenge, advice, and support on?issues such as?out of?borough?placements.

3rd Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the (a) effectiveness and (b) efficiency of affordable housing schemes in Wycombe; and if he will make a statement.

The Government is committed to increasing the supply of social housing and has made £9 billion available through the Affordable Homes Programme to March 2022 to deliver approximately 250,000 new affordable homes in a wide range of tenures, including Social Rent.

Wycombe has a total housing stock of over 73,000 homes (2018) and almost 10,000 of these are affordable homes. Over 100 new affordable homes were built in the area in 2018-19


To enable councils and housing associations to build more we have increased the size of the Affordable Homes Programme, re-introduced social rent, removed the HRA borrowing cap for local authorities, and have set out a long-term rent deal for councils and housing associations in England from 2020.

Breakdowns of delivery by borough are available in live table 1011 can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-affordable-housing-supply.

20th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to establish a working definition of Islamophobia; and if he will make a statement.

The Government agrees that there needs to be a formal definition of Islamophobia to give the issue a stronger focus. We have committed to appointing independent advisers to provide expert advice on a definition. The first of these advisers, Imam Qari Asim MBE, was appointed in July 2019. We are taking steps to appoint individuals with the right combination of skills and experience to drive the work. We endeavour to move at pace on these appointments; good progress is balanced by the necessity for careful consideration of due process.

28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many illegal evictions took place in England and Wales between the implementation of the stay on possession proceedings on 25 March 2020 until the end of that stay on 21 September 2020, and how that figure compares to the same period in 2019.

With the exception of evictions for trespass under rule 55.6 of the Civil Procedure Rules, which were exempt from the stay on possession proceedings, HM Courts & Tribunals Service county court bailiffs undertook no evictions during the period of the stay from the 25 March 2020 to 21 September 2020.

The notice of eviction (N54) advises tenants to seek help and advice about the eviction, or about re-housing from an advice agency, solicitor or their local authority housing department. In addition, as part of initiatives to assist tenants facing eviction, the notice must now also include a list of local debt advice agencies who tenants can contact for further advice. These steps have been put in place to support the existing legal, debt and housing advice already available in many courts to tenants when attending possession hearings.

Subject to statutory means and merits, legal aid is available for cases concerning evictions. The Legal Aid Agency has recently launched a tender to secure additional housing legal aid providers.

We are working with the judiciary on measures to support all parties now possession hearings have resumed, and as part of this we are exploring the option of mediation.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to ensure that tenants facing eviction or who have been illegally evicted have access to legal advice and representation.

With the exception of evictions for trespass under rule 55.6 of the Civil Procedure Rules, which were exempt from the stay on possession proceedings, HM Courts & Tribunals Service county court bailiffs undertook no evictions during the period of the stay from the 25 March 2020 to 21 September 2020.

The notice of eviction (N54) advises tenants to seek help and advice about the eviction, or about re-housing from an advice agency, solicitor or their local authority housing department. In addition, as part of initiatives to assist tenants facing eviction, the notice must now also include a list of local debt advice agencies who tenants can contact for further advice. These steps have been put in place to support the existing legal, debt and housing advice already available in many courts to tenants when attending possession hearings.

Subject to statutory means and merits, legal aid is available for cases concerning evictions. The Legal Aid Agency has recently launched a tender to secure additional housing legal aid providers.

We are working with the judiciary on measures to support all parties now possession hearings have resumed, and as part of this we are exploring the option of mediation.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will implement the recommendations of the final report of the Lammy Review - An independent review into the treatment of, and outcomes for, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in the Criminal Justice System; and if he will make a statement.

We are committed to publishing routinely progress on the implementation of the Lammy Review and, as of 16 June 2020, the status of the recommendation are as follows:

Out of the 35 recommendations;

i. 16 have been completed (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 22, 23, 33, 35)

ii. 17 recommendations are still in progress, of which:

  1. 1 recommendation is in the initial stages (34),
  2. 11 recommendations aim to be completed within 6 – 12 months (15, 17, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30)
  3. 5 recommendations will take longer than 12 months to be completed (1, 9, 10, 31, 32)

iii. In the Government’s response to the Review in December 2017, it was stated that two recommendations specific to a target for judicial appointments and appraisal (14, 16) would not be taken forward.

The Government is committed to advancing each recommendation of the Review in some way and where a recommendation could not be implemented in full or exactly as set out, alternative approaches have been sought to achieve the same aim. The Government’s response also identified actions going beyond the Review’s recommendations. Progress on recommendations and additional actions, and decisions on other areas of disparity where the principle of “explain or change” needs to apply, are overseen by a CJS Race and Ethnicity Board. The Board was created in response to the Review.

The Government provided a detailed public update on progress against each of the 35 recommendations of the Lammy Review, and the other related activities, in February 2019 in the “Tackling racial disparity in the Criminal Justice System” update: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tackling-racial-disparity-in-the-criminal-justice-system-2020.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether she has made an assessment of the threat to the public from individuals convicted of terrorism offences and subsequently released in Wycombe; and if she will make a statement.

All terrorist offenders released on probation are closely managed by the National Probation Service and HMPPS.

Months before a terrorist offender is released, preparations for their management begin through the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) process. This is led by HMPPS and Police, with input from other partners as required. This process ensures that a set of robust and appropriate licence conditions are drawn up for each offender. These restrictive licence conditions can include: living in approved premises; restrictions on movement and stringent curfews. Failure to adhere to conditions results in enforcement action, and could result in recall to prison.

For those subject to a Parole Hearing we will make sure all necessary evidence is made available to the Board and we will make representations in any case where we feel the decision is lacking.

Since the attack in Streatham, we have begun a further set of urgent assurance checks of all terrorists on licence to ensure their risk management arrangements remain appropriate following the incident. These reviews are to be led jointly with CT police colleagues.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jan 2020
If he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of the Welsh Government's administration of the NHS in Wales; and if he will make a statement.

I am grateful for this opportunity to emphasise our commitment to the NHS. In Wales it is the responsibility of the Welsh Government to use their funding effectively. We are committed to working with the Welsh Government to ensure that a high standard of healthcare and access to services is available.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales