Theresa Villiers Portrait

Theresa Villiers

Conservative - Chipping Barnet

Petitions Committee
2nd Mar 2020 - 1st Mar 2021
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
24th Jul 2019 - 13th Feb 2020
National Security Strategy (Joint Committee)
30th Oct 2017 - 6th Nov 2019
National Security Strategy (Joint Committee)
28th Nov 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
6th Sep 2012 - 14th Jul 2016
Minister of State (Department for Transport) (Rail and Aviation)
14th May 2010 - 6th Sep 2012
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
3rd Jul 2007 - 6th May 2010
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
10th May 2005 - 3rd Jul 2007
Environmental Audit Committee
12th Jul 2005 - 16th Jan 2006


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Wednesday 28th April 2021
National Security and Investment Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 357 Conservative Aye votes vs 1 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 358 Noes - 269
Speeches
Wednesday 12th May 2021
Better Jobs and a Fair Deal at Work

Two goals—economic recovery from covid and levelling up opportunity in every part of our country—are at the heart of this …

Written Answers
Thursday 29th April 2021
Housing: Insulation
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Government's press release of …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 3rd February 2021
Air Quality Bill 2019-21
A Bill to make provision for improving air quality.
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 20th July 2020
1. Employment and earnings
Payments from Associated Newspapers Ltd (ANMFS Ltd), Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT:
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 30th January 2018
Kew Gardens (Leases) (No. 2) Bill 2017-19
A Bill to Provide that the Secretary of State’s powers in relation to the management of the Royal Botanic Gardens, …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Theresa Villiers has voted in 253 divisions, and 3 times against the majority of their Party.

12 Oct 2020 - Agriculture Bill - View Vote Context
Theresa Villiers voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 14 Conservative No votes vs 327 Conservative Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 332 Noes - 279
20 Jul 2020 - Trade Bill - View Vote Context
Theresa Villiers voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 12 Conservative Aye votes vs 323 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 263 Noes - 326
13 May 2020 - Remote Division result: New Clause 2 - View Vote Context
Theresa Villiers voted Aye - against a party majority and against the House
One of 22 Conservative Aye votes vs 326 Conservative No votes
Tally: Ayes - 277 Noes - 328
View All Theresa Villiers 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
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(19 debate interactions)
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
(12 debate interactions)
Christopher Pincher (Conservative)
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
(10 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
View all Theresa Villiers's debates

Chipping Barnet Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Chipping Barnet signature proportion
Petitions with most Chipping Barnet signatures
Petition Debates Contributed

The Government must make a public statement on the #kissanprotests & press freedoms.

India is the worlds largest democracy & democratic engagement and freedom of the press are fundamental rights and a positive step towards creating a India that works for all.

The Government should explore using the new sanctions regime that allows individuals and entities that violate human rights around the world to be targeted, to impose sanctions on members of the Nigerian government and police force involved in any human rights abuses by the Nigerian police.

If nurseries are shut down in view of Covid-19, the Government should set up an emergency fund to ensure their survival and ensure that parents are not charged the full fee by the nurseries to keep children's places.

The prospect of widespread cancellations of concerts, theatre productions and exhibitions due to COVID-19 threatens to cause huge financial hardship for Britain's creative community. We ask Parliament to provide a package of emergency financial and practical support during this unpredictable time.

The cash grants proposed by Government are only for businesses in receipt of the Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Relief, or for particular sectors. Many small businesses fall outside these reliefs desperately need cash grants and support now.

For the UK government to provide economic assistance to businesses and staff employed in the events industry, who are suffering unforeseen financial challenges that could have a profound effect on hundreds of thousands of people employed in the sector.

After owning nurseries for 29 years I have never experienced such damaging times for the sector with rising costs not being met by the funding rates available. Business Rates are a large drain on the sector and can mean the difference between nurseries being able to stay open and having to close.

As we pass the COVID-19 Peak, the Government should: State where the Theatres and Arts fit in the Coronavrius recovery Roadmap, Create a tailor made financial support mechanism for the Arts sector & Clarify how Social Distancing will affect arts spaces like Theatres and Concert Venues.

As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak there are travel bans imposed by many countries, there is a disastrous potential impact on our Aviation Industry. Without the Government’s help there could be an unprecedented crisis, with thousands of jobs under threat.

To extend the business rate relief to all dental practices and medical and aesthetics clinics and any small business that’s in healthcare

Zoos, aquariums, and similar organisations across the country carry out all sorts of conservation work, animal rescue, and public education. At the start of the season most rely on visitors (who now won't come) to cover annual costs, yet those costs do not stop while they are closed. They need help.


Latest EDMs signed by Theresa Villiers

Theresa Villiers has not signed any Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Theresa Villiers, 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.


Theresa Villiers has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Theresa Villiers has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

12 Bills introduced by Theresa Villiers


To make provision for the incorporation of the Direct Payments Regulation into domestic law; for enabling an increase in the total maximum amount of direct payments under that Regulation; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 30th January 2020 and was enacted into law.


A Bill to prevent the Holocaust (Return of Cultural Objects) Act 2009 from expiring on 11 November 2019.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 4th July 2019 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 10th February 2016

A Bill to make provision about the Independent Reporting Commission, extend the period for the appointment of Northern Ireland Ministers, modify the pledge made by Northern Ireland Ministers on taking office, provide for persons becoming Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly to give an undertaking, and make provision about the draft budget of the Northern Ireland Executive, in pursuance of the agreement made on 17 November 2015 called A Fresh Start: The Stormont Agreement and Implementation Plan.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Wednesday 4th May 2016 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 19th November 2015

To make provision in connection with social security and child support maintenance in Northern Ireland; to make provision in connection with arrangements under section 1 of the Employment and Training Act (Northern Ireland) 1950; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Wednesday 25th November 2015 and was enacted into law.


To make provision about donations, loans and related transactions for political purposes in connection with Northern Ireland; to amend the Northern Ireland Assembly Disqualification Act 1975 and the Northern Ireland Act 1998; to make provision about the registration of electors and the administration of elections in Northern Ireland; and to make miscellaneous amendments in the law relating to Northern Ireland.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Thursday 13th March 2014 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 30th January 2012

To make provision about the regulation of operators of dominant airports; to confer functions on the Civil Aviation Authority under competition legislation in relation to services provided at airports; to make provision about aviation security; to make provision about the regulation of provision of flight accommodation; to make further provision about the Civil Aviation Authority’s membership, administration and functions in relation to enforcement, regulatory burdens and the provision of information relating to aviation; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Wednesday 19th December 2012 and was enacted into law.

Introduced: 30th January 2012

To make provision about the regulation of operators of dominant airports; to confer functions on the Civil Aviation Authority under competition legislation in relation to services provided at airports; to make provision about aviation security; to make provision about the regulation of provision of flight accommodation; to make further provision about the Civil Aviation Authority’s membership, administration and functions in relation to enforcement, regulatory burdens and the provision of information relating to aviation; and for connected purposes.

This Bill received Royal Assent on Wednesday 19th December 2012 and was enacted into law.


A has been called and Parliament is no longer sitting. The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before . This means the Bill will make no further progress. To make provision about targets, plans and policies for improving the natural environment; to make provision for the Office for Environmental Protection; to make provision about waste and resource efficiency; to make provision about air quality; to make provision for the recall of products that fail to meet environmental standards; to make provision about water; to make provision about nature and biodiversity; to make provision for conservation covenants; to make provision about the regulation of chemicals; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - Ways And Means Resolution: House Of Commons
Monday 28th October 2019
(Read Debate)

A Bill to make provision for improving air quality.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 3rd February 2021
(Read Debate)

A has been called and Parliament is no longer sitting. The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before . This means the Bill will make no further progress. To make provision about the mode of trial and maximum penalty for certain offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 15th October 2019

To prohibit the export of live farmed animals for slaughter or fattening; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 25th October 2017
(Read Debate)

The Bill was read and discharged. Bill withdrawn on Wednesday 24 October 2018.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 10th October 2018

297 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Explanation of written questions
3 Other Department Questions
4th Mar 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, if the Commission will publish a plan for lifting covid-19 restrictions on admitting visitors to Parliament.

Following a full discussion at its meeting on Monday 8th March, the House of Commons Commission published on its website a roadmap on the plans for easing restrictions: The roadmap is available at the link below:

https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/348/house-of-commons-commission/news/150524/commons-roadmap-out-of-lockdown/

At this present time the priority of the Commission continues to be the safety of all Members and staff and the continuation of Parliamentary business. Any decisions relating to non-passholder access is a matter for the Commissions of both Houses and will be reviewed at a later point based on the current public health advice at that time.

4th Mar 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, if the Commission will publish a plan for lifting covid-19 restrictions on working practices in the House.

Following a full discussion at its meeting on Monday 8th March, the House of Commons Commission published on its website a roadmap on the plans for easing restrictions. The roadmap is available at the link below:

https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/348/house-of-commons-commission/news/150524/commons-roadmap-out-of-lockdown/

4th Mar 2021
To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the House of Commons Commission, if the Commission will set a date to permit the return of hon. Members' staff to the House as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

In line with Government advice and regulations, it is expected that the majority of people should continue working from home.

Following a full discussion at its meeting on Monday 8th March, the House of Commons Commission published on its website a roadmap on the plans for easing restrictions: The roadmap is available at the link below:

https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/348/house-of-commons-commission/news/150524/commons-roadmap-out-of-lockdown/

It was agreed by the Commission that, where a Member is satisfied that a relevant exemption exists in addition to a wellbeing need, a limited number of Members’ staff may return from 9th March. This position will be reviewed at a later point based on the current public health advice at that time.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will set a date when marriages can resume as the covid-19 restrictions are eased.

The Government understands the huge significance of weddings. We recognise that because weddings have not been able to take place in recent months this has caused difficulty and distress for many people. As set out in the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy, published in May, the Government has been examining how to enable people to gather in slightly larger groups better to facilitate small weddings. We have worked closely with faith leaders and local government on how best to achieve this. The Prime Minister announced on 23 June that wedding and civil partnership ceremonies will be able to take place in England from 4 July. People should avoid having a large ceremony, and should invite no more than thirty family and friends. Venues should ensure they are COVID-19 secure.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to introduce voter ID as a requirement in elections.

The Government is committed to introducing Voter ID to strengthen the integrity of our electoral system and give the public confidence that our elections are secure and fit for the 21st century.

We will bring forward legislation when Parliamentary time allows.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to support fashion businesses that are having difficulties complying with new customs requirements for export to the EU.

We are working closely with the fashion and textiles sector to ensure businesses get the support they need around specific aspects of our new trading relationship with the EU.

We are operating export helplines, running webinars with policy experts and offering businesses support via our network of 300 international trade advisers. In addition, we invested millions to expand the customs intermediaries sector.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether consumers will be able to enforce consumer rights against EU-based companies after the end of the transition period.

When EU-based traders trade in or target their activities at the UK, UK standards will apply. Otherwise, the protection consumers have within the EU after the end of the transition period will depend on the consumer’s contract and the laws of the relevant Member State.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what value for money assessment he has carried out on the Government's investment in the One Web satellite system.

The Government carried out a detailed examination of the business which demonstrated a rational commercial case for investment. As my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State set out, even with substantial cuts to OneWeb's base case financial projections, the investment would have a positive return.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how much funding the Government plans to invest in the OneWeb satellite system.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State confirmed that the Government will invest $500 million and take a significant equity share in OneWeb. This investment is made alongside Bharti Global Ltd. Bharti will provide the company commercial and operational leadership and bring OneWeb a revenue base to contribute towards its future success.

Amanda Solloway
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses.

The Government announced the introduction of the Small and Micro Business Assessment (SaMBA) in June 2013. It requires that Impact Assessments provide clear evidence of the potential impact of regulations on small and micro businesses.

The default assumption under SaMBA is that there will be a legislative exemption for small and micro businesses where a large part of the intended benefits of the measure can be achieved without including them. As a result of this policy, small firms can have confidence that future regulation will be more manageable for them and that they will not face disproportionate regulatory burdens.

The Department is currently reviewing the way we account for regulatory impacts on business and considering options for future policies, and more detail will be announced in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of easing covid-19 lockdown restrictions to allow pubs to return to pre-lockdown levels of capacity.

Opening up more of Britain in a COVID-Secure way is only possible if everyone continues to stay alert to the risks of Coronavirus by keeping 2m apart where possible (or 1m with precautions if not), washing their hands regularly, following the rules when they are visiting businesses and, crucially, getting a test immediately if they develop symptoms and self-isolating if they are instructed to by NHS Test and Trace.

Government has set out COVID-Secure guidance to help businesses – like pubs – take the measures that will protect themselves and their customers.

We are taking a phased approach to further reopening of sectors in the economy, in line with prevailing public health conditions. Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, and every step is weighed against the evidence.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will include the Campaign for Pubs in his Department's discussions with the hospitality sector.

The Government has had regular engagement with a wide range of stakeholders from across the hospitality industry, including the pub sector. The Department will continue to engage with a variety of representatives from the sector to discuss how to support pubs through this challenging period.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish formal guidance on distribution of (a) magazines, (b) leaflets and (c) other printed material in line with the Public Health England advice that circulation of such material does not increase risk of transmission of covid-19.

The Government will not be publishing additional guidance in relation to this. However, the Government is reviewing existing guidance in light of the updated information from Public Health England.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if his Department will undertake an investigation into compliance with statutory rules on (a) notice and (b) consultation of the redundancies at Debenhams.

Employers proposing to make 20 or more employees redundant from one establishment are required to consult employees or their representatives:

- at least 45 days before the first dismissal takes effect where 100 or more redundancies are proposed.

- at least 30 days before the first dismissal takes effect where 20 or more redundancies are proposed.

The consultation must include consultation on ways to avoid redundancies, reducing the numbers of redundancies, or mitigating their impact. Where an employer has failed to adequately consult with their employees about impending redundancies, those employees may apply to an Employment Tribunal for a Protective Award.

Within the same timescales, the employer must notify my Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of the proposed collective redundancies. Failure to notify is an offence.

If special circumstances exist making it unreasonable for the employer to comply with the consultation or notification obligations, the employer must take such steps as are reasonably practicable to comply.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether pubs and restaurants could be permitted to reduce social distancing measures by introducing temperature checks for customers.

The Pubs and Restaurants taskforce is considering a range of measures to support the reopening of this sector as soon as it is safe to do so.

The taskforce consulted with a cross-section of the sector to develop guidance, with representation from trade bodies to small and medium sized operators, unions, as well as the supply chain. We consulted these stakeholders due to their expertise and real-life knowledge and experience of the challenges faced by the industry during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The guidance will be published in due course.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will bring forward legislation to remove the legal obligation of pubs to pay rent to their landlords for a period of three months due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the significant impact on pubs caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and has announced measures, included in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill, to prevent landlords from using aggressive debt recovery tactics.

These measures include a temporary ban on statutory demands and winding up orders where a company cannot pay its bills due to coronavirus, to ensure they do not fall into deeper financial strain. Government is also laying secondary legislation to provide tenants with more breathing space to pay rent by temporarily preventing landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery.

However, while landlords are urged to give their tenants the breathing space needed, the Government calls on tenants to pay rent where they can afford it, or what they can, in recognition of the strains felt by commercial landlords too.

A working group has been established by the government with the commercial rental sector to develop a code which encourages fair and transparent discussions between landlords and tenants over rental payments during the coronavirus pandemic and guidance on rent arrear payments.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Prime Minister's covid-19 announcement on 10 May 2020, on what date the Government plans to permit the re-opening of (a) hairdressing and (b) beauty salons.

On 11th May we published our COVID-19 recovery strategy, which sets out a roadmap to a phased recovery. Over the coming months, the Government will introduce a range of adjustments to current social distancing controls, timing these carefully according to both the current spread of the virus and the Government’s ability to ensure safety. Each step may involve adding new adjustments to the existing restrictions or taking some adjustments further.

The ambition at step three of the roadmap is to?open at least some of the remaining businesses and premises that have been required to close, including personal care?(such as hairdressers and beauty salons), and we will work with the sector to develop safe ways for them to open at the earliest point at which it is safe to do so. The Government’s current planning assumption is that this step will be no earlier than 4 July.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, with reference to the Prime Minister's covid-19 announcement on 10 May 2020, whether personal trainers are permitted to meet a single client in a park to undertake a personal training session.

The Government has published guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic. If businesses are not required to close at this time, they can use this guidance to consider how they can operate to keep employees and customers safe.

Businesses should carry out a risk assessment to identify sensible measures to control risk in the workplace, wherever that might be. General guidance on how to complete risk assessments is available on the Health and Safety Executive website, and the guidance we published on 11 May sets out the steps employers should consider in relation to the risks of COVID-19. The guidance can be accessed at www.gov.uk/workingsafely.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will suspend state aid rules for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme so that loss-making companies can be considered eligible for that scheme.

Although the UK has left the EU, under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, the EU State Aid rules continue to apply in the UK until the end of the Transition Period.

It is not possible for the UK (or indeed any EU Member State) to unilaterally suspend the EU State aid rules.

However, it should be noted that the European Commission has introduced some flexibilities into the rules to deal with the impacts of the Coronavirus, in the form of a Temporary Framework.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is a State Aid approved scheme under the Temporary Framework. Companies that are in difficulty are eligible for support, in recognition of the impact of Coronavirus, unless they were in difficulty on 31 December 2019, prior to the outbreak.

CBILS does include a provision enabling banks to make the facility available on a de minimis basis to businesses that would not otherwise be eligible, for example because they were in difficulty as at 31 December 2019.

However, the British Business Bank is establishing a new Future Fund to support the UK’s innovative businesses currently affected by Covid-19. This will launch in May and is intended to help businesses that have been unable to access other government business support programmes, such as CBILS, because they are either pre-revenue or pre-profit and typically rely on equity investment. The £500m scheme will deliver an initial commitment of £250m of new government funding which will be match funded by private investment.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will ask the European Commission to exempt the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme from EU state aid rules.

Although the UK has left the EU, under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, the EU State Aid rules continue to apply in the UK until the end of the Transition Period.

Although the European Commission declined to suspend the State aid rules because of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Commission introduced flexibilities into the rules to deal with the impacts of the Coronavirus, in the form of a Temporary Framework. This facilitates aid going to the companies who need it most, quickly and with more efficiently.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme was approved by the Commission (on 25th March) under this Temporary Framework. No exemption from the State Aid rules is required.

Since the launch of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Government has received a lot of helpful feedback on how the scheme has been working. We have been working with the financial services sector to ensure that companies feel the full benefits from this support. The Government will continue to seek to identify new areas for improvement across the scheme as a whole.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what international leaders he plans to meet as part of preparations for the UN Conference of the Parties in Glasgow.

The successful delivery of COP26 will require widespread diplomatic engagement with our international partners at all levels. The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, along with the Prime Minister and Cabinet colleagues, will meet a number of international leaders at key moments throughout the year in order to encourage greater climate ambition and achieve an ambitious, shared outcome at COP26.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether people visiting indoor shooting ranges from separate households may participate at the same time when the relevant covid-19 lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus. On Monday 22 February, my Rt Hon Friend, the Prime Minister announced a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England.

Step 2 of the roadmap will take place no earlier than 12 April, and will allow indoor leisure facilities - including shooting ranges - to reopen for individual use only except in certain circumstances. These include supervised activities for children which can take place in groups of up to 15.

Shooting ranges are permitted to have people attend their site from separate households providing they are adequately distanced, following covid-secure guidelines including ventilation limits and do not mix with other households. The relevant National Governing Body will be able to provide further guidance on how to undertake these activities in a covid secure manner.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, from 12 April 2021 whether indoor shooting ranges are permitted to have people attend their site from separate households providing they are adequately distanced and following covid-secure guidelines.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus. On Monday 22 February, my Rt Hon Friend, the Prime Minister announced a roadmap out of the current lockdown in England.

Step 2 of the roadmap will take place no earlier than 12 April, and will allow indoor leisure facilities - including shooting ranges - to reopen for individual use only except in certain circumstances. These include supervised activities for children which can take place in groups of up to 15.

Shooting ranges are permitted to have people attend their site from separate households providing they are adequately distanced, following covid-secure guidelines including ventilation limits and do not mix with other households. The relevant National Governing Body will be able to provide further guidance on how to undertake these activities in a covid secure manner.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether a negative covid-19 test result will be required for admitting spectators to the pilot projects for re-opening major events which are referred to in the Government's roadmap for lifting covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

As the Prime Minister set out in the roadmap, the Government will run a scientific Events Research Programme over the Spring. The pilots will run from April onwards across a range of settings.

The series of pilots will use enhanced testing approaches and other measures to run events with larger crowd sizes and reduced social distancing to evaluate the outcomes.

Further details regarding the Events Research Programme will be published in due course.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what pilot projects he plans to establish in relation to re-opening major events as set out in the Government's roadmap for lifting covid-19 lockdown rules.

As the Prime Minister set out in the roadmap, the Government will run a scientific Events Research Programme over the Spring. The pilots will run from April onwards across a range of settings.

The series of pilots will use enhanced testing approaches and other measures to run events with larger crowd sizes and reduced social distancing to evaluate the outcomes.

Further details regarding the Events Research Programme will be published in due course.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, when he plans to begin the pilot projects for re-opening large events as set out in the Government's roadmap for lifting covid-19 restrictions.

As the Prime Minister set out in the roadmap, the Government will run a scientific Events Research Programme over the Spring. The pilots will run from April onwards across a range of settings.

The series of pilots will use enhanced testing approaches and other measures to run events with larger crowd sizes and reduced social distancing to evaluate the outcomes.

Further details regarding the Events Research Programme will be published in due course.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Minister for Digital and Culture's response to the hon. Member for Chipping Barnet's Oral Question of 10 December 2020, Official Report, Column 975, what the scope is of the evidence base required by his Department from the festival and events sector to prove that Government support for a covid-19 insurance scheme is needed.

We are aware of the concerns which have been raised about the potential challenge of securing insurance for live events including festivals.

Understandably, the bar for considering Government intervention is set extremely high, especially in light of other support available including the considerable extension to the furlough. Officials have been working closely with the affected sectors over the last few months to understand the challenges and to keep the situation under review.

Evidence of market failure specific to DCMS sectors must be clearly demonstrated and robust for us to explore whether this is the right vehicle for support at this time.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he is taking to support travel management companies affected by the covid-19 pandemic.

We recognise that these are extremely challenging conditions for businesses in the tourism sector, including travel management companies. We continue to closely monitor
the situation.


Travel management companies have been able to access the Government’s comprehensive economic support package, including the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, VAT deferrals, as well as various generous loan schemes. We are continuing to engage across Government and with stakeholders to assess how we can most effectively support the recovery of travel and tourism across the UK.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the revised social distancing guidance permits cricket coaching outdoors with one trainer and one learner.

The government has announced that people can now go outside more than once a day for exercise, alone, with members of their household, or with one person from outside their household, as long as they are following social distancing guidelines.

One to one training outside can take place, provided social distance is maintained and all current hygiene advice is adhered to.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with local authorities in England on potential changes to bandings applied to children with Education, Health and Care Plans.

We do not prescribe in detail how local authorities should allocate their high needs funding, including how top-up funding should be used for children with education, health and care (EHC) plans. However, local authorities and schools have statutory duties under the Children and Families Act 2014 to support children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

Paragraph 94 of the operational guide on high needs funding arrangements (available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/high-needs-funding-arrangements-2021-to-2022) says that: “Many local authorities have systems which indicate the range of top-up funding that might be provided for children and young people with a particular complexity of need (sometimes referred to as ‘banded’ funding systems). These can be helpful in providing clear and transparent funding arrangements for many types of need that may be met in a range of different institutions. Where a local authority makes a large number of placements at an institution or range of institutions, a system for the local authority and institutions to agree levels of top-up funding in advance can be a very efficient way of allocating this funding. However, the final allocation of funding must be sufficient to secure the agreed provision specified in any EHC plan.”

However, the department does not play a part in local authorities’ decisions on whether to follow such banded funding systems or not.

The government is committed to delivering real improvements to the SEND system, which will be taken forward through the SEND review, which has sought views from family representative groups and partners across education, health and care. We share a common ambition to reform the SEND system so that children and young people can have the support they need at the earliest possible point, whilst streamlining the EHC planning process, so that we can both improve these children’s outcomes and make the system more sustainable. We will consult publicly on the review’s proposals, so that everyone with an interest can have their say on the system of the future.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will issue guidance to local councils on maintaining the appropriate bandings for children with Education Health and Care Plans, consistent with each child's level of need.

Local authorities are statutorily responsible for securing the special educational provision specified in a child or young person’s education, health and care (EHC) plan.

The department’s published high needs operational guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/high-needs-funding-arrangements-2021-to-2022.

It states that: “While we expect commissioning local authorities to work constructively with institutions to agree the levels of top-up funding required, local authorities where the student is ordinarily resident bear the ultimate responsibility for decisions on top-up funding, as they are accountable for spending from their high needs budgets… Where a local authority makes a large number of placements at an institution or range of institutions, a system for the local authority and institutions to agree levels of top-up funding in advance can be a very efficient way of allocating this funding. However, the final allocation of funding must be sufficient to secure the agreed provision specified in any EHC plan.”

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what adaptations he plans to make to the Ofsted inspections and standards regime in response to the exceptional circumstances prevailing in schools in England as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

It is intended that Ofsted will step up its inspections over the summer term, with a view to returning to its full programme from September 2021. Inspections will resume in the summer term in a way that is fair and proportionate. Ofsted has published details of its summer inspection programme for schools, which can be accessed at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/ofsted-coronavirus-covid-19-rolling-update, and is piloting some changes to its inspection guidance to take account of the challenges raised by COVID-19. It will publish updated inspection handbooks with full details of these changes later this month.

The Government will not publish any school or college level educational performance data based on tests, assessments or exams results for 2020 or 2021 in performance tables. Further information on the current accountability arrangements can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-school-and-college-performance-measures/coronavirus-covid-19-school-and-college-accountability-2020-to-2021. Announcements on performance data arrangements for future years will be made in due course.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what specific support the Government is providing to independent training providers for regular covid-19 testing of (a) staff and (b) students.

Since January, we have been delivering the same programme of rapid asymptomatic testing for the primary school, secondary school and further education college workforce and for children, young people and students in year 7 and above in all schools, including secondary schools, special schools, alternative provision, and colleges.

Testing is voluntary but staff, pupils and students are strongly encouraged to participate as testing regularly helps to reduce the spread in school and college settings through asymptomatic transmission.

It is important to continue to test pupils and staff to manage the spread of COVID-19 and encourage staff, pupil and students to get into a regular habit of testing themselves twice every week and 3 to 4 days apart. NHS Test and Trace will be supplying sufficient test kits to schools and colleges to enable this to happen.

From 25 March 2021, independent training providers and adult community learning providers have been able to order home test kits for their students and staff. Staff and students attending these providers should conduct testing at home, twice every week and 3 to 4 days apart.

Staff and students are strongly encouraged to participate in twice weekly testing, helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in education settings by identifying those that may be carrying the virus unknowingly. However, testing is voluntary and individuals should be allowed to attend school, college or work even if they decide not to take part in testing.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department will provide to same support to Further Education Colleges on covid-19 testing as is currently provided to secondary schools.

Since January, we have been delivering the same programme of rapid asymptomatic testing for the primary school, secondary school and further education college workforce and for children, young people and students in year 7 and above in all schools, including secondary schools, special schools, alternative provision, and colleges.

Testing is voluntary but staff, pupils and students are strongly encouraged to participate as testing regularly helps to reduce the spread in school and college settings through asymptomatic transmission.

It is important to continue to test pupils and staff to manage the spread of COVID-19 and encourage staff, pupil and students to get into a regular habit of testing themselves twice every week and 3 to 4 days apart. NHS Test and Trace will be supplying sufficient test kits to schools and colleges to enable this to happen.

From 25 March 2021, independent training providers and adult community learning providers have been able to order home test kits for their students and staff. Staff and students attending these providers should conduct testing at home, twice every week and 3 to 4 days apart.

Staff and students are strongly encouraged to participate in twice weekly testing, helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in education settings by identifying those that may be carrying the virus unknowingly. However, testing is voluntary and individuals should be allowed to attend school, college or work even if they decide not to take part in testing.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to enable retired teachers to take part in volunteer programmes to assist children and young people with catch-up learning.

Former teachers returning to the classroom are an important component of the Department’s recruitment strategy, and we continue to prioritise initiatives that capitalise on any potential increased interest in the profession from former teachers. This includes former teachers who wish to provide support with the recovery phase of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Department is using a Return to Teaching Adviser Service to support these efforts. This service provides one-to-one support to former teachers interested in returning to teach mathematics, physics and modern foreign languages. Through the Return to Teaching Adviser Service, the Department has also encouraged former teachers to support wider pupil catch up efforts, such as the National Tutoring Programme.

In addition, throughout the recovery phase of the COVID-19 outbreak, volunteers may be used to support the work of the school as would usually be the case, in appropriate roles and subject to proper support, assessment and checks, as set out in the Department’s guidance ‘Keeping children safe in education’, which is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/keeping-children-safe-in-education--2.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to make additional support available for mental health provision for school pupils in response to anxiety caused by covid-19-related disruption.

I refer my right hon. Friend, the Member for Chipping Barnet, to the answer I gave on 25 February 2021 to Question 156401.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional funding he plans to make available to support schools as they reopen to students.

Schools have continued to receive their core funding throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, regardless of any periods of reduced attendance, with this year marking the first year of a three-year increase to core funding - the biggest in a decade. This will ensure they can continue to pay their staff and meet other regular financial commitments.

In February 2021, the Department appointed Sir Kevan Collins as Education Recovery Commissioner to advise on the approach to education recovery and the development of a long-term plan to help pupils make up their lost education over the course of this Parliament. As an immediate step, we have made available a further £700 million to support education recovery measures. This builds on the £1 billion from last year and brings the total available to £1.7 billion. Funding will support pupils in nurseries, schools and colleges and provides an additional ‘Recovery Premium’ to schools, expansion of tutoring in schools and colleges, summer schools in 2021 and early language support.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether his Department is taking steps to help schools improve ventilation to reduce the risk of covid-19 transmission.

At each stage of the Department's response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we have listened to the latest medical and scientific advice. The Department has worked closely with other Government departments, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector, to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, and to continue to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the impact and effectiveness of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

It is important to ensure that schools are well ventilated and that a comfortable teaching environment is maintained.

Current evidence recommends that the way to control COVID-19 is the same, even with the current new variants. The PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ which have been in use throughout the COVID-19 outbreak set out in our published guidance, which includes ventilation, continue to be the right measures to take. These measures create an inherently safer environment for children, young people, and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. PHE keeps all these controls under review, based on the latest evidence. Schools therefore need to continue to implement these controls to the fullest extent. The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak.

Our guidance signposts to further advice from the Health and Safety Executive on air conditioning and ventilation during the COVID-19 outbreak. The guidance can be found here:

https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/equipment-and-machinery/air-conditioning-and-ventilation.htm.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to set out his plans for measures to assess students seeking BTEC qualifications.

Written exams scheduled in February and March should not go ahead unless they are taken to demonstrate occupational competency. Alternative arrangements will be needed to award qualifications that are taken instead of, or alongside, GCSEs and AS/A levels, including many BTECs used for progression to further or higher education, where the primary method of assessment is written exam(s). Our joint consultation with Ofqual proposed this is also the case for April onwards.

We sought views through the consultation on the detail of these alternative arrangements and the qualifications that should be in scope of this approach. The department’s joint consultation with Ofqual closed on 29 January. The department and Ofqual will work together to publish our decisions by the end of February, once the consultation responses have been analysed. Further information on this is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-alternative-arrangements-for-the-award-of-vtqs-and-other-general-qualifications-in-2021.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
5th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what measures he plans to put in place to assess students studying for BTEC exams in 2021.

Written exams scheduled in February and March should not go ahead unless they are taken to demonstrate occupational competency. Alternative arrangements will be needed to award qualifications that are taken instead of, or alongside, GCSEs and AS/A levels, including many BTECs used for progression to further or higher education, where the primary method of assessment is written exam(s). Our joint consultation with Ofqual proposed this is also the case for April onwards.

We sought views through the consultation on the detail of these alternative arrangements and the qualifications that should be in scope of this approach. The department’s joint consultation with Ofqual closed on 29 January. The department and Ofqual will work together to publish our decisions by the end of February, once the consultation responses have been analysed. Further information on this is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/consultation-on-alternative-arrangements-for-the-award-of-vtqs-and-other-general-qualifications-in-2021.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will ensure that all early years' settings in England have access to regular asymptomatic covid-19 testing.

The Department is continuing to work closely with colleagues across government and local authorities to secure the most effective approach to asymptomatic testing for the whole of the early years sector.

We are rolling out our asymptomatic testing programme to primary schools with deliveries of test kits which started from 18 January 2021. This programme will offer all primary school, schools based nursery and maintained nursery school staff home Lateral Flow Device test kits for twice weekly testing. This will help to break the chains of transmission of COVID-19 in nurseries and schools by identifying asymptomatic positive cases. Those who test positive will then self-isolate, helping to reduce transmission of the virus.

Community testing programmes are currently being rolled out across the country. These are led by local authorities and provide asymptomatic testing through testing sites based in the local community. This testing is primarily focused on those who must leave home to work during lockdown.

Early years staff, as critical workers, continue to have priority access to DHSC-led symptomatic PCR testing via the online portal: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will include early years settings in the charitable and private sector in his Department's programme of regular asymptomatic covid-19 testing.

The Department is continuing to work closely with colleagues across government and local authorities to secure the most effective approach to asymptomatic testing for the whole of the early years sector.

We are rolling out our asymptomatic testing programme to primary schools with deliveries of test kits which started from 18 January 2021. This programme will offer all primary school, schools based nursery and maintained nursery school staff home Lateral Flow Device test kits for twice weekly testing. This will help to break the chains of transmission of COVID-19 in nurseries and schools by identifying asymptomatic positive cases. Those who test positive will then self-isolate, helping to reduce transmission of the virus.

Community testing programmes are currently being rolled out across the country. These are led by local authorities and provide asymptomatic testing through testing sites based in the local community. This testing is primarily focused on those who must leave home to work during lockdown.

Early years staff, as critical workers, continue to have priority access to DHSC-led symptomatic PCR testing via the online portal: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will cancel phonics tests in 2021 in England in response to the pressures resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

Getting the fundamentals right at an early age is vital for success at secondary school and in later life. It is important, therefore, to gauge standards at an early but appropriate age, identify those pupils who need extra help, and then ensure they receive it. Once pupils can decode, using consistent synthetic phonics, they are able to focus on their wider reading skills and develop a love of reading.

The phonics screening check is considered essential to support the Department’s wider aim to help address any lost time in education during the COVID-19 outbreak. It is a short, light-touch assessment, to confirm whether individual pupils have learnt phonic decoding to an expected standard.?The aim is simply to identify the pupil’s decoding ability, so that those who need help can be identified and supported by the school.

The Department is enabling a more flexible approach in schools in 2021, accommodating those absent on the scheduled date for the phonics screening check by extending the existing timetable variation window by a further week, until 25 June 2021.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much and what proportion of the catch-up funding for schools announced in the Spending Review 2020 is (a) new and (b) the subject of previous Government announcements.

The Spending Review announcement allows us to carry on delivering on our £1 billion catch up package, including £350 million on the National Tutoring Programme, and extending the success of this ambitious programme for another year. This will ensure that a pupil’s circumstances are not a barrier to getting the support they need to unlock their potential. Our £1 billion catch up package helps schools to address the learning loss their pupils are facing due to the COVID-19 outbreak and also includes a £650 million Catch-up Premium which schools can use based on their pupils’ specific needs.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to extend supplementary funding for maintained nursery schools to cover the 2021-22 financial year.

Maintained nursery schools (MNS) are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services, especially in disadvantaged areas. The government announced on 24 August that up to £23 million of supplementary funding will be provided to local authorities, to enable them to continue protecting the funding of MNS during the summer term in 2021.

This government remains committed to the long-term funding of MNS, and any reform to the way they are funded will be accompanied by appropriate funding protections.

The department has secured a continuation of around £60 million of supplementary funding for MNS in the 2021-22 financial year, as part of this Spending Review. The department continues to consider what is required to ensure a clear, long-term picture of funding for all MNS, including those in Barnet. We will say more about this soon.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to include in his next tranche of supplementary funding maintained nursery schools in boroughs that were not included in his Department's most recent supplementary funding for early years settlement.

Maintained nursery schools (MNS) are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services, especially in disadvantaged areas. The government announced on 24 August that up to £23 million of supplementary funding will be provided to local authorities, to enable them to continue protecting the funding of MNS during the summer term in 2021.

This government remains committed to the long-term funding of MNS, and any reform to the way they are funded will be accompanied by appropriate funding protections.

The department has secured a continuation of around £60 million of supplementary funding for MNS in the 2021-22 financial year, as part of this Spending Review. The department continues to consider what is required to ensure a clear, long-term picture of funding for all MNS, including those in Barnet. We will say more about this soon.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make it his policy to include maintained nursery schools in boroughs which were not included in his Department's supplementary funding for such schools in a long term funding settlement for maintained nursery schools.

Maintained nursery schools (MNS) are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services, especially in disadvantaged areas. The government announced on 24 August that up to £23 million of supplementary funding will be provided to local authorities, to enable them to continue protecting the funding of MNS during the summer term in 2021.

This government remains committed to the long-term funding of MNS, and any reform to the way they are funded will be accompanied by appropriate funding protections.

The department has secured a continuation of around £60 million of supplementary funding for MNS in the 2021-22 financial year, as part of this Spending Review. The department continues to consider what is required to ensure a clear, long-term picture of funding for all MNS, including those in Barnet. We will say more about this soon.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to provide additional financial resources to schools to help cover new costs associated with the covid-19 outbreak.

Getting all children and young people back into school for the new academic year has been a national priority. To support schools with this, they have continued to receive their core funding allocations throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. Following last year’s Spending Round, school budgets are rising by £2.6 billion in the 2020-21 financial year, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20. On average, schools are attracting 4.2% more per pupil in 2020-21, compared to 2019-20. As stated in our guidance, schools should use these existing resources when making arrangements for this term. The full guidance on the reopening of schools is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Schools have also been able to claim additional funding for exceptional costs incurred due to the COVID-19 outbreak between March and July 2020, such as additional cleaning required due to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 cases, and increased premises costs to keep schools open for priority groups during the Easter and summer half-term holidays. The guidance about claiming additional funding for exceptional costs associated with COVID-19 is available through the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools/school-funding-exceptional-costs-associated-with-coronavirus-covid-19-for-the-period-march-to-july-2020.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has to provide schools in England with additional funding to fund supply teachers needed to cover for staff who are self-isolating as a result of advice from NHS Test and Trace.

The Department’s guidance for schools on full opening sets out the options available for schools seeking to manage staffing capacity as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. In addition to using supply teachers and other temporary or peripatetic teachers, schools can also consider using existing staff more flexibly, including support staff and ITT trainees, or volunteers, as would usually be the case. This guidance can be found: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Schools have continued to receive their budgets as usual, which has ensured they have been able to continue to pay for staff and meet their other regular financial commitments. As stated in our guidance, schools should continue to use their existing resources to manage staffing capacity. Where schools do hire agency workers, we recommend they consider using the Department for Education and Crown Commercial Service’s agency supply deal, as this offers a list of preferred suppliers that must be transparent about the rates they charge.

We continue to work with stakeholders and representative bodies to understand the staffing capacity pressures that schools are facing and how we might best support them.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of allowing secondary schools in England to end the autumn 2020 term a week early to help control the spread of covid-19.

It continues to be the Department’s aim that all pupils, in all year groups, remain in school full-time. The Government has taken a national decision to prioritise education during the current period of national restrictions in order to avoid any further reduction in face to face education for children and young people.

Returning to school full time has been vital for children’s education and wellbeing. Time out of school is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development, particularly for disadvantaged children. This impact can affect both current attainment and children’s future ability to learn.

The risk to children of becoming severely ill from COVID-19 is low and there are negative health impacts of being out of school. Senior clinicians, including the Chief Medical Officers of all four nations, still advise that school is the very best place for children to be, and so they should continue to go to school.

The Department published ‘Guidance for full opening: schools to support schools’ to welcome back all pupils from the start of the autumn term and schools have implemented a range of protective measures to minimise risk of transmission. The full guidance can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

It is important that children are in school, for their education and wellbeing, and to help working parents and guardians. The Department does not currently have plans to ask schools to change their Christmas holidays or close early this term.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what advice his Department is providing to schools on parents who wish to keep their children at home in self-isolation because a member of the household has a serious health condition.

Being in nursery, school and college is vital for children and young people’s education and for their wellbeing. Time out of nursery, school and college is detrimental for children’s cognitive and academic development.

Children and young people who live with someone who is confirmed clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should still attend education or childcare even during this period of national restrictions.

Nurseries, schools and colleges have implemented a range of protective measures recommended by the Public Health England endorsed guidance published by the Department which, when followed, creates an inherently safer environment for pupils, staff and their families.

The guidance can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#res.

If parents or carers are anxious about their child attending education, we recommend that they discuss this with their school leadership to understand their concerns and provide reassurance regarding the protective measures that have been put in place to reduce the risk of transmission in the setting.

Where children are not able to attend school as they are following clinical or public health advice related to COVID-19, we expect schools to be able to immediately offer them access to remote education. That absence will not be penalised.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether parents who are shielding as a result of serious health problems are permitted to keep their children out of school.

Being in nursery, school and college is vital for the education of children and young people, and for their wellbeing. Time out of nursery, school and college is detrimental to the cognitive and academic development of children.

Children and young people who live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, but who are not clinically extremely vulnerable themselves, should still attend education or childcare during this period of national restrictions.

Education settings have implemented a range of protective measures recommended by the Public Health England endorsed guidance published by the Department for Education, which, when followed, create an inherently safer environment for pupils, staff and families. The guidance can be found through the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#res.

If parents or carers are anxious about their child attending education, the Department recommends that they discuss this with their school leadership, who will understand their concerns and provide reassurance regarding the protective measures that have been put in place to reduce the risk of transmission in educational settings.

Where children are not able to attend school as they are following clinical or public health advice related to COVID-19, we expect schools to be able to immediately offer them access to remote education. Such absences will not be penalised.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether children who have been required to self-isolate at home are allowed to return to school as soon as they have received a negative covid-19 test result.

On 2 July, the Department published guidance to help schools prepare for all pupils, in all year groups, to return to school full-time from the beginning of the autumn term. This includes guidance for how schools should manage cases of COVID-19 amongst the school community. The guidance can be viewed at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

Anyone with any of the three main COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate and access a test as soon as possible. Where a pupil or member of staff receives a test which delivers a negative result, and they feel well and no longer have symptoms similar to COVID-19, they can stop self-isolating. Other members of their household can also stop self-isolating.

If a pupil or member of staff is self-isolating because they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, including if they are part of a class or group that has been asked to self-isolate, and they develop symptoms themselves within their 14-day isolation period, they should follow guidance for households with possible or confirmed COVID-19 infection and get a test. Where the test delivers a negative result, the individual must remain in isolation for the remainder of the 14-day isolation period as they could still develop COVID-19 within the remaining days.

The guidance for households with possible or confirmed COVID-19 can be viewed at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
7th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has for the re-opening of before and after school club provision for children of working parents as covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

We recognise that breakfast and after-school provision are important sources of additional childcare for working parents and carers. It is for this reason that, as of 4 July, all providers offering before or after-school care and other out-of-school activities to children have been able to open with protective measures in place.

As outlined in guidance for the full opening of schools, we are encouraging schools to resume offering breakfast and after-school provision, where possible, from the start of the autumn term. Schools should also work closely with any external wraparound providers which their pupils may use, to ensure as far as possible, children can be kept in a group with other children from the same bubble they are in during the school day. The full opening of schools guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

We have published further updated guidance for providers who run before and after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school settings for children on the protective measures that should be put in place from the start of the autumn term. This is to ensure they are operating as safely as possible when all children return to school. The guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether free schools meals are being offered to all pupils in the first three years of primary school in England.

We allocate £600 million per year to ensure that 1.4 million infants enjoy a free, healthy and nutritious meal at lunchtime following the introduction of the universal infant free school meals (UIFSM) policy in 2014. Now that schools are reopen to all children, those in reception, year 1 and year 2 in England’s state-funded schools will receive a free meal. During the period in which schools were largely closed, the government continued to provide support to those eligible for benefits related free school meals (FSM) through the National Voucher Scheme.

Now that schools and their kitchens are open again, we expect them to provide free school meals to all those entitled to benefits related FSM and UIFSM to those children attending school. If a child needs to miss school for COVID-19 related matters, such as self-isolation due to a case of COVID-19, then we have asked schools to provide meals to those entitled to benefits related FSM.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will include Barnet within the scope of his transitional funding for maintained nursery schools.

Maintained nursery schools are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services, especially in disadvantaged areas. The government announced on 24 August that up to £23 million of supplementary funding will be provided to local authorities to enable them to continue protecting the funding of maintained nursery schools during the summer term in 2021. This provides maintained nursery schools with certainty about funding for the 2020-21 academic year. It is a one-term continuation of current maintained nursery school supplementary funding; it is not a new transitional fund.

What happens after the 2020-21 academic year will be determined by the Comprehensive Spending Review in the context of our priorities across early years as a whole. Future arrangements will be for all maintained nursery schools, including those in Barnet.

This government remains committed to the long-term funding of maintained nursery schools, and any reform to the way they are funded will be accompanied by appropriate funding protections.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of postponing autumn A-level exams to the end of November 2020 to give students unable to take their A-levels in summer 2020 additional time to prepare for those exams.

We want students who wish to sit autumn exams to be able to do so at the earliest opportunity following the cancellation of exams in the summer. A level exams will be sat in October so that students receive results before Christmas and can use them to progress to their next step as soon as possible.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will ensure that schools support students who were unable to take A-levels in summer 2020 and wish to take those exams in autumn 2020 by (a) offering completion of those A-level syllabuses, (b) offering revision classes and (c) providing access to (i) libraries, (ii) text books, (iii) online and (iv) other resources.

In most cases, students will have received grades in the summer which will enable them to move onto their next step. Students who were unable to receive grades or are not happy with their grades are able to take exams in the autumn if they choose. If a student wants to sit an exam, we expect the school or college that entered them in the summer to enter them in autumn. Schools are able to provide additional support to students sitting their exams in the autumn if they have capacity to do so. The Department is offering an Exam Support Service to help all schools and colleges run the autumn series. Schools and colleges will be able to book fully funded space for the exams if they need it to avoid disruption to teaching. They will also be able to claim funding for autumn exam fees and invigilation costs if these exceed the savings they have made in the summer.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to extend access to breakfast clubs prior to the start of the school day.

We are committed to supporting schools and children so that they are able to benefit from our breakfast club programme. The department is investing up to £35 million into the National School Breakfast Programme, using funds from Soft Drinks Industry Levy revenues. We have also announced that the programme will be extended by a further year, until March 2021, with up to an additional 650 schools being supported.

Many schools operate their own breakfast and after school clubs, and from the start of the autumn term should be working to resume this provision. As part of our guidance to schools on full opening, we have provided guidance to schools to help them in reopening this valuable support, more information is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools#wraparound-provision-and-extra-curricular-activity.

We have also published updated guidance for providers who run before and after-school clubs, tuition and other out-of-school settings for children on the protective measures that should be put in place from the start of the autumn term, to ensure they are operating as safely as possible when all children return to school. The guidance is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/protective-measures-for-holiday-or-after-school-clubs-and-other-out-of-school-settings-for-children-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak/protective-measures-for-out-of-school-settings-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to announce a new funding settlement for maintained nursery schools.

Maintained nursery schools are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services, especially in disadvantaged areas. The government announced on 24 August that up to £23 million of supplementary funding will be provided to local authorities to enable them to continue protecting the funding of maintained nursery schools during the summer term in 2021. This provides maintained nursery schools with certainty about funding for the 2020-21 academic year.

What happens after the 2020-21 academic year will be determined by the Comprehensive Spending Review in the context of our priorities across early years as a whole. Future arrangements will be for all maintained nursery schools, including those in Barnet.

This government remains committed to the long-term funding of maintained nursery schools, and any reform to the way they are funded will be accompanied by appropriate funding protections.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will ensure that a new funding settlement for maintained nursery schools includes the Borough of Barnet.

Maintained nursery schools are an important part of the early years sector and provide valuable services, especially in disadvantaged areas. The government announced on 24 August that up to £23 million of supplementary funding will be provided to local authorities to enable them to continue protecting the funding of maintained nursery schools during the summer term in 2021. This provides maintained nursery schools with certainty about funding for the 2020-21 academic year.

What happens after the 2020-21 academic year will be determined by the Comprehensive Spending Review in the context of our priorities across early years as a whole. Future arrangements will be for all maintained nursery schools, including those in Barnet.

This government remains committed to the long-term funding of maintained nursery schools, and any reform to the way they are funded will be accompanied by appropriate funding protections.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether UK students enrolled at US universities who cannot continue their studies there as a result of the covid-19 pandemic are eligible to apply for a student loan to finish their studies at a UK university.

Eligibility for student finance is governed by a range of criteria, including residency, type of course, where and how a student is studying, previous study and whether or not the student holds a higher education qualification.

Generally, tuition fee support for full-time courses is available for the length of a student’s course, plus one extra year if needed, minus any years of previous study. Where a student has undertaken a previous full-time higher education course but has not achieved a qualification, previous study rules will generally apply to the calculation of tuition fee loan entitlement, apart from when the previous course was wholly self-funded (i.e. that the student received no public support from within the UK or elsewhere).

However, the regulations make provision for students to receive a year’s additional tuition fee support where Student Finance England is satisfied that the student has been unable to complete a year of study for compelling personal reasons. Maintenance loans and supplementary grants are generally available to eligible students until an honour’s degree has been achieved.

Student Finance England will assess students’ entitlement to funding in line with existing regulations and guidance. Subject to meeting the eligibility criteria, UK students who start studying in the US and later transfer to a UK higher education provider due to the COVID-19 outbreak may be able to access some student support for their new course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will provide guidance to the Student Loans Company on how to handle applications from UK students enrolled in US universities who cannot continue their studies there as a result of the covid-19 pandemic and wish to resume higher education in Britain.

Eligibility for student finance is governed by a range of criteria, including residency, type of course, where and how a student is studying, previous study and whether or not the student holds a higher education qualification.

Generally, tuition fee support for full-time courses is available for the length of a student’s course, plus one extra year if needed, minus any years of previous study. Where a student has undertaken a previous full-time higher education course but has not achieved a qualification, previous study rules will generally apply to the calculation of tuition fee loan entitlement, apart from when the previous course was wholly self-funded (i.e. that the student received no public support from within the UK or elsewhere).

However, the regulations make provision for students to receive a year’s additional tuition fee support where Student Finance England is satisfied that the student has been unable to complete a year of study for compelling personal reasons. Maintenance loans and supplementary grants are generally available to eligible students until an honour’s degree has been achieved.

Student Finance England will assess students’ entitlement to funding in line with existing regulations and guidance. Subject to meeting the eligibility criteria, UK students who start studying in the US and later transfer to a UK higher education provider due to the COVID-19 outbreak may be able to access some student support for their new course.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of treating students from Commonwealth countries the same as students from England for the purposes of university fees.

To be eligible for home fee status in England, a student must have ‘settled’ status or a recognised connection with the UK on the first day of the first academic year of their course. This includes those who are covered by EU law, have long residence in this country or who have been granted international protection by the Home Office.

Students must normally have been resident in the UK and Islands (Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) or, in some cases, the European Economic Area and Switzerland or UK/EU Overseas Territories, for the 3 years prior to that date.

Commonwealth citizens who have the right of abode in the UK are considered ‘settled’ and are eligible for home fee status on that basis.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to publish details of the tutoring scheme to help children catch up on lessons missed as a result of the covid-19 lockdown.

On 19 June we announced a £1 billion COVID-19 “catch-up” package to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time due to the pandemic.

Alongside a £650 million one-off grant to support pupils that recognises that all young people have lost time in education, a National Tutoring Programme, worth £350 million, will increase access to high-quality tuition for the most disadvantaged young people. This will help to accelerate their academic progress and tackle the attainment gap between them and their peers.

We are working at pace to finalise the arrangements for both parts of the catch-up package and will publish guidance and allocations shortly.

This £1 billion package is on top of the £14.4 billion three-year core funding increase announced last year and the £2.4 billion pupil premium schools continue to receive to support their disadvantaged pupils.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the guidance issued by his Department entitled, Get technology support for children and schools during coronavirus (Covid-19), published on 19 April 2020, what the timeframe is for Queen Elizabeth's Girls School, Barnet, to be invited to apply to that programme in accordance with the undertaking contained in that guidance that schools would be sent information on how to do this.

The Government has committed over £100 million to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children in England to access remote education and online social care services, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers.

We are providing laptops and tablets to vulnerable and disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in Year 10, receiving support from a social worker or are a care leaver. Where care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and children in Year 10 do not have internet connections, we are providing 4G wireless routers for internet access.

On 24 April, local authorities (LAs) and academy trusts were invited to forecast the number of devices they needed to support children and young people that they are responsible for in the eligible categories. LAs are responsible for ordering devices for children with a social worker and care leavers, as well as disadvantaged Year 10 pupils in LA-maintained schools. Academy trusts are only responsible for disadvantaged Year 10 pupils in their schools.

After LAs and academy trusts completed their forecast, the Department for Education confirmed the number of devices and routers that they would receive. LAs and academy trusts were offered the option to request additional devices for eligible children where needed.

The Department invited LAs and academy trusts to order devices throughout May and June. All LAs and academy trusts can now order the devices they have forecast.

As of 30 June, over 200,000 laptops and tablets and over 47,000 4G wireless routers had been delivered or dispatched to local authorities and academy trusts. This information can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data.

This includes 20 devices for Queen Elizabeth’s Girls School, Barnet.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will take steps to ensure that the partial re-opening of schools in England from 1 June 2020 does not lead to a reduction of school hours offered to the children of key workers.

The Department has provided guidance explaining that the children of any parent who works in a critical sector or are critical to the COVID-19 response will be prioritised for education provision regardless of the year group they are in:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

It makes clear that, now that we have made progress in reducing the transmission of COVID-19, we are encouraging all eligible children to attend school (where there are no shielding concerns for the child or their household), even if parents are able to keep their children at home.

The Department has also published guidance for schools to prepare for wider opening of schools:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/preparing-for-the-wider-opening-of-schools-from-1-june

The planning guide for primary schools explains that if schools cannot reach an arrangement that enables all eligible children to attend consistently, schools should focus first on continuing to provide places for priority groups of all year groups (children of critical workers and vulnerable children).

The advice to secondary schools on preparing for wider opening from the 15 June states that children of critical workers and vulnerable children in all year groups should be encouraged to attend school full-time.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether private schools with pupil numbers of less than 30 are permitted to re-open to all year groups so long as social distancing rules are complied with.

We want to get all children back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows. As set out in the guidance, we have asked primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, Reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups. We are also asking secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges to offer some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 10 and year 12 students and 16 to 19 learners in the first year of their course who are due to take key exams next year. This request applies to all schools, including in the independent sector, and including small schools and schools with alternative exam arrangements, transition years, curricula and pedagogy.

It is important that only the requested cohorts return at this time. As the guidance states, we are prioritising younger children in the first phases of wider opening, for several reasons. Firstly, because there is moderately high scientific confidence in evidence suggesting younger children are less likely to become unwell if infected with COVID-19; and secondly because evidence shows the particularly detrimental impact which time spent out of education can have upon them. In addition, older children are more likely to have higher numbers of contacts outside of school so pose a greater transmission risk, and they are typically better able to learn at home. It is therefore important that schools adhere to the guidance to ensure that only students that have been prioritised return to school, in the numbers and groupings that have been considered, minimising risks for them and their wider social groups and households.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether independent schools are permitted to re-open for Year 8 pupils which, in the independent schools system, is often the year before which they move on to secondary education.

We want to get all children back into education as soon as the scientific advice allows. As set out in the guidance, we have asked primary schools to welcome back children in nursery, Reception, year 1 and year 6, alongside priority groups. We are also asking secondary schools, sixth form and further education colleges to offer some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 10 and year 12 students and 16 to 19 learners in the first year of their course who are due to take key exams next year. This request applies to all schools, including in the independent sector, and including small schools and schools with alternative exam arrangements, transition years, curricula and pedagogy.

It is important that only the requested cohorts return at this time. As the guidance states, we are prioritising younger children in the first phases of wider opening, for several reasons. Firstly, because there is moderately high scientific confidence in evidence suggesting younger children are less likely to become unwell if infected with COVID-19; and secondly because evidence shows the particularly detrimental impact which time spent out of education can have upon them. In addition, older children are more likely to have higher numbers of contacts outside of school so pose a greater transmission risk, and they are typically better able to learn at home. It is therefore important that schools adhere to the guidance to ensure that only students that have been prioritised return to school, in the numbers and groupings that have been considered, minimising risks for them and their wider social groups and households.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the National Education Union's five tests for Government before schools can reopen.

On 28 May, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister announced that the Government’s five tests had been met. Based on all the evidence, the decision was made to progress with wider opening of schools from 1 June.

The Department has been engaging with the National Education Union throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, including in relation to transmission rates, social distancing, testing, managing infection and protection for the most vulnerable.

Our guidance on protective measures sets out the steps schools should take to reduce the risk of transmission: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the National Education Union on the five tests that it has proposed on determining when schools should re-open.

The Department is currently working closely with the sector to determine the best way for schools to open for more pupils, in line with the five key tests set out by the Government. There continues to be extensive engagement with teaching unions, including the National Education Union, and other school stakeholders, both at a ministerial and official level.

Details of engagement:

  • Weekly meetings with senior policy officials and key stakeholders along with other main teaching unions, governance, social care, school trusts and local government;
  • A weekly meeting with wider stakeholders including support staff, further education and school business organisations;
  • Weekly calls for evidence from key stakeholders on key policy questions to inform decision making on reopening;
  • Weekly meetings between my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and the main teaching unions and stakeholder groups;
  • Ad hoc additional stakeholder meetings to address key issues as and when they arise; and
  • Weekly guidance update notifications are sent to stakeholders and school leaders.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will publish a response to the proposals from Universities UK on achieving stability in the higher education sector following covid-19, published 10 April 2020.

On 4 May, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced a package of measures, drawing on proposals from the universities sector, to ease pressures on universities’ finances, boost support for students, stabilise university admissions this autumn and ensure sustainability in higher education (HE) at a time of unprecedented uncertainty.

To stabilise admissions, temporary student number controls will be put in place for domestic and EU students for the academic year 2020/21.These measures mean that providers will be able to recruit students up to a temporary set level, based on provider forecasts, which allows additional growth of up to 5% in the next academic year, and ensures that the admissions process for students will be fair and orderly.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, will also have the discretion to allocate an additional 10,000 places on top of the controls, of which 5,000 will be allocated to students studying nursing or allied health courses, to ensure growing numbers that will support our vital public services. This measure will only apply to UK/EU domiciled full-time undergraduate students, with certain specified exemptions. These controls will not apply to international (non-EU) students.

The Office for Students (OfS), the regulator in England, will also consult on a new temporary condition of registration. The OfS’s proposed condition would prohibit registered providers from engaging in any form of conduct which, in the opinion of the OfS, could reasonably have a material negative effect on the stability or integrity of the English HE sector.

The government has reprofiled tuition fee payments, expected to be worth £2.6 billion, for providers so that they receive more cash in the first term of academic year 2020/21. The government has also announced that £100 million of public funding will be brought forward to the current academic year to help protect vital university research activities in England. Additionally, the government has confirmed that providers are eligible to apply for the government’s financial support schemes, which are estimated by the OfS to be worth at least £700 million to the sector.

Universities have an integral part to play in our economy, society and culture, which is highlighted now more than ever through their leading role in the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will give priority to pupils (a) with an Education Health and Care Plan, (b) with a disability and (c) who have suffered physical or mental trauma in any forthcoming phased re-opening of schools and lifting of covid-9 restrictions.

As part of the response to COVID-19, educational settings have and will continue to be asked to ensure vulnerable children and young people can attend. ‘Vulnerable children’ include those children and young people who have an education, health and care (EHC) plan. They are typically those with the most complex needs, including due to mental health and disabilities. They also include children and young people who do not have an EHC plan, who are assessed as ‘otherwise vulnerable’ and are, therefore, in need of continuing education provision.

Vulnerable children and young people across all year groups continue to be encouraged and expected to attend educational provision where it is appropriate for them to do so. This should remain a priority for educational providers and local authorities, including as more children and young people begin to return to on-site provision.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether nurseries receiving support with the cost of employee salaries should stop or reduce charges to parents for services not being provided as a result of the closure of childcare and education settings.

We are working hard to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on all parts of our society, including individuals and business. Childcare providers will have individual agreements with parents and therefore we urge all childcare providers to be reasonable and balanced in their dealings with parents, given the great uncertainty they will be facing too.

We acknowledge that in many cases, the insurance that early years providers have will not cover them for income lost during COVID-19-related closures. That is one of the reasons why we announced on 17 March that we will continue to pay funding to local authorities for the early years entitlements for 2, 3 and 4-year-olds and that funding would not be clawed back from local authorities due to closures or children being unable to attend.

We expect local authorities to follow the Department for Education’s position and to continue paying childminders, schools and nurseries for the early years entitlements – even if providers have suspended delivery of those entitlements due to COVID-19. This protects a significant proportion of early years providers’ income. In addition, the government has set out a range of support for businesses and workers to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on them. Many early years providers will qualify for this support.

This support being provided for individuals includes the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which means that for each employee not working but kept on payroll, the government will contribute 80% of their wages up to £2,500, backdated to 1 March 2020. Self-employed people may be eligible for taxable grants under the government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme. Further details of these schemes can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme.

Details of further assistance and benefits available for individuals can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19.

We will be keeping under close review what further support businesses and workers may require.

Guidance on closures of childcare and early years settings is available: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support nursery and childcare providers can receive as a result of the packages of economic support he has announced over the last two weeks.

The government has set out specific measures to support childcare providers during the COVID-19 outbreak:

  • Funding for the government’s early years entitlements will continue during any periods of nursery, preschool or childminder closures or when children cannot attend
  • To support private nurseries at this time, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has also announced that they will be eligible for a business rates holiday for one year from 1 April

Childcare providers will also benefit from the wider measures the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced to support the people and businesses of the UK:

  • A three-point plan announced in the Budget providing £12 billion of support for public services, individuals and businesses whose finances are affected by the outbreak
  • A package to provide additional support for businesses and individuals totalling £350 billion
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help firms continue to keep people in employment. This means that businesses can put workers on temporary leave and the government will pay them cash grants of 80% of their wages up to a cap of £2,500, providing they keep the worker employed
  • A scheme to help the UK’s self-employed who are affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme will enable those eligible to receive a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the last three years. This covers 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment
  • On 28 March, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Alok Sharma, announced that the government will also temporarily suspend the wrongful trading provisions to give company directors greater confidence to use their best endeavours to continue trading during this pandemic emergency, without the threat of personal liability should the company ultimately fall into insolvency

The government is also providing the following additional support:

  • deferral of Self-Assessment income tax payments due in July 2020 and VAT payments due between 20 March 2020 and 30 June 2020
  • grants for businesses that pay little or no business rates
  • increased amounts of Universal Credit
  • the Coronavirus Bussiness Interruption Loan Scheme

The latest guidance from the department for early years and childcare providers can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the Government's Roadmap out of lockdown, whether reaching the end of step one of that roadmap on 29 March 2021 means that voluntary litter-picks can take place where social distancing is observed.

The Government continues to use its influence to support national clear-up days, which help to empower and engage communities in tackling litter and to change attitudes towards littering.

I recently spoke at the launch of Keep Britain Tidy’s 2021 Great British Spring Clean, encouraging as many people and businesses as possible to participate in the Great British Spring Clean, and committed to volunteer during the event. By doing so, we are setting the tone for the summer ahead, by showing that litter is not acceptable, and that people care deeply about protecting their local environment.

We have published specific advice on our gov.uk website which states that voluntary litter picking can be carried out, and that groups must follow government guidance on staying safe outside the home. This can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-disposing-of-waste#litter-picking-during-coronavirus

Volunteers are always advised to use safety equipment, including thick gloves, litter-pickers and heavy-duty bags.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to promote the 2021 Great British Spring Clean campaign.

The Government continues to use its influence to support national clear-up days, which help to empower and engage communities in tackling litter and to change attitudes towards littering.

I recently spoke at the launch of Keep Britain Tidy’s 2021 Great British Spring Clean, encouraging as many people and businesses as possible to participate in the Great British Spring Clean, and committed to volunteer during the event. By doing so, we are setting the tone for the summer ahead, by showing that litter is not acceptable, and that people care deeply about protecting their local environment.

We have published specific advice on our gov.uk website which states that voluntary litter picking can be carried out, and that groups must follow government guidance on staying safe outside the home. This can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-disposing-of-waste#litter-picking-during-coronavirus

Volunteers are always advised to use safety equipment, including thick gloves, litter-pickers and heavy-duty bags.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will use the ANPR camera network to gather evidence for the enforcement of regulations on litter and flytipping.

Enforcement against littering and fly-tipping on the road network is a matter for the local authority.

The Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system is used by the police to check the number plates of passing vehicles against police databases and can identify vehicles which are of interest to the police. Local authorities do not have access to the ANPR camera network.

The ANPR cameras are not suitable for use in gathering evidence of littering or fly-tipping in progress due to the system recording vehicle images and number plates only. In cases of serious waste crime where the police are involved in enforcement, vehicles involved may be considered of interest and would be captured on police databases.

With effect from April 2018, we have introduced new powers enabling councils in England (outside London) to issue civil fixed penalties of between £65 to £150 to the keepers of vehicles from which litter is thrown. Councils in London already had similar powers. This enables them to take enforcement action, even when the precise offender cannot be identified.

Councils can already take action based on camera footage as long as they are satisfied that, on the balance of probabilities, litter was thrown from that vehicle. It is for councils to decide whether they have sufficient evidence to take enforcement action in any given case.

Vehicles of those suspected of committing a waste crime, including fly-tipping, can be searched and seized. Guidance available to local authorities recommends that when investigating a fly-tipping incident information such as the description of any vehicles involved should be gathered. This guidance is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fly-tipping-council-responsibilities.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing auditable tracking for products and packaging to assist with the enforcement of rules on litter and flytipping.

The Litter Strategy sets out how we intend to work with the relevant industries to tackle certain types of problematic litter, such as fast food packaging, and our Resources and Waste Strategy set our strategic approach to prevent, detect and deter waste crime, including fly-tipping.

The Resources and Waste Strategy commits us to introducing mandatory electronic waste tracking, subject to consultation. This will help to ensure that waste is dealt with appropriately and will reduce the incidence of waste crime and fly-tipping.

No formal assessment has been made of the potential merits of introducing auditable tracking for packaging. However, exploratory discussions suggest that the burden on businesses and enforcement bodies, along with data protection issues, would mean the costs could outweigh the benefits of such a policy.

We are exploring other measures to tackle littered packaging. Our recently published consultation on extended producer responsibility for packaging proposes that producers who make or handle consumer-facing packaging should fund the full net-costs associated with the packaging they place on the market once it becomes waste, including litter-related costs. We have also recently launched our consultation on the deposit return scheme, which will incentivise proper disposal of in-scope material by consumers. We will continue to engage with producers as these measures come forward.

In recent years, to support local authorities in their enforcement, Defra has bolstered local authorities’ powers to tackle fly-tipping, such as by introducing the power to issue fixed penalty notices (including to householders who pass their waste to an unlicensed waste carrier) and to stop and seize vehicles of suspected fly-tippers. We have also introduced new powers to allow penalties to be issued to the keeper of a vehicle from which litter is thrown (recognising that it is often difficult to identify the individual who threw the litter), and published guidance on the use of enforcement powers for littering and related offences.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much his Department has spent on communications to discourage litter and flytipping in each of the last five years.

Defra has spent the following amounts externally on communications to discourage litter and fly-tipping. The cost of other activities, such as social media messaging, cannot be separated. Likewise, spend on Defra staff cannot be disaggregated.

Year

Purpose

Amount

2016-2017

Initial scoping and research for “Keep it, Bin it” national anti-litter campaign

£15,868

2017-2018

Development of “Keep it, Bin it” campaign, partnership strategy and stakeholder research, as well as testing and development of a campaign identity

£124,412

2018-2019

“Keep it, Bin it” campaign branding, creative assets and launch

£67,855 – (following years funded by external partners)

2019-2020

Development of Household Waste Duty of Care Toolkit

£6,703

2020-2021

Development and launch of “Respect the Outdoors” campaign, which includes messaging about litter among other issues

£96,650

2020-2021

Contribution to Keep Britain Tidy’s “Love Parks” campaign and use of creative assets

£30,000

The Environment Agency has also contributed funds in 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 to the ‘right waste, right place’ information campaign, managed by the Environmental Services Association, which aims to help small businesses and establishments meet their Duty of Care obligations, and seeks to deter fly-tipping incidents.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to his Department's 2018 publication Our Waste, Our Resources: A strategy for England, when he plans to implement the proposals mandating a consistent approach between local authorities in England on kerbside collection of waste for recycling.

We consulted on recycling consistency reforms in 2019 and following support for these measures, the Environment Bill states that waste collection authorities in England must arrange for the collection of a core set of materials (glass; metal; plastic; paper and card; food waste; and garden waste) from households for recycling.

We will be seeking further views in an upcoming second consultation on recycling consistency, which will be published in spring 2021 and will include detail on transition timelines for local authorities. We want to implement recycling consistency as soon as is practically possible, taking into account factors including lead-in times for local authorities to procure vehicles and other capital goods and any existing contractual arrangements.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many cats entered the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme in each month of 2020.

The number of cats entering Great Britain under the Pet Travel Scheme in each month of 2020 is as follows:

January

2844

February

1608

March

1475

April

284

May

407

June

1253

July

2217

August

2772

September

3708

October

3175

November

2369

December

3147

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the EU has agreed to list the UK as a third country from which it will accept exports of food and other products of animal origin.

The UK has successfully applied for authorisation (known as ‘listing status’) to export animal products and live animals to the EU from 1 January 2021.The legal instruments giving effect to our listing were published in the EU’s Official Journal on 28 December and will apply from 1 January 2021.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of restricting the use of glue traps as a means of pest control to improve animal welfare.

We are aware of the concerns around the use of glue traps and are engaging with key stakeholders about the issue.

This Government remains committed to high standards of animal welfare. We are in the process of developing a range of important animal welfare and animal-related measures to strengthen our position as a world leader in this field. This includes delivering our manifesto commitments to introduce new laws on animal sentience, to ban live exports, restrict the imports of trophies from endangered species and ban keeping primates as pets.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 12 November 2020 to Question 113020 on Plastics: Pollution, what his policy is for tackling plastic which escapes into the open environment and cannot be collected and therefore recycled.

As stated previously in the Answer of 12 November 2020 to Question 113020 on Plastics: Pollution, our priority is to prevent plastic entering the environment at all, including through littering, with a focus on upstream measures to turn off the tap on plastic pollution. The Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy sets out our plans to move away from a take, make, use, throw society to one where materials are kept in circulation for longer. It also commits to eliminating avoidable plastic waste over the lifetime of the 25 Year Environment Plan. Our Litter Strategy sets out our aim to deliver a substantial reduction in litter and littering behaviour within a generation. Littering of any materials, including biodegradable plastics, is a criminal offence, and councils have legal powers to take enforcement action against offenders.

The Government published a call for evidence last year to help consider the development of product standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics as well as to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. The call for evidence closed on 14 October 2019 and we are currently analysing the responses received. We will publish a Government response shortly.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 12 November 2020 to Question 113021 on Seas and Oceans: Plastics, whether it his policy to encourage the use of plastic which biodegrades more quickly than conventional plastics in the event that it is improperly disposed of.

As stated previously in the Answer of 12 November 2020 to Question 113020 on Plastics: Pollution, our priority is to prevent plastic entering the environment at all, including through littering, with a focus on upstream measures to turn off the tap on plastic pollution. The Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy sets out our plans to move away from a take, make, use, throw society to one where materials are kept in circulation for longer. It also commits to eliminating avoidable plastic waste over the lifetime of the 25 Year Environment Plan. Our Litter Strategy sets out our aim to deliver a substantial reduction in litter and littering behaviour within a generation. Littering of any materials, including biodegradable plastics, is a criminal offence, and councils have legal powers to take enforcement action against offenders.

The Government published a call for evidence last year to help consider the development of product standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics as well as to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. The call for evidence closed on 14 October 2019 and we are currently analysing the responses received. We will publish a Government response shortly.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the findings of the Laboratoire d’Océanographie Microbienne of 4 September 2020 that oxo-biodegradable plastics biodegrade in seawater, and do so with higher efficiency than conventional plastics.

It is current practice in science for research to be published in international peer reviewed journals. The peer review process is central to quality assurance and ensures reliable and reproducible research findings enter the public domain and inform debate.

We would be happy to review the data once it has undergone peer review and has been published.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for what reason the Answer of 12 November 2020 to Question 113023 on Symphony Environmental: Plastics, did not refer to industry standards (a) BS 8472 and (b) ASTM D6954 in relation to the degradability, biodegradability, and non-toxicity, of oxo-biodegradable plastic products.

My answer was given in response to my Rt Hon Friend’s question about European Standard EN 13432, PQ UIN 113024.

As stated in the Answer of 12 November 2020 to Question 113023, the Government published a call for evidence in July 2019 to help consider the development of standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics as well as to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. The call for evidence further considered existing standards, which includes BS EN13432, BS 8472, and ASTM D6954. We are currently analysing the responses received to inform future policy and will publish a response to the call for evidence shortly.

As I outlined previously, I appreciate the engagement of industry in our call for evidence and welcome further engagement in future consultations and policy development as our work develops.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the opinion issued by the European Chemicals Agency on 30 October 2018 that they were not convinced that microplastics are formed by oxo-biodegradable plastic.

In January 2017, the European Commission asked the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to prepare an Annex XV restriction dossier concerning the placing on the market and use of oxo-degradable plastics. However, ECHA withdrew its intention to prepare the dossier in May 2019, on request from the European Commission, following the inclusion of oxo-degradable plastics in the Single-Use Plastics Directive.

This information can be found at: https://echa.europa.eu/registry-of-restriction-intentions/-/dislist/details/0b0236e18244d9bb.

This decision was a matter for the European Commission and it would not be appropriate to comment on an investigation which was not completed.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 12 November 2020 to Question 113024 on plastics: recycling, whether it is his policy that packaging that has passed the tests prescribed by BS EN13432 should not be considered genuinely biodegradable because it is tested to biodegrade in special conditions found in an industrial composting facility and not in the open environment.

As stated in the Answer of 12 November 2020 to Question 113024 on plastics recycling, the Government published a call for evidence in July 2019 to help consider the development of standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics as well as to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. The call for evidence further considered existing standards including BS EN13432. We are currently analysing the responses received to inform future policy and will publish a response to the call for evidence shortly.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 27 October 2020 to Question 105307 on Symphony Environmental: Plastics, if he will prohibit the description of plastic as compostable if it is the type of plastic required by European Standard EN13432 to convert almost entirely into CO2 and not into compost.

EN 13432:2000 is an industry-derived harmonised EU standard which lays down minimum requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation. It is a standard that has been adopted by national standards bodies in many of the EU Member States. In the UK it is published as BS EN 13432 by the British Standards Institution. Only packaging which has passed relevant tests and assessments can carry the standard. It has not been adopted into UK legislation.

Turning to standards and biodegradability more broadly, we are concerned that, in the absence of robust standards, claims about the biodegradability of plastic-based products cannot be verified leading to potential confusion in the market place, possible increased levels of consumption and potential environmental harm at the point of disposal. Furthermore, concerns persist that plastics which are claimed to be biodegradable, if littered or otherwise released into the environment in an uncontrolled way, may not degrade quickly or at all, and they can only be composted if they meet relevant standards.

As a consequence of these concerns, the Government published a call for evidence in July 2019 to help consider the development of standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics as well as to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. The call for evidence closed on 14 October 2019 and we are grateful for the responses submitted to us by industry and others. We are currently analysing the responses received to inform future policy and will publish a response to the call for evidence by the end of the year.

We appreciate the engagement of industry in the call for evidence and welcome further engagement in future consultations and policy development as our work develops.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 27 October 2020 to Question 105307 on Symphony Environmental: Plastics, for what reason the Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee did not hold discussions with the Oxo-biodegradable Plastics Association as part of that review; and if they will do so now.

The Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee is an independent scientific advisory committee. We tasked them to conduct a literature review of the published scientific literature. Stakeholder engagement was therefore not part of this process.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 27 October 2020 to Question 105307 on Symphony Environmental: Plastics, if he will work with the Oxo-biodegradable Plastics Association to review existing standards for the verification of oxo-biodegradable plastics to reduce confusion in the marketplace.

EN 13432:2000 is an industry-derived harmonised EU standard which lays down minimum requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation. It is a standard that has been adopted by national standards bodies in many of the EU Member States. In the UK it is published as BS EN 13432 by the British Standards Institution. Only packaging which has passed relevant tests and assessments can carry the standard. It has not been adopted into UK legislation.

Turning to standards and biodegradability more broadly, we are concerned that, in the absence of robust standards, claims about the biodegradability of plastic-based products cannot be verified leading to potential confusion in the market place, possible increased levels of consumption and potential environmental harm at the point of disposal. Furthermore, concerns persist that plastics which are claimed to be biodegradable, if littered or otherwise released into the environment in an uncontrolled way, may not degrade quickly or at all, and they can only be composted if they meet relevant standards.

As a consequence of these concerns, the Government published a call for evidence in July 2019 to help consider the development of standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable and compostable plastics as well as to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. The call for evidence closed on 14 October 2019 and we are grateful for the responses submitted to us by industry and others. We are currently analysing the responses received to inform future policy and will publish a response to the call for evidence by the end of the year.

We appreciate the engagement of industry in the call for evidence and welcome further engagement in future consultations and policy development as our work develops.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 27 October 2020 to Question 105307 on Symphony Environmental: Plastics, what the Government's policy is on plastic which escapes into the open environment which cannot be collected.

The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan sets out our ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. Our priority is preventing plastic from entering the marine or terrestrial environment, and our focus is on creating a circular economy. The UK is recycling more than ever, achieving a 46% plastic packaging recycling rate in 2017, and the Government is committed to minimising the movement of waste for disposal elsewhere. Through our Resources & Waste Strategy we have committed to take action to help stimulate investment in domestic reprocessing and recycling infrastructure. This includes through new policies such as extended producer responsibility and deposit return schemes for drinks containers (subject to further evidence and analysis); raising recycling targets for packaging across a number of materials and waste streams to increase the amount and quality of recycling and improve environmental outcomes.

The Government does not hold data that differentiates between non-biodegradable and biodegradable plastic litter. However, the UK does collect data on the quantity and type of marine litter in our waters, including data on seafloor litter, floating litter and beach litter, following methods agreed through the OSPAR Convention’s monitoring and assessment programmes. Data is available through the Marine Online Assessment Tool: https://moat.cefas.co.uk/. This data is used to help us monitor the levels and trends of plastic pollution and inform our decisions on how to tackle marine litter.

We also published the Litter Strategy for England in April 2017, setting out our aim to deliver a substantial reduction in litter and littering within a generation. The Litter Strategy brings together communities, businesses, charities and schools to bring about real change by focusing on three key themes: education and awareness; improving enforcement; and better cleaning and access to bins. A copy of the Litter Strategy can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/litter-strategy-for-england.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 27 October 2020 to Question 105307 on Symphony Environmental: Plastics, what estimate he has made of the amount of non-biodegradable plastic which has escaped into the open environment in England and its territorial waters in the last 12 months.

The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan sets out our ambition to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste. Our priority is preventing plastic from entering the marine or terrestrial environment, and our focus is on creating a circular economy. The UK is recycling more than ever, achieving a 46% plastic packaging recycling rate in 2017, and the Government is committed to minimising the movement of waste for disposal elsewhere. Through our Resources & Waste Strategy we have committed to take action to help stimulate investment in domestic reprocessing and recycling infrastructure. This includes through new policies such as extended producer responsibility and deposit return schemes for drinks containers (subject to further evidence and analysis); raising recycling targets for packaging across a number of materials and waste streams to increase the amount and quality of recycling and improve environmental outcomes.

The Government does not hold data that differentiates between non-biodegradable and biodegradable plastic litter. However, the UK does collect data on the quantity and type of marine litter in our waters, including data on seafloor litter, floating litter and beach litter, following methods agreed through the OSPAR Convention’s monitoring and assessment programmes. Data is available through the Marine Online Assessment Tool: https://moat.cefas.co.uk/. This data is used to help us monitor the levels and trends of plastic pollution and inform our decisions on how to tackle marine litter.

We also published the Litter Strategy for England in April 2017, setting out our aim to deliver a substantial reduction in litter and littering within a generation. The Litter Strategy brings together communities, businesses, charities and schools to bring about real change by focusing on three key themes: education and awareness; improving enforcement; and better cleaning and access to bins. A copy of the Litter Strategy can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/litter-strategy-for-england.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of joining the World Wine Trade Group.

The UK is rejoining the International Organisation of Vine and Wine in January 2021 after an absence of approximately 16 years. This will give the UK international influence over decisions on wine practices and processes and continued credibility in the international trade in wine. UK membership of other international organisations, including the World Wine Trade Group, is being kept under review.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether businesses importing fine wine from the EU will be required to use wine import certificates from 1 January 2021.

The Government will legislate for a temporary easement of the requirement for VI-1 certification for imports of EU wine. Wine imports from the EU will not require VI-1 certification until 1 July 2021 and sensible exemptions will be made, including for shipments of less than 100 litres.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to minimise new compliance costs connected with the importation of fine wine from the EU after 1 January 2021.

The Government recognises that the VI-1 requirement will be a new cost to EU operators. However, despite VI-1 certification being an existing requirement for non-EU wines they remain competitive at retail. There are a number of practical exemptions from the requirement, including for shipments of less than 100 litres.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of Symphony Environmental Technologies' d2p oxo-biodegradable technology.

The government recognises that innovation into biodegradable plastics could help reduce the environmental impacts of plastics if they are disposed of in the right way. However, this is often not the case. We are concerned that, in the absence of robust and comprehensive standards, claims about the biodegradability of plastic-based products cannot be verified leading to potential confusion in the market place, possible increased levels of consumption and potential environmental harm at the point of disposal.

In 2015, a government report concluded that existing biodegradable standards are only applicable to very specific conditions such as industrial composters. ?A review of oxo-biodegradable plastics has also conducted by the Hazardous Substance Advisory Committee in 2019. This can be found on their website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/hazardous-substances-advisory-committee

As a consequence of these concerns, the government published a call for evidence last year to help consider the development of product standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable, and compostable plastics as well as to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. The call for evidence closed on the 14 October 2019 and we are currently analysing the responses received. We will publish a government response before the end of the year. You can find out more information here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/standards-for-biodegradable-compostable-and-bio-based-plastics-call-for-evidence

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of Bio-based and Biodegradable Industries Association's campaign on oxo-degradable plastic.

The government recognises that innovation into biodegradable plastics could help reduce the environmental impacts of plastics if they are disposed of in the right way. However, this is often not the case. We are concerned that, in the absence of robust and comprehensive standards, claims about the biodegradability of plastic-based products cannot be verified leading to potential confusion in the market place, possible increased levels of consumption and potential environmental harm at the point of disposal.

In 2015, a government report concluded that existing biodegradable standards are only applicable to very specific conditions such as industrial composters. ?A review of oxo-biodegradable plastics has also conducted by the Hazardous Substance Advisory Committee in 2019. This can be found on their website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/hazardous-substances-advisory-committee

As a consequence of these concerns, the government published a call for evidence last year to help consider the development of product standards or certification criteria for bio-based, biodegradable, and compostable plastics as well as to better understand their effects on the environment and our current waste system. The call for evidence closed on the 14 October 2019 and we are currently analysing the responses received. We will publish a government response before the end of the year. You can find out more information here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/standards-for-biodegradable-compostable-and-bio-based-plastics-call-for-evidence

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to support local authorities tackle increased littering during the covid-19 lockdown.

We recognise that in the current circumstances local authorities may have more challenges than usual, including when collecting waste. The Government has responded with an unprecedented £4.3 billion support package for local authorities. This includes £3.7 billion of un-ringfenced grants which can be used by councils to meet local priorities including, should they see fit, cleaning up litter. Defra has also published guidance for local authorities on the prioritisation of waste collection services.

Defra has also supported, and provided funding for, Keep Britain Tidy's Love Parks campaign, which encourages people to treat our parks with respect this summer. Further information about the campaign is available at:

www.keepbritaintidy.org/news/new-campaign-launched-face-littering-epidemic-parks.

Defra has also launched a 'Respect the Outdoors' campaign this summer. This has been promoted both online and in locations near to urban parks, beaches and national parks to further highlight the impacts of littering, as well as unauthorised barbeques and campfires, and breaches of the countryside code.

It remains an offence to drop litter, and councils have legal powers to take enforcement action against offenders. Anyone caught littering may be prosecuted in a magistrates' court, which can lead to a criminal record and a fine of up to £2,500 on conviction. Instead of prosecuting, councils may decide to issue a fixed penalty of between £65 and £150.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on restricting the export of live animals for slaughter.

We have a manifesto commitment to end excessively long journeys for live animals going for slaughter and fattening, which is an opportunity we have gained through leaving the EU. We intend to issue a consultation on how we deliver on that commitment in due course.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to paragraph 33 of CP226 The UK's Approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, whether the food shipments from Great Britain to Northern Ireland will require submission of export health certificates.

We have always acknowledged the special status held by the island of Ireland as a single epidemiological unit. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP) this will require changes to provide for agri-food checks and assurances. The NIP calls for shipments of animals and animal products to meet the EU’s sanitary and phytosanitary standards. Movements of these goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland may therefore require an export health certificate, dependent on negotiations.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to paragraph 33 of CP226 The UK's Approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, whether he plans that food products consisting of a variety of ingredients will require an Export Health Certificate for each ingredient when shipped from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

The conditions for which composite products (such as a food product containing cheese and potato) require an EHC are outlined by the Commission. The conditions include, but are not limited to, the type of composite product and the amount of animal origin product in the composite.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to paragraph 33 of CP226 The UK's Approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, whether changes will be made to the arrangements for certification of produce as organic which is moved from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

As the Government has set out in the recent Command Paper on the UK’s approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, we have always been clear that it makes sense to protect supply chains and that there will need to be some checks to help movements of agri-food from Great Britain (GB) into Northern Ireland (NI), supported by relevant electronic processes. This may include GB organic food producers needing to provide certificates for inspection for their goods on entry into relevant NI ports, dependent on negotiations.

The process by which controls are conducted for GB-NI movements, and their frequency, will need to be discussed with the EU in the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee. This will be done within the context of limiting additional controls at NI ports as far as possible. We will actively seek to simplify and minimise electronic documentary requirements where possible.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what conclusions have been issued by the joint working party on reforming the rules on fish discards referred to on page 32 of the 2018 White Paper on Sustainable Fisheries for Future Generations.

The Government remains fully committed to ending the wasteful discarding of fish and working closely with the UK fishing industry and other stakeholders to address this issue.

Since publishing the 2018 Fisheries White Paper, Defra has held a number of workshops with industry and other stakeholders, including NGOs, on how the rules on fish discards can be reformed so that they are tailored to our industry and our marine environment. This engagement will continue throughout the development of our future policy.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to page 27 the 2018 White Paper on Sustainable Fisheries for Future Generations, what steps he has taken in response to the scientific trial of an effort system for fishing in English inshore waters.

In the 2018 Fisheries White Paper Defra stated that we would consider a targeted scientific trial using an effort (days at sea) based regime in place of a quota regime for some low impact inshore fisheries.

In summer 2019, Defra ran a call for evidence on developing a new approach for allocating additional fishing quota in England. This included a question on trialling effort for some low impact fisheries, to determine whether fishing can be carried out sustainably under an effort based regime.

For 2020, we will continue to work with industry and other stakeholders to develop our approach for allocating and managing any additional quota in England. This includes whether we should trial an effort based approach. We plan to consult on this later this year.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to paragraph 33 of CP226 The UK's Approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, when he plans to publish guidance for food retailers on the formalities to be complied with in moving food from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

We have developed Export Health Certificates (EHCs) and accompanying Notes for Guidance for exports from GB to NI in preparation for the end of the Transition period. These shall be available publicly before the end of year.

The physical inspection of goods entering Northern Ireland is devolved and the devolved competent authority is DAERA. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, the EU reserves the right to supervise these inspections.

We will inform industry later this year about actions they need to take to ensure they can continue trading after the transition period has ended.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to paragraph 33 of CP226 The UK's Approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, which body will be responsible for carrying out physical inspections of goods and animals moved from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

We have developed Export Health Certificates (EHCs) and accompanying Notes for Guidance for exports from GB to NI in preparation for the end of the Transition period. These shall be available publicly before the end of year.

The physical inspection of goods entering Northern Ireland is devolved and the devolved competent authority is DAERA. Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, the EU reserves the right to supervise these inspections.

We will inform industry later this year about actions they need to take to ensure they can continue trading after the transition period has ended.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government has taken since 23 July 2019 to ensure that new fisheries rules coming into effect at the end of the transition period can be effectively enforced.

As an independent coastal state, the UK will have full responsibility over how it ensures compliance in its fisheries at the end of the transition period. As control and enforcement is a devolved matter, Defra, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive continue to work together to share information and ensure a coordinated approach to monitoring, compliance and enforcement across UK waters.

In England, our robust enforcement system is delivered by several agencies working in partnership, in particular the Marine Management Organisation, the Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities and the Royal Navy. Since 23 July 2019 we have taken significant steps to ensure authorities can enforce fishing regulations through securing a sizeable increase in control and enforcement capability. This includes an increase to the number of frontline warranted officers, increased aerial surveillance and additional vessels to enhance patrolling capacity at sea.

Further details of the increase in fisheries control and enforcement capacity can be found in the answer given to the hon. Member for Edinburgh North and Leith on 7 January 2020, PQ UIN 145, and the answer given to the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan on 13 February 2020, PQ UIN 14762.

[www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2019-12-19/145]

[www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2020-02-10/14762]

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the UK Marine Strategy produced under the UK Marine Strategy Regulations 2010 is expected to achieve its 2020 targets on good environmental status on marine habitats and species as referred to on page 32 of the 2018 White Paper on Sustainable Fisheries for Future Generations.

The updated UK Marine Strategy Part One, published in October 2019, provides an assessment of the state of UK seas and shows the progress made towards achieving Good Environmental Status (GES).

The assessment showed that we have made progress towards GES for UK seas and that some marine species, including grey seals, have achieved GES in UK seas. However, the assessment identified other areas, including some bird species and seabed habitats, where more needs to be done.

We are taking action to address those areas where we have not yet reached GES, and intend to publish an update to the UK Marine Strategy Part Three, outlining the programmes of measures that will continue to move us towards GES, in 2021.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what provisions he has put in place to ensure that regulatory activities carried out by the European Chemicals Agency functions can be continued in the UK after the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020.

The preparations we made for the possibility of a no deal exit mean that we are well placed to be ready with our own independent regulatory regime for 1 January 2021. At the end of the Transition Period the UK will have its own independent chemicals regulatory framework, UK REACH. We will bring REACH in to UK law and put in place the systems and capacity to ensure the effective management and control of chemicals which safeguard human health and the environment, and that we can respond to emerging risks. UK REACH will retain the principles and fundamental approach of the EU REACH system, with its aims of ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment, as well as enhancing innovation and competitiveness.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to encourage the resumption of tree planting as lockdown restrictions due to the covid-19 outbreak are eased.

Lockdown started towards the end of the 2019/2020 tree planting season and under normal conditions we would not expect planting to start again until the autumn.

The Forestry Commission and the Rural Payments Agency have remained open for new woodland creation applications and continued to process those applications subject to the restrictions imposed by Government guidance on COVID-19.

The following schemes have remained open for woodland creation applications: Countryside Stewardship, Woodland Carbon Fund, Woodland Carbon Guarantee, Woodland Creation Planning Grant and the HS2 Woodland Fund. The second application window of the Urban Tree Challenge Fund opened during lockdown and was subsequently extended to give applicants more time to apply.

Claims for tree planting under existing grant agreements have continued to be paid, with additional measures being put in place by the Forestry Commission and the Rural Payments Agency to support claimants under lockdown restrictions.

Officials have remained in regular and close contact with the forestry sector, which has continued to operate, where and when it has been safe to do so, throughout lockdown. For example, tree nurseries have responded by amending working practices to ensure social distancing can be maintained while ensuring that plants are available for next year’s tree planting season.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to paragraph 33 of CP226 The UK's Approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, what steps he plans to take to ensure document and inspection requirements are not onerous in relation to the movement of lorries with mixed loads consisting of various different food products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

The Government is working to consider options to facilitate the movement of mixed loads. We will inform industry later this year about actions they need to take to ensure they can continue trading after the transition period has ended.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to paragraph 33 of The UK's Approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, published May 2020, what steps he is taking to ensure that there will be an adequate number of vets available to sign off the export health certificates which might be required for the shipment of food from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Our aim has been to support the market in meeting likely demand for Certifying Officers to certify export health certificates. We provided funding for training of veterinarians to become Official Veterinarians (OVs) which enables them to certify exports of products of animal origin. In addition, we have created a Certification Support Officer role freeing up certifier time and increasing capacity. As of May 2020 1,217 OVs have completed this training.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the covid-19 outbreak has affected the timetable for delivery of the new Environmental Land Management Scheme.

The timeline for ELM will remain unchanged. The National Pilot is due to commence in late 2021 and run to 2024. Full ELM scheme rollout will be from 2024.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the start date is for the national pilot of the new Environmental Land Management Scheme.

The timeline for ELM will remain unchanged. The National Pilot is due to commence in late 2021 and run to 2024. Full ELM scheme rollout will be from 2024.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the term Other structures used in clause 41(c) of the Environment Bill 2020 includes roads.

Clause 41(c) excludes ‘Buildings and other structures’ from the definition of the ‘natural environment’ in the Bill. However, individual types of buildings and structures are not specified on the face of the Bill. It will be for the Secretary of State and the Office for Environmental Protection to interpret this definition for the purposes of implementing Chapters 1 and 2 of the Bill respectively, based on the details of the specific issue before them and the clause which they are implementing through any particular decision. If a dispute arises about the interpretation of these provisions, the courts may ultimately provide a judgment on the matter.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Government has to ensure the delivery of food to people in self-isolation; and when such plans will be in operation.

I continue to have regular conversations with retailers and the wider supply chain so that we can take the action required to make sure that everyone can get the food and groceries they need.

We have put in place measures to ensure that those identified by the NHS as being extremely clinically vulnerable and who are without a support network of friends and family receive basic food and essential supplies. Packages of essential groceries are being delivered across England to people in this category, which should arrive within seven days after support is requested via the online NHS webportal or via the phone.

In addition, we have worked with supermarkets to place these customers at the front of the queue for online delivery slots.

We are working quickly to support people who do not fall into the category of being clinically vulnerable, but still need help getting essential food supplies. I regularly speak to other departments, industry, charities and local authorities, working together to make sure that the non-shielding vulnerable have access to food.

Many people are already being well supported by their friends, families, neighbours and local communities. We are working with retailers and the voluntary sector to ensure that people are supported to shop for others safely.

Over 750,000 people across England signed up as NHS Volunteer Responders via the mobile app GoodSam. Over 600,000 volunteers have been verified as NHS Volunteer Responders via the Good Sam platform, and can now receive tasks to help those in their communities. These volunteers will help vulnerable people in England who are at most risk from coronavirus to stay well, including through shopping for vulnerable people for food and essential supplies.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to restrict the use of cages in farming.

The Government cares very much about the welfare of animals and is examining the evidence around the use of cages for farm animals and considering the options.

We have been clear it is our ambition that farrowing crates should no longer be used for sows. Indeed, the new pig welfare code clearly states that “the aim is for farrowing crates to no longer be necessary and for any new system to protect the welfare of the sow, as well as her piglets”. I am pleased to confirm the UK is already ahead of most pig producing countries in terms of non-confinement farrowing, with around 40% of our pigs housed outside and not farrowed with crates.

The Government is examining the future use of cages for all laying hens and I welcome the commitment from our major retailers, with positive support from our egg producers, to stop retailing eggs from enriched colony cage production systems by 2025. I am pleased to state that the UK already has a much larger free range sector by far than any EU country, with over 50% of our hens kept in free range systems.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has plans to support the use of free farrowing systems in pig farming.

The Government cares very much about the welfare of animals and is examining the evidence around the use of cages for farm animals and considering the options.

We have been clear it is our ambition that farrowing crates should no longer be used for sows. Indeed, the new pig welfare code clearly states that “the aim is for farrowing crates to no longer be necessary and for any new system to protect the welfare of the sow, as well as her piglets”. I am pleased to confirm the UK is already ahead of most pig producing countries in terms of non-confinement farrowing, with around 40% of our pigs housed outside and not farrowed with crates.

The Government is examining the future use of cages for all laying hens and I welcome the commitment from our major retailers, with positive support from our egg producers, to stop retailing eggs from enriched colony cage production systems by 2025. I am pleased to state that the UK already has a much larger free range sector by far than any EU country, with over 50% of our hens kept in free range systems.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to place restrictions on the use of enriched cages in farming.

The Government cares very much about the welfare of animals and is examining the evidence around the use of cages for farm animals and considering the options.

We have been clear it is our ambition that farrowing crates should no longer be used for sows. Indeed, the new pig welfare code clearly states that “the aim is for farrowing crates to no longer be necessary and for any new system to protect the welfare of the sow, as well as her piglets”. I am pleased to confirm the UK is already ahead of most pig producing countries in terms of non-confinement farrowing, with around 40% of our pigs housed outside and not farrowed with crates.

The Government is examining the future use of cages for all laying hens and I welcome the commitment from our major retailers, with positive support from our egg producers, to stop retailing eggs from enriched colony cage production systems by 2025. I am pleased to state that the UK already has a much larger free range sector by far than any EU country, with over 50% of our hens kept in free range systems.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to bring forward legislative proposals on animal sentience.

The Government has committed to bringing in new laws on animal sentience. Any necessary changes required to domestic legislation will be made in a rigorous and comprehensive way after the transition period and will be brought forward when Parliamentary time allows. Defra is currently assessing how best to support Government departments in considering the welfare needs of sentient animals when they are developing and implementing Government policy.

Defra engages with a wide range of stakeholders on a number of animal welfare issues, including animal sentience.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the targets to be set under the Environment Bill will include a target on litter.

The Government will be required to set at least one target for each of the four priority areas: air quality; biodiversity; water; and waste reduction and resource efficiency. The power to set targets will not be limited to these four priority areas. Long-term targets could be set in respect of any matter which relates to the natural environment, or people’s enjoyment of it, in order to drive significant improvement of the environment.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the remit of the proposed Office of Environmental Protection will include holding public bodies to account on compliance with duties to collect litter.

The Office of Environmental Protection (OEP) will be established with the principal objective of contributing to environmental protection and the improvement of the natural environment. The OEP will have powers that will enable it to hold all public authorities to account for their implementation of any legislative provisions that fall under the definition of environmental law as set out in the Environment Bill. In this context, the OEP’s remit is not defined by reference to specific subjects such as litter, but rather by reference to the question of whether legislation is mainly concerned with environmental protection. The OEP will also need to consider the seriousness of any alleged breach, and whether there are more appropriate avenues to resolve the matter, in determining where and how to act in relation to any specific case.

Legal duties in relation to litter, or indeed any other subject, would therefore need to be considered against the definition of environmental law in the Environment Bill in order to determine whether the OEP has powers to act. This will be for the OEP to assess in the first instance.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the timeframe is for the publication of Sir Ian Cheshire's report on global supply chains.

Sir Ian Cheshire’s report on global supply chains is due to be published on 30 March this year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding has been allocated from the public purse to the Mayor of London in each of the last 10 years to improve air quality.

The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality in the capital and has reserve powers under Part IV of the Environment Act (1995) to reflect this. Under the Environment Act the Mayor may direct the boroughs in the Greater London area concerning how they should assess and prioritise action in their areas.

London received funding for air quality as part of the 2015 £5.7 billion Transport for London funding settlement and has also received further funding for specific projects totalling almost £147 million.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will take steps to ensure that UK Official Development Assistance programmes help developing countries reduce the use of antibiotics in farming.

UK Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) supports developing countries to develop sustainable farming systems which are good for livelihoods, for human and animal health, and the environment, and which are resilient to climate change. This includes fostering the responsible use of antibiotics for animal health and welfare, while monitoring and preventing the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), a top UK government priority.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the interlinkages between the health of humans, animals and the environment. UK ODA promotes the importance of taking a One Health approach that addresses all three in an integrated manner for an effective and sustainable recovery.

The Department of Health and Social Care’s Fleming Fund has provided over £9 million of funding to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) since 2016 to address AMR and support the appropriate use of antibiotics in farming in 12 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). UK ODA also funds the CGIAR AMR Hub (the global agricultural innovation network) that aims to develop One Health solutions to support LMICs in controlling agriculture-associated AMR risks.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking ensure that religious minorities are not discriminated against during the establishment of aid projects.

The UK Government works to ensure that religious minorities are not discriminated against during the establishment of aid projects and is committed to delivering its aid according to internationally recognised humanitarian principles. These principles ensure that humanitarian assistance is delivered to those who are most vulnerable and most in need of assistance irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity.

The situation of minority communities is taken into account when assessing those most in need of protection and assistance. This includes when a community is being targeted or is otherwise vulnerable because of their faith. We regularly challenge our partners to demonstrate that they are doing all they can to meet the needs of the most vulnerable people, including those from religious minorities.

Vulnerable religious minority groups can experience discrimination, violence and stigma. For this reason, guidance has been circulated across DFID highlighting that inclusion must be central to our work and the specific contexts and needs of vulnerable religious communities, and other vulnerable groups, must be considered when developing practical programmes of assistance. DFID’s due diligence assessments ensure that all organisations supported have the correct procedures in place to tackle any discrimination of religious minorities.

On 8 June, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, hosted a roundtable with faith leaders and the chief executives of faith-based development organisations. The meeting covered how faith groups are contributing to the response to COVID-19; where those interventions have been most effective; the challenges for faith groups, and, how DFID could work more effectively with faith groups.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to ensure that (a) Christians and (b) other religious minorities are not discriminated against during the distribution of UK aid.

The UK Government works to ensure that Christian and other religious minorities are not discriminated against during the distribution of UK aid.

The UK is committed to delivering its aid according to internationally recognised humanitarian principles. These principles ensure that humanitarian assistance is delivered to those who are most vulnerable and most in need of this assistance. This includes vulnerable religious minorities.

Vulnerable religious minority groups will experience crises such as COVID-19 outbreaks differently. Crises are likely to reinforce their marginalised position in society, their experience of discrimination, violence and stigma, and further limit their access to essential support and services. For this reason, guidance was circulated across DFID highlighting that inclusion must be central to our response and the specific contexts and needs of vulnerable religious communities and other vulnerable groups should be taken into account when developing practical programmes of assistance.

On 8 June, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, hosted a roundtable to hear from faith leaders and faith-based development organisations about the specific challenges minority faith communities are facing during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to ensure that her Department's spending on poverty relief includes (a) Christians and (b) other religious minorities who are persecuted for their faith.

The UK Government works to ensure that all aid reaches the most vulnerable including those from Christian and other religious minorities who are persecuted for their faith.

The UK is committed to delivering its humanitarian aid according to internationally recognised humanitarian principles. These principles ensure that humanitarian assistance is delivered to those who are most vulnerable and most in need of this assistance. This includes vulnerable religious minorities.

DFID’s use of country context analysis has increased the extent to which religious dynamics and religious groups are factored into all of our country programmes. DFID undertakes interdisciplinary analysis of a country’s politics, society, state and economy to identify the most significant problems that hinder development and the main entry points and opportunities to create change. There is a strong emphasis on how politics, security, and demographics interact with economic growth and human development. This includes the role of religion and the persecution of religious minorities.

Vulnerable religious minority groups will experience crises such as COVID-19 outbreaks differently. Crises are likely to reinforce their marginalised position in society, their experience of discrimination, violence and stigma, and further limit their access to essential support and services. For this reason, guidance was circulated across DFID highlighting that inclusion must be central to our response and the specific contexts and needs of vulnerable religious communities and other vulnerable groups should be taken into account when developing practical programmes of assistance.

On 8 June, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State responsible for Human Rights, hosted a roundtable to hear from faith leaders and faith-based development organisations about the specific challenges minority faith communities are facing during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of whether (a) Madeira and (b) other similar island locations pose a lower covid-19 risk than other locations on the UK's red list of countries for which hotel quarantine is required.

The government introduced a travel ban for Madeira, along with mainland Portugal and the Azores, on 15 January 2021 and since 15 February individuals who have been in Madeira in the 10 days before they arrive in the UK must quarantine in a government approved hotel.

The decision to introduce additional measures for arrivals who have been in Madeira and other countries on the red list in the 10 days before they arrive in the UK, is in direct response to scientific and medical data, which represents an increased risk to UK public health and an increased risk of community transmission of the new COVID-19 variants identified in other countries.

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

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will make it his policy to oppose a third runway at Heathrow.

On 16 December 2020 the Supreme Court overturned the earlier Court of Appeal decision and declared that the Airports National Policy Statement is lawful. We are carefully considering the Court’s judgment.

The Government have always been clear that Heathrow expansion is a private sector project which must meet strict criteria on air quality, noise and climate change, as well as being privately financed, affordable, and delivered in the best interest of consumers.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to his Department's negotiations with the Mayor of London for a bail-out for Transport for London (TfL), what assessment he has made of TfL's capacity to deliver major capital projects such as proposals to build over London Underground station car parks.

The Government has agreed a further extraordinary funding and financing package for TfL of up to £1.7bn to ensure the continuation of public transport services in London.

As part of this deal, by 11 January 2021 TfL will produce a single, comprehensive management plan with options as to how a trajectory to financial sustainability by 2023 can be achieved, including their contribution to capital projects within London. As transport in London is devolved, it is for the Mayor and TfL to assess the merits of capital projects in which they wish to invest, and their capacity to deliver such projects.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made for the implications of his policies of Transport for London's capacity to manage its projects to build flats over station car parks.

The Government has agreed a further extraordinary funding and financing package for TfL of up to £1.7bn to ensure the continuation of public transport services in London.

As part of this deal, by 11 January 2021 TfL will produce a single, comprehensive management plan with options as to how a trajectory to financial sustainability by 2023 can be achieved, including their contribution to capital projects within London. As transport in London is devolved, it is for the Mayor and TfL to assess the merits of capital projects in which they wish to invest, and their capacity to deliver such projects.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to ensure young people using e-scooters are educated on using them safely and with appropriate regard to pedestrians.

In a number of local areas across the country, trials of rental e-scooters are underway. They will run for 12 months and the results will be closely scrutinised to inform future policy. In all trial areas, e-scooter rental operators provide digital training to users as well as in person training at events. E-scooter operators use geofencing technology to limit the speeds e-scooters can reach and the areas they can operate in. They also incentivise considerate parking of vehicles, for example, by rewarding users who utilise parking bay zones. In order to register to use a trial e-scooter, a form of driver licence is required, therefore, no one under 16 years of age is legally able to use a rental e-scooter.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to exclude (a) the proposed building over of station car parks and (b) other capital projects from the scope of the Government’s funding proposals for Transport for London announced on 21 October 2020.

The Government has agreed a further extraordinary funding and financing package for TfL of up to £1.7bn to ensure the continuation of public transport services in London.

As part of this deal, the Mayor has chosen to make £160 million in savings over the next 6 months to move TfL onto a more financially sustainable footing.

Matters relating to the Mayor’s plans for housing development in London are devolved and subject to local planning consents.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Mayor of London on his plans to build over London Underground station car parks.

Matters relating to the Mayor’s plans for housing development in London are devolved and subject to local planning consents.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will include in his Department's upcoming agreement with Transport for London for additional funding a condition that it cannot be used to facilitate building over London Underground station car parks.

The Government has agreed a further extraordinary funding and financing package for TfL of up to £1.7bn to ensure the continuation of public transport services in London.

Matters relating to the Mayor’s plans for housing development in London are devolved and subject to local planning consents.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether it is his policy that the additional funding for Transport for London which his Department is negotiating will include capital projects.

We are currently in discussions with Transport for London and the Mayor on a further extraordinary funding agreement. The Mayor has many choices to make to balance the books of Transport for London over the long term. When he has made those choices, they will become conditions attached to support from the UK taxpayer. It would be inappropriate to disclose any further details while those discussions are ongoing.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will ensure that none of the recent funding provided by the Government to Transport for London will be used, directly or indirectly, to fund the Mayor of London's plans to build over station car parks at Cockfosters, High Barnet, Finchley Central and Arnos Grove.

In May the Government agreed a £1.6 billion funding and financing package for Transport for London to enable them to continue operating essential services. Matters relating to the Mayor’s plans for housing development in London are devolved and subject to local planning consents.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Office of Rail and Road on ensuring continued provision for parking at stations owned by Network Rail and TfL.

My Rt Hon Friend, the Secretary of State, and I have regular meetings with the Chair and Chief Executive of the Office of Rail and Road to discuss a wide range of issues, but we have not recently discussed the provision of car parking at stations.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government is negotiating with Bulgaria to establish an air bridge to allow covid-19 quarantine free travel between Bulgaria and the UK.

The Government has regular discussions with countries on a range of issues.

Our approach to travel corridors has been guided by the science and we have worked closely with health and policy experts from across government to ensure the steps we are taking will minimise the risk of importing COVID-19 cases, while helping to open our travel and tourism sector.

Although Bulgaria was not included in the travel corridors announced on 3 July, the Health Regulations relating to the self-isolation requirements remain under constant review. The next formal review will be on 27 July 2020.

13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Government of Singapore on the potential establishment of an air bridge between the UK and Singapore and the consequent removal of quarantine requirements for people travelling to the UK from Singapore.

The Government has regular discussions with countries on a range of issues.

Our approach to travel corridors has been guided by the science and we have worked closely with health and policy experts from across government to ensure the steps we are taking will minimise the risk of importing COVID-19 cases, while helping to open our travel and tourism sector.

Although Singapore was not included in the travel corridors announced on 3 July, the Health Regulations relating to the self-isolation requirements remain under constant review. The next formal review will be on 27 July 2020.

6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the cost to the public purse is of the Williams Rail Review.

The Williams Rail Review is funded from the Department for Transport’s existing budget. Neither Keith Williams nor the members of the Expert Challenge Panel are being paid.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, for what reasons findings and recommendations of the Williams Rail Review have not yet been published.

The Department remains committed to delivering wholescale reform of the rail sector to put the priorities of passengers first.

The Williams Rail Review was in the final stages of drafting at the outbreak of COVID-19. The Government views the purpose of the reforms as important as ever, but further work needs to be done now to reflect the impact of COVID-19 on the sector. We are progressing with this work.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when he plans to publish the conclusions of the Williams Review on rail services.

The Department remains committed to delivering wholescale reform of the rail industry to put the priorities of passengers first.

The Williams Rail Review was in the final stages of drafting at the outbreak of COVID-19. The Government views the purpose of the reforms as important as ever, but further work needs to be done now to reflect the impact of COVID-19 on the sector. We are progressing with this work.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with local authorities on the provision of additional parking spaces in response to the advice for people to avoid using public transport where possible during the covid-19 outbreak.

On Wednesday 3 June, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport and the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, co-chaired a roundtable with the Local Government Association, London Councils, parking operators and other associations and organisations with an interest in parking and active travel. This was to encourage the parking sector to develop schemes that would enable commuters to park their cars and then cycle or walk the last part of their journey into town centres, easing the pressure on public transport. Department officials have worked closely with the LGA, London Councils and the British Parking Association throughout the Covid-19 emergency.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will take steps to encourage the use of powered two wheel vehicles as an alternative to public 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.

In response to COVID-19, we are accelerating and expanding planned trials of rental e-scooters, allowing all areas that want to host trials to do so. We will introduce legislation in June to allow trials to begin.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what discussions he has had with the Mayor of London on the potential effect on London's productivity of the London Streetspace programme announced by the Mayor of London on 6 May 2020.

Ministers and officials at the Department for Transport meet regularly with the Mayor’s office to discuss a range of matters relating to transport in London. The Government considers active travel to be key in allowing people to return to work in safety and I look forward to seeing the Mayor’s plans develop in this area.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to reduce the risk of covid-19 being spread in the UK by people arriving from overseas into UK airports.

Airlines and airports have implemented additional measures in response to COVID-19 in line with advice from PHE, SAGE and the Chief Medical Officer. Airports are displaying posters and digital signage relaying Government information about COVID-19. Passengers arriving into UK airports are being given a leaflet with information about the measures in place in the UK, and announcements are made on aircraft an hour before landing.

Targeted screening measures were carried out at UK airports for inbound passengers during the containment phase of the pandemic when the aim was to prevent the virus coming in to the UK.

Whilst there is community transmission within the UK, the role played by imported cases is less significant and so our focus in the current delay phase has not been on screening measures at the border.



As you would expect our approach is being kept under review as the pandemic develops. This may mean that measures and procedures change as we control the spread of, and understand more about, the virus. Any changes to our approach will be led by advice from SAGE and the Chief Medical Officer. Protecting the health of the UK public will always come first.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether the Government plans to stop flights to and from Iran due to the covid-19 outbreak in that country.

In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government is working to a scientifically-led, step-by-step action plan, focusing on taking the right measures at the right time.

Whilst there is community transmission within the UK, the role played by imported cases is less significant and so our focus in the current delay phase has not been on screening measures at the border. Additionally, it is vital that flights are still able to land in the UK in order to allow Britons who have been stranded abroad as a result of the pandemic to return home, and to allow key supplies to continue moving into and around the UK.

Airlines and airports have already implemented additional measures in response to COVID-19 in line with advice from PHE, SAGE and the Chief Medical Officer. Airports are displaying posters and digital signage relaying Government information about COVID-19. Passengers arriving into UK airports are being given a leaflet with information about the measures in place in the UK, and announcements are made on aircraft an hour before landing.

Government will keep this process under review as the pandemic develops. This may mean that measures and procedures change as we control the spread of, and understand more about, the virus. Any changes to our approach will be led by advice from SAGE and the Chief Medical Officer. Protecting the health of the UK public will always come first.

2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding has been allocated to the Mayor of London for reducing emissions from transport in each of the last 10 years.

The Government has provided the following amounts to help reduce emissions from transport in London since 2011:

Scheme

Amount

Funding for 338 Low-carbon buses (this figure is for the Green Bus Fund from 2009-2012)

£23m

Funding for 54 Low-emission buses

£6.4m

Funding for Ultra-Low Emission taxis

£25m

ULEV Taxi Infrastructure scheme

£5.2m

Go-Ultra Low Cities Scheme

£13.1m

Air Quality Grant (pre-2019)

£2m

Support to increase ULEV uptake

£10m

Clean Bus Technology Fund

£6.5m

Clean Vehicle Technology Fund

£0.5m

Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme 2019

£7.0m

Air Quality Grant 2019

£0.77m

Hydrogen for Transport Programme

£0.5m

Plug-in Car Grant paid out in respect of vehicles registered in London (current available figure)

£45m

Plug-in Taxi Grant paid for taxis licenced in London (payment made to vehicle manufacturers)

£13.52m

TOTAL

£158.39m

TfL also received £5.7bn over the period 2016 to 2021 for general transport funding, which included funding to cover the implementation of measures to address air quality.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding has been allocated to the Mayor of London for reducing emissions from buses in each of the last 10 years.

The Government has provided the following amounts to Transport for London (TfL) to help reduce emissions from buses over the last 10 years:

Year

Scheme name

Amount (£)

2019

Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme

£6,956,000

2017-19

Clean Bus Technology Extension Fund

£3,000,000

2017-19

Clean Bus Technology Fund

£3,000,000

2016

Low Emission Bus Scheme

£6,407,000

2015

Clean Bus Technology Fund

£500,000

2014

Clean Vehicle Technology Fund

£500,000

2009-12

Green Bus Fund

£22,999,740

TOTAL

£43,362,740

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the financial effect on small businesses of workplace pensions.

Automatic enrolment is a success story that has seen over 10 million employees automatically enrolled into a workplace pension. Many of those workers benefitting were once poorly served or excluded from workplace pension saving, with many more women, lower earners and younger people building an asset for their future.

The Department’s evaluation of automatic enrolment and ongoing monitoring of the impacts of workplace pensions means that the we regularly check how the meeting of their automatic enrolment duties affects small businesses financially. Evidence from the 2019 Automatic Enrolment Evaluation report1 and a separate research study with new employers2 indicates that whilst some small and micro employers have experienced increased costs as a result of automatic enrolment, they tended to perceive the costs involved in monthly administration of pension contributions to be relatively low and the contributions themselves as manageable in the context of the overall running costs of their business.

Our immediate focus during the covid-19 national lock-down was to support employers and savers through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which included the payment of employer workplace pension contributions up until the end of July. At the same time, the Pensions Regulator took a proportionate approach on automatic enrolment compliance to minimise unnecessary burdens on hard-pressed employers, giving them more time and flexibility to meet their duties.

By early August, our unprecedented package of emergency support to employers was helping 1.2 million businesses and furloughing 9.6 million jobs. Our aim remains to support, create and protect jobs - giving businesses confidence to retain and hire new workers builds capacity for retirement saving.

In the Chipping Barnet constituency, since 2012, approximately 10,000 eligible jobholders have been automatically enrolled and 3,030 employers have supported their employees3.

1 Automatic Enrolment evaluation report 2019, DWP, February 2020

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/automatic-enrolment-evaluation-report-2019

2 Automatic Enrolment: qualitative research with new employers, DWP, February 2020

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/automatic-enrolment-qualitative-research-with-new-employers

3 The Pensions Regulator’s data on Automatic enrolment declaration of compliance by constituency, available via the following weblink:

https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/document-library/research-and-analysis/data-requests

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will take steps to improve the speed of diagnosis of endometriosis.

Research exploring the experiences of women who present with endometriosis-like symptoms in primary care is currently underway, hosted by the National Institute of Health Research. The results will be published later this year and will help to understand delays in diagnosis.

On 8 March, we launched a 12-week call for evidence as part of the first Government-led Women’s Health Strategy for England. The online survey within the call for evidence seeks information on gynaecological conditions, including endometriosis. The treatment and diagnosis of endometriosis will be carefully considered as part of the ongoing work on the Women’s Health Strategy.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve patient access to specialist treatment for endometriosis.

Research exploring the experiences of women who present with endometriosis-like symptoms in primary care is currently underway, hosted by the National Institute of Health Research. The results will be published later this year and will help to understand delays in diagnosis.

On 8 March, we launched a 12-week call for evidence as part of the first Government-led Women’s Health Strategy for England. The online survey within the call for evidence seeks information on gynaecological conditions, including endometriosis. The treatment and diagnosis of endometriosis will be carefully considered as part of the ongoing work on the Women’s Health Strategy.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the planned timescale is for the review of potentially using certificates showing a (a) covid-19 vaccination or (b) recent negative covid-19 test result.

The Government announced on 22 February that it 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. COVID-19 status certification involves using testing or vaccination data to confirm in different settings that people have a lower risk of transmitting the virus to others.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to make an (a) assessment of and (b) certify ventilation systems which reduce the risk of transmission of covid-19.

The Health Technical Memoranda (HTM) 03-01 provides guidance on the design and management of heating and specialised ventilation in health sector buildings, including guidance regarding the adequate ventilation of healthcare facilities to ensure staff safety. The guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-specialised-ventilation-for-healthcare-premises-parts-a-and-b

The HTM gives comprehensive advice and guidance on the legal requirements, design implications, maintenance and operation of specialised ventilation in all types of healthcare premises. It applies to new installations and major refurbishments of existing installations. Under the HTM all hospital trusts are required to have an Authorising Engineer (Ventilation) who provides independent auditing and advice on ventilation systems and who reviews and witnesses documentation on validation. The Care Quality Commission is responsible for compliance with the HTM under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (revised), and the Department has no current plans to change this approach

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there are any exemptions from hotel quarantine requirements for frail elderly people who need social care support.

There are very limited exemptions to the requirement to book and enter managed quarantine if a person has been in a ‘red list’ country at any point in the 10 days prior to their arrival into England. These exemptions are set out on GOV.UK at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules/coronavirus-covid-19-travellers-exempt-from-uk-border-rules

Those with concerns about being in a quarantine hotel on health or wellbeing grounds, can seek an assessment by a medical professional after check-in. People needing to be exempted from managed quarantine on medical grounds are assessed on a case by case basis, from a clinical assessment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, by what date he plans to have made the covid-19 vaccine available to all home carers.

Frontline social care workers, who provide care in people’s homes, are prioritised for vaccination in group two. In addition, unpaid carers are included in priority group six which comprises of all individuals aged 16 to 64 years old with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality. This also includes those who are in receipt of a 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.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people volunteering to support the covid-19 vaccination programme will receive priority for vaccinations.

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.  For the first phase, the JCVI has advised that the vaccine be given to care home residents and staff, as well as frontline health and social care workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors.

As set out by the JCVI, priority is given to frontline staff at high risk of acquiring infection, and at risk of transmitting infection to multiple vulnerable persons or other staff in a healthcare environment. Volunteers working on the COVID-19 vaccination programme may fall under frontline healthcare workers or frontline social care workers, subject to the activity that they are undertaking.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when clinically extremely vulnerable people who are under 70 will be included in England's covid-19 vaccination programme.

In line with the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the vaccine is being rolled out to priority groups, including care home residents and staff, people over 80 years old and health and care workers. The vaccine will then be rolled out to the rest of the population in order of age and risk, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and all individuals aged 16-64 years old with underlying health conditions.

Our top priority is to offer a COVID-19 vaccine to everyone in JCVI cohorts 1-4 by mid-February – groups that account for more than four out of every five Covid fatalities.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to prioritise clinically extremely vulnerable people under the age of 80 for the covid-19 vaccine.

In line with the recommendations of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), the vaccine is being rolled out to priority groups, including care home residents and staff, people over 80 years old and health and care workers. The vaccine will then be rolled out to the rest of the population in order of age and risk, including those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and all individuals aged 16-64 years old with underlying health conditions.

Our top priority is to offer a COVID-19 vaccine to everyone in JCVI cohorts 1-4 by mid-February – groups that account for more than four out of every five Covid fatalities.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will allow three households to mix indoors in pubs and restaurants during the Christmas 2020 relaxation of covid-19 restrictions.

From 2 December, the rules on who people can meet with in bars, pubs and restaurants will depend on the tier in their area. The rules might be different for indoor and outdoor hospitality settings. Between 23 and 27 December, the rules on who people can meet in bars, pubs and restaurants will not change.

Although there are exemptions to gatherings for work purposes, individuals must not have a work Christmas lunch or party, where that is a primarily social activity and is not otherwise permitted by the rules in the local tier.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria he plans to apply to determine which covid-19 tier each local authority area will be included in at the end of the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown arrangements.

Decisions on tiers are made by Ministers based on public health recommendations from senior clinical and scientific advisors, guided by five key indicators - the case detection rate in all age groups, case detection among the over 60 year olds, the rate at which case rates are rising or falling, positivity rate and pressures on the National Health Service.  Final decisions on tiering are made by the COVID-19 Operations Committee.

As of 6 January, all areas have been moved into tier 4 and the Government will review the tiering allocations every 14 days.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to make a separate decision for each London borough when determining which covid-19 tier areas should enter after 2 December 2020.

In September 2020, the Mayor of London, on behalf all London local authorities, signed an agreement with the Department that London local authorities will respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as a region. Since then, London councils, through their various governance bodies, have regularly reiterated their desire to respond as a region.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the criteria he will use to determine when an area can be moved to a lower tier of covid-19 restrictions.

Decisions on tiers are made by Ministers based on public health recommendations from senior clinical and scientific advisors, guided by five key indicators - the case detection rate in all age groups, case detection rates among the over 60 year olds, the rate at which case rates are rising or falling, positivity rate and pressures on the National Health Service.  Final decisions on tiering are made by the COVID-19 Operations Committee.

As of 6 January, all areas have been moved into tier 4 and the Government will review the tiering allocations every 14 days.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish his plans for delivering covid-19 vaccinations to people living in the London Borough of Barnet.

The National Health Service is ready to deliver a COVID-19 vaccination programme as soon as it is authorised for use by the medicines’ regulator, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. The health and social care system is working together to ensure that the vaccines are delivered safely and efficiently to the public and detailed planning is underway building on the NHS’s expertise delivering immunisation programmes including the flu vaccination programme.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure that teachers are prioritised for covid-19 testing.

We are committed to supporting schools to stay open and as part of this, tests continue to be delivered to schools to allow teachers and pupils with symptoms to be prioritised for tests. The Government have developed a dedicated route to enable schools to order additional tests kits online via a replenishment portal which is available at the following link:

https://request-testing.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will include teachers in the list of groups that will be given priority to receive covid-19 vaccinations.

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 will consider each vaccine and provide their advice to the Government once detailed information on the characteristics and clinical properties of the approved vaccine becomes available.

The committee – in their interim advice - have advised that for Phase 1, the vaccine first be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people over 80 and health and social workers, then to the rest of the population in order of age and clinical risk factors in the initial phase. We will consider the Committee’s advice carefully as further data emerges in preparation for subsequent phases. Our vaccination programmes are led by the latest scientific evidence and we expect the Committee’s advice to develop as more evidence is gathered.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether shoe repair businesses can operate during the November 2020 covid-19 lockdown in England.

Evidence is clear that action is needed on a national scale to suppress the spread of the virus. We have introduced restrictions across England to reduce face to face contact and limit the rate of infection.

This includes the closure of many businesses and venues, except for essential retail. A business which has as its main activity shoe-repair services is permitted to operate. This does not include shops that would otherwise be considered non-essential retail, for example a shoe-shop, that offers some repairs.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure that Care Quality Commission staff carrying out care home inspections are regularly tested for covid-19 to help prevent the transmission of that virus by those staff.

We recognise the need to ensure professionals are able to visit care homes safely. We will begin weekly PCR testing of Care Quality Commission inspectors shortly.

Any symptomatic member of staff is eligible for testing through the self-referral portal.

We will continue to review our social care testing strategy for adult social care in light of the latest evidence and available capacity.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the scientific basis for the rule that pubs and restaurants must close at 10.00pm.

The Government’s process for understanding and analysing the data involves experts across the country feeding through scientific advisory groups and sub groups to make sure decisions are informed and supported by a strong evidence base.

The evidence considered by the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and used to support the Government response to COVID-19 is shared on GOV.UK at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/scientific-evidence-supporting-the-government-response-to-coronavirus-covid-19

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to enable an increase in the number of face-to-face GP appointments during the covid-19 outbreak.

NHS England and NHS Improvement on 31 August issued guidance stating that general practitioner (GP) practices must offer face-to-face appointments at surgeries and continue to use remote triage, video, online and telephone consultations where appropriate – whilst also considering those unable to access or engage with digital services. The importance of providing face-to-face appointment for those who need them was reiterated in a further NHS England and NHS Improvement letter of 14 September, in which it also shared a communications toolkit designed to support clear communication with patients about how they can access the right type of appointment.

The Government has published clear guidance on appropriate personal protective equipment for health and social care workers, including GPs. The guidance is consistent with World Health Organization guidance for protecting health and social care workers from COVID-19 and should allow the safe recommencement of regular face-to-face GP appointments.

Practices continue to undertake routine and preventative work including vaccinations and immunisations and screening, as well as supporting their more high-risk patients with ongoing care needs.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
5th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to enable people with older smartphones to download the NHS covid-19 app.

The National Health Service COVID-19 app requires users to be owners of smartphones that can install Apple iOS 13.5 and above and Android Marshmallow and above. This is related to the hardware needed for this Bluetooth technology to work effectively and is the same in all countries with apps using the Google and Apple exposure notification API for contact tracing.

People who do not have a compatible smartphone will still benefit from other people downloading the app. This is because people who use the app will help to break chains of transmission.

The app complements regular contact tracing. They work together to protect vulnerable groups, including those who are unable, or do not wish, to use digital tools.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what items of personal protective equipment people conducting covid-19 testing are required to wear to be covid-secure; and what steps the Government is taking to help ensure adequate supplies of that equipment are available for covid-19 testing.

The Government has worked with private sector partners to establish local test sites in metropolitan areas across the country. These local test sites are being used to test eligible individuals for COVID-19 without access to a car as part of the Government’s national testing programme. They are set up in different types of locations, such as car parks, town halls and sports courts, where there is space and local demand for testing.

We have detailed clinical operating procedures, developed in collaboration with clinical experts, for local walk-through testing sites. Layouts at walk-through testing sites have been carefully designed to ensure people can move around them safely and prevent spread of the virus; social distancing will be maintained throughout the testing process; and people attending the sites are asked to wear a face covering.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that the NHS has the capacity to catch up on the backlog of cancer (a) tests and (b) treatments which have accrued as a result of being postponed due to the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Health Service is working to restore the full operation of all cancer services, with local delivery plans being delivered by Cancer Alliances.

We are working with general practitioners and the public to restore the number of people coming forward and being referred with suspected cancer to at least pre-pandemic levels.

Sufficient diagnostic capacity in COVID-19 secure environments will be supplied through the use of independent sector facilities, the development of Community Diagnostic Hubs and Rapid Diagnostic Centres. Additionally, all cancer screening programmes will be fully restarted.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to enable the NHS to recruit additional specialist staff to improve early diagnosis of cancer.

The NHS People Plan – 2020/21, sets out actions to support transformation across the whole NHS, including the following commitment on the cancer workforce.

In 2021, Health Education England is prioritising the training of 400 clinical endoscopists and 450 reporting radiographers. Training grants are being offered for 350 nurses to become cancer nurse specialists and chemotherapy nurses, training 58 biomedical scientists, developing an advanced clinical practice qualification in oncology, and extending cancer support-worker training.

Many of these staff will be trained to improve early diagnosis of cancer.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether health professionals (a) are required to be and (b) have been present onsite at covid-19 testing centres at all times.

Healthcare professionals are not required to be present at COVID-19 testing centres.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 tests have been carried out in the borough of Barnet in the last six weeks.

We publish data on the number of pillar 2 tests processed in each local authority weekly alongside the Test and Trace statistics publication on GOV.UK at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/nhs-test-and-trace-statistics-engaland-weekly-reports

The total number of pillar 2 tests processed in Barnet in the six weeks prior to 16 September is was 25,502, with a daily average of 607.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, as part of preparations in the NHS for winter 2020-21, what steps he has taken in response to the conclusion of Public Health England that BAME communities are at greater risk of harm from covid-19.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities (Kemi Badenoch MP) leads the cross-Government activity responding to the conclusion of Public Health England that black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities are at greater risk of harm from COVID-19. The Department continues to support the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities on this work. We are also working with other Government departments, local authority public health systems and experts such as the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies producing reactive and proactive guidance and measures to protect BAME and other vulnerable communities from COVID-19.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what progress he has made in investigating the matters raised in the letter dated 11 August 2020 from the Rt hon Member for Chipping Barnet regarding decisions made by the Windsor Ascot & Maidenhead Clinical Commissioning Group, now part of NHS East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Group, on the continuing care of the late Valerie-Anne Culliford.

The Department replied to the hon. Member’s letter on 15 September 2020.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to enable residents in supported living facilities for disabled people to be tested for covid-19.

We are rolling out testing of all staff and residents in extra care and supported living settings which meet certain risk-based criteria. These settings must be a closed community with substantial facilities shared between multiple people and, where most residents receive personal care (rather than help with cooking, cleaning and shopping).

If a supported living or extra care setting has a suspected outbreak, they should contact their local health protection team immediately who will undertake an initial risk assessment, provide advice on outbreak management and decide what testing is needed.

Our testing policy is based on clinical advice on relative priorities and available testing capacity and our testing policies continue to be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to enable care workers providing services in supported living facilities for disabled people to get themselves regularly tested for covid-19.

We have begun to roll out an initial round of testing in extra care and supported living settings which meet certain risk-based criteria. These settings must be a closed community with substantial facilities shared between multiple people and most residents receive personal care (rather than help with cooking, cleaning and shopping).

We have been piloting testing initially with Bromley, Hertfordshire and Sheffield, and we are now looking to roll out testing nationally in these settings.

As with care homes, we will use the data from the initial testing rounds to inform our retesting approach and take forward any lessons learnt from the pilots.

Our testing policy is based on clinical advice on relative priorities and available testing capacity and our testing policies continue to be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to facilitate visits to supported living facilities for disabled people in a covid-19-secure way.

We appreciate the challenges which people in supported living and their families have faced as a result of lockdown.

Supported living managers should work with the people they support to follow Government guidelines for visiting in supported living arrangements and social distancing which are available at the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/supported-living-services-during-coronavirus-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-supported-living

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing

Providers should advise individuals about the safest way to have visitors.

As policy develops, we will continue to update the relevant guidance. Providers should continue to refer to existing guidance as the easement of lockdown continues.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to end the contract agreed with private sector health providers in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

National Health Service patients are benefitting from an unprecedented partnership with private hospitals in the United Kingdom as we battle the COVID-19 outbreak. The Government has provided additional funding to the NHS to allow them to continue to use additional hospital capacity from the independent sector until the end of March 2021.


Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether there is an exception to the 2 metre social distancing rule to allow people with visual impairments to seek help from passers-by in crossing the road.

The Government is committed to supporting blind and partially sighted people through every stage of the COVID-19 pandemic and are working across Government to ensure that all disabled people are able to get the support they need.

The Government has published advice regarding social distancing for blind and/or partially sighted individuals who need to go out for a walk or to access essential goods. The regulations allow for a person from another household to guide them (under the ‘provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person’ provision). This guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-providing-unpaid-care/guidance-for-those-who-provide-unpaid-care-to-friends-or-family

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the exceptions to social distancing rules are for people with visual impairments who depend on assistance from others.

The Government is committed to supporting blind and partially sighted people through every stage of the COVID-19 pandemic and are working across Government to ensure that all disabled people are able to get the support they need.

If a blind and/or partially sighted person needs to go out for a walk or to access essential goods they can contact friends or family who may be able to help the person to be guided safely. If a person cannot organise alternative care they can contact their local authority or health care provider. The Government has published advice regarding social distancing for blind and/or partially sighted individuals who need to go out for a walk or to access essential goods. The regulations allow for a person from another household to guide them (under the ‘provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person’ provision). This guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-providing-unpaid-care/guidance-for-those-who-provide-unpaid-care-to-friends-or-family

On 23 June, the Prime Minister announced changes to the Regulations which come into effect on 4 July. Included in these changes is that two households of any size can now meet inside and outdoors. This change in the Regulations enables more opportunity for assistance through contact with family members for those with visual impairments.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of deploying temperature checks more extensively to reduce the risk of covid-19 being spread in workplaces which are re-opening as lockdown restrictions are eased.

Thermal screening at ports of entry was considered by expert committees including the Department’s, New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group. The findings were that thermal screening would be of limited benefit and that it was not the best use of public health resource. From that work, we would conclude that temperature checks are unlikely to be an effective means of protecting workplaces as many cases are asymptomatic and of the symptomatic cases not all will experience fever as a symptom, and therefore would not be identified through temperature checks.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to provide personal protective equipment to people caring for elderly relatives at home.

The Government recognises the crucial role family carers play, especially during this difficult period.

On 8 April the Government published guidance for unpaid carers which provides general advice, including advice on infection control, links to other information and support, and advice on caring where someone has symptoms. This can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-providing-unpaid-care

The Government will continue to work closely with carer organisations and others to support family carers during this period and beyond. This includes working with Carers UK to provide carers with practical advice which can be found at the following link:

https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/health/looking-after-your-health/coronavirus-covid-19

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether people caring for elderly relatives at home are entitled to be tested for covid-19; and whether they have priority for that testing.

All symptomatic social care staff, including volunteer carers and unpaid carers, can access testing through the essential worker portal at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/apply-coronavirus-test-essential-workers

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if the Government will make an assessment of the potential merits of replacing the two metre social distancing rule with a one metre rule during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government maintains that, wherever possible, two metre social distancing should continue to be adhered to. The Government collaborates closely with Public Health England to ensure guidance on two metre social distancing is kept up to date as the regulations change in light of latest medical and scientific evidence.

In easing the lockdown, the Government accepts that maintaining two metre social distancing may be difficult in certain circumstances and will be issuing updated workplace guidance to address that and, subject to legislation, is mandating the use of face coverings on public transport from 15 June.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to help ensure community pharmacies can obtain personal protective equipment during the covid-19 pandemic.

Deliveries of personal protective equipment (PPE) packs were made to community pharmacies in March. Further supplies of PPE have been distributed to wholesalers and distributor networks supplying community pharmacies.

Where there remains an urgent need for additional PPE stock, which community pharmacies are unable to obtain through their business as usual wholesaler routes, they should contact their Local Resilience Forums who can provide supplies to respond to local spikes in need. For those who are critically short of PPE, they should phone the National Supply Distribution Response for an urgent delivery. We will continue to work to ensure community pharmacies have access to PPE.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether covid-19 lockdown guidance permits families who are shielding as a result of a serious underlying health condition to leave their homes for a brief period of exercise once a day.

We have updated our guidance for people who are shielding taking into account that COVID-19 disease levels have decreased over the last few weeks. On 1 June 2020 the shielding guidance was updated to advise that those shielding may wish to consider spending time outdoors once a day. This can be with members of their own household (which could be their family) or, for those shielding alone, with one person from another household.

For those who do choose to go outside, particular care should be taken to minimise contact with others outside their household and they should follow social distancing guidelines. Updated guidance can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19#clinically-extremely-vulnerable-groups

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support pharmacies during the covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has reprioritised services within the community pharmacy contractual arrangements to release capacity to deliver support to patients and, since March, made available £350 million in extra advance payments to alleviate cash flow pressures. Additional funding has been provided to cover the costs of Bank Holiday opening, a new medicine delivery service for shielded patients, and to contribute to measures taken by community pharmacy to support social distancing. From June, reimbursement prices of the most commonly prescribed generic medicines were increased by £15 million per month. More generally, an unprecedented financial package is supporting all businesses, including community pharmacies, such as tax deferrals and cash grants of up to £25,000 for small businesses.

We continue to work with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee to assess what further support community pharmacy may require to continue to supply medicines and to help their communities stay well.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will establish a helpline for careworkers to raise concerns on (a) the operation of the care home they work for and (b) its treatment of (i) staff and (ii) patients.

Speak Up Direct is a helpline and website operated by Social Enterprise Direct and funded by the Department with the current contract in place since 2017. It provides workers in social care and the National Health Service with guidance on how to register their concerns, including where to speak up about the operations of care homes and the treatment of staff and patients.

Speaking up is vital for ensuring patient safety and improving the quality of services and we will continue to encourage and support the right of workers to raise concerns.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will give priority to care homes in covid-19 testing.

Social care settings and the National Health Service are priority areas for testing under the Government's Testing Programme.

Following the launch of the Care Home Portal on 11 May, Whole Care Home testing through the National Testing Programme was initially made available to care homes that primarily look after older people or people with dementia. We met our target to reach those homes by 6 June, delivering over 1 million testing kits to almost 9,000 of these care homes.

From 7 June, we expanded eligibility for the service to all remaining adult care homes, which can now access whole care home testing for all residents and staff through the digital portal. We are issuing over 50,000 tests a day to care homes across the country, with the majority of these in high priority outbreak areas.

Any symptomatic or asymptomatic care home staff or residents can get a test and care homes with suspected positive cases will be able to access Whole Care Home testing via their local Health Protection Team. Care home staff are able to access testing through multiple channels, such as regional test sites, home testing, mobile testing units, as well as through the care home portal online.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many care home (a) workers and (b) residents have been tested for covid-19 over the last two weeks.

The Department does not routinely publish information on the number of care home staff and residents who have been tested for COVID-19 at present, but we are exploring the feasibility of including this information as part of the NHS Test and Trace Statistics publications in the near future.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure that the (a) Rosetrees and (b) Lady Sarah Cohen House care homes in Friern Barnet receive the covid-19 tests they have requested for their staff and residents.

We can confirm that, based on the most recent data held, both of these homes have received the test kits they have ordered.

Rosetrees requested 350 test kits on 10th September, these were dispatched three days later and delivered on the 15th September.

Lady Sarah Cohen House requested 200 test kits on 18th August, this order was dispatched on the 25th August and delivered to the home on the 27th August.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will ensure that care home workers and NHS staff are regularly tested for covid-19 even when those people are not displaying symptoms.

We have made testing available to all symptomatic National Health Service staff and social care staff as a priority. We are also testing those in these groups who are asymptomatic in specific circumstances where appropriate.

For NHS workers specifically, NHS England has recently published guidance on when testing of this nature might be appropriate, including where an incident has taken place, an outbreak or where high prevalence has been established. We are now introducing twice weekly testing.

For care home workers, all adult care homes are able to access testing kits, for weekly testing of staff through the care home testing portal. We have the capacity to send out over 120,000 test kits a day to care homes.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether it is the Government's policy that hospital patients will not be discharged to care homes unless those patients have tested negative for covid-19.

We announced in our Adult Social Care Action Plan, on 15 April 2020, that testing will be provided to all care home residents before they are discharged from hospital into a care home.

For some individuals who have suffered from COVID-19, we expect that a period of specialist National Health Service support will be needed. Given the total length of stay for these individuals, most will be able to transfer directly to the appropriate social care setting with ‘COVID-free’ status. However, a small number of people may be discharged from the NHS within the 14-day period from the onset of COVID-19 symptoms needing ongoing social care. Some care providers will be able to accommodate these individuals through effective isolation strategies or cohorting policies. If appropriate isolation/cohorted care is not available with a local care provider, the individual’s local authority will be asked to secure alternative appropriate accommodation and care for the remainder of the required isolation period.

All residents, whether COVID-19-positive or not, can be safely cared for in a care home if appropriate infection control, isolation and cohorting advice is followed, as set out in the ‘Admission and Care of Residents during COVID-19 Incident in a Care Home’ guidance published on 2 April 2020.

This is an unprecedented global pandemic and we will continue to review our guidance in line with scientific advice.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what criteria the Government plans to use to determine when covid-19 lockdown measures can be lifted.

The Government has set out five conditions which needs to be met before it is safe to adjust any measures.

The first is to protect the National Health Service’s ability to cope; second, we need to see a fall in the death rate; third, we need reliable data from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies showing that the rate of infection has decreased across all settings; fourth, we need to be confident that the range of operational challenges are in hand; and fifth we must be confident that any adjustments to current measures will not lead to a significant second peak of infections.

When we are confident on these five points, guided by science and data, we will look to adjust measures to protect public health whilst allowing some economic and social activity. We will only do this when evidence says that it is safe to do so.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of NHS staff working in the borough of Barnet have been tested for covid-19 in each of the last six weeks.

The information is not available in the format requested.

Testing is a vital part of the United Kingdom’s response to COVID-19. The Government is working with industry, academia, the National Health Service and many others, to dramatically increase the number of tests being carried out each day, including for critical key workers. This includes providing tests for NHS, social care and then wider critical key workers (and their families) who are in self or household isolation, to support them to return to work as soon as possible, if they are well enough to do so.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many deliveries of personal protective equipment were made to (a) NHS and (b) social care providers in the borough of Barnet in each of the last six weeks.

The Government published ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): personal protective equipment (PPE) plan’ on 10 April. It incorporates guidance on who needs PPE and when they need it, routes to ensure those who need it can get it at the right time and sets out actions to secure enough PPE to last through the crisis.

We are working around the clock to give the social care sector and wider National Health Service the equipment and support they need to tackle this outbreak. Between 25 February and 20 April we delivered over 900 million items of PPE across the health and social care system within England.

However, information is not collected centrally on the number of items of PPE delivered to each borough. ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): personal protective equipment (PPE) plan’ can be found at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-personal-protective-equipment-ppe-plan

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to his counterpart in Bahrain on prison conditions and respect for human rights in that country.

Defending human rights and promoting democracy around the world is a core priority for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and its diplomatic network. The UK government monitors events and cases in Bahrain closely. We regularly raise human rights issues and individual cases with the Government of Bahrain, at senior levels, both in private and public. The Government of Bahrain has been clear in public statements that access to medical care for those in detention is guaranteed by the Constitution of Bahrain. Any concerns regarding prison conditions should be submitted to the Independent Ombudsman and the National Institute of Human Rights for further investigation. We continue to encourage the government of Bahrain to deliver on its international and domestic human rights commitments.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what objectives he has for the UK's participation in the informal talks sponsored by the UN Secretary General on Cyprus in Geneva from 27 to 29 April 2021.

A Cyprus Settlement is in the best interests of the Cypriot communities, the wider region and the UK. The Foreign Secretary will represent the UK as a Guarantor Power at the UN-led informal five-party talks from 27-29 April. The aim of the meeting - as set out by the UN Secretary General - is to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable timeframe. The UK will continue to actively support the UNSG in his effort to this end.

The Foreign Secretary spoke to the Cypriot FM on 22 March and the Turkish Foreign Minister on 23 March. The Foreign Secretary visited the island on 4 February and met President Anastasiades, Turkish Cypriot leader Tatar and the UN. The Foreign Secretary also met the Greek Foreign Minister on 2 February. The UK is urging all sides to approach the UN talks in a spirit of flexibility and compromise. During my visit to Cyprus (7-9 April), I reiterated this message and the UK's support for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with his counterpart in Government of the Republic of Cyprus on the informal talks sponsored by the UN Secretary General on Cyprus in Geneva from 27 to 29 April 2021.

A Cyprus Settlement is in the best interests of the Cypriot communities, the wider region and the UK. The Foreign Secretary will represent the UK as a Guarantor Power at the UN-led informal five-party talks from 27-29 April. The aim of the meeting - as set out by the UN Secretary General - is to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable timeframe. The UK will continue to actively support the UNSG in his effort to this end.

The Foreign Secretary spoke to the Cypriot FM on 22 March and the Turkish Foreign Minister on 23 March. The Foreign Secretary visited the island on 4 February and met President Anastasiades, Turkish Cypriot leader Tatar and the UN. The Foreign Secretary also met the Greek Foreign Minister on 2 February. The UK is urging all sides to approach the UN talks in a spirit of flexibility and compromise. During my visit to Cyprus (7-9 April), I reiterated this message and the UK's support for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to attend the informal talks sponsored by the UN Secretary General on Cyprus in Geneva from 27 to 29 April 2021.

A Cyprus Settlement is in the best interests of the Cypriot communities, the wider region and the UK. The Foreign Secretary will represent the UK as a Guarantor Power at the UN-led informal five-party talks from 27-29 April. The aim of the meeting - as set out by the UN Secretary General - is to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable timeframe. The UK will continue to actively support the UNSG in his effort to this end.

The Foreign Secretary spoke to the Cypriot FM on 22 March and the Turkish Foreign Minister on 23 March. The Foreign Secretary visited the island on 4 February and met President Anastasiades, Turkish Cypriot leader Tatar and the UN. The Foreign Secretary also met the Greek Foreign Minister on 2 February. The UK is urging all sides to approach the UN talks in a spirit of flexibility and compromise. During my visit to Cyprus (7-9 April), I reiterated this message and the UK's support for a comprehensive, just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus issue.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the Government continues to accept the legal validity of the San Remo declaration of April 1920 on provision of a home for the Jewish people in Palestine.

San Remo marked a chapter in the history of Britain's Mandate over Palestine. The Foreign Secretary recorded a message for the San Remo Centenary Resolution celebration in April 2020, which reiterated that the occasion provided an opportunity to reflect on decades of cooperation between Britain and the Jewish people.

The United Kingdom considers that United Nations resolutions, including UNGA 181, UNSCRs 242 and 338, and UNSCR 2334 provide the relevant legal framework today.

We are proud of our bilateral relations with Israel, which continue to go from strength to strength in the twenty-first century. We also recognise - as the Prime Minister has said - that the Balfour Declaration, incorporated into the San Remo Declaration, contains unfinished business. The UK continues to believe that the two-state solution remains the only viable way to resolve the conflict and realise the rights of the Palestinian people.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the recent conviction in Belgium of Iranian diplomat, Assodollah Assadi, of terrorism offences, if he will (a) condemn the bomb plot against the Iranian opposition gathering in Paris in 2018 and (b) re-evaluate his Department's policy on Iran.

The UK Government strongly condemns the targeting of civilians and welcomes the fact that those responsible for the plot against a conference in Paris in 2018 have been held to account. We continue to work closely with our European partners on security and counter-terrorism issues.

The UK-Iran bilateral relationship is an important part of our policy and a key enabling tool in achieving our wider goals. Maintaining diplomatic ties allows the UK to discuss a range of issues with Iran, including our mutual interest in upholding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, our consular cases, human rights and Iran's role in the region.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to his Egyptian counterpart on the arrest of Karim Ennarah, Abdel Razek and Mohammed Basheer from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.

We welcome the release of Gasser Abdel Razek, Karim Ennarah and Mohamed Basheer. The UK was clear from the outset that we had serious concerns about their arrest and detention, concerns shared by likeminded international partners. The Foreign Secretary raised the issue with his Egyptian counterpart on 19 November, the first Foreign Minister to do so. We continue to take a close interest in this case. We continue to have regular discussions with the Government of Egypt on human rights issues, raising concerns where we have them.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will support the Government of Ukraine to raise international awareness of the deaths that occurred during the Holodomor of 1932-33.

The Holodomor was a horrific, man-made disaster of unimaginable scale. We recognise the human tragedy that occurred and its importance in the history of Ukraine and Europe. The UK remembers this tragic event each year. In the absence of a large-scale commemoration this year due to COVID-19, the British Ambassador to Ukraine paid her respects and laid flowers at the Holodomor memorial in Kyiv.

On 28 November 2020, I tweeted a message in remembrance of the victims of Holodomor, and paid tribute to those keeping their memories alive. We will continue to raise international awareness of the appalling famine brought about by Soviet policies 87 years ago.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for his policies of the Sunday Times report of 15 November 2020 on the Belgium’s security authorities' allegations that the Iranian Government were involved in a bomb plot to attack a conference of Iranian dissidents in 2018.

We are aware of the trial of four Iranians in Belgium in relation to the 2018 plot against a conference in Paris. We are deeply concerned about the plot, and particularly that an Iranian diplomat may be involved with the incident. While the legal process is ongoing, however, it would be inappropriate to comment further and we have not made specific representations to the Iranian Government. The UK strongly condemns the targeting of civilians and welcomes steps taken to hold those responsible to account. We continue to work closely with our European partners on security and counter-terrorism issues. We are not aware at this stage of a link to the UK.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to his Turkish counterpart condemning the recent visit of President Erdogan to Varosha.

The UK continues to follow the situation in Varosha with concern. Prior to the visit of President Erdogan to the island, we made representations to Turkey through our Embassy in Ankara. The Foreign Secretary raised the issue of Varosha during his call with Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Ersin Tatar on 12 November and will discuss with the Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusolgu on 19 November.

The UK continues to strongly support the numerous Security Council Resolutions covering the issue of Varosha, notably 550 (1984) and 789 (1992). The issue underlines the importance of reaching a comprehensive Cyprus Settlement as a matter of urgency.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to his Nigerian counterpart on recent human rights abuses in Nigeria.

The UK Government's position on human rights is firm: they are universal and must apply equally to all people. We condemn all human rights abuses in Nigeria and encourage all parties to work together to enable the people of Nigeria to exercise their rights safely, peacefully and in line with the rule of law.

The UK Government works closely with the Nigerian Government and international and civil society partners on improving the human rights compliance and accountability of the Nigerian authorities. We are deeply concerned by violence during protests in Lagos and other major cities in Nigeria, which has tragically claimed lives. Our thoughts are with the families of all those affected. The Foreign Secretary issued a statement on 21 October calling for the Nigerian Government to urgently investigate reports of brutality by its security forces and hold those responsible to account. I repeated this message to the Nigerian Foreign Minister on 23 October. We also remain committed to helping Nigeria tackle the ongoing terrorist threat from groups, including Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa, who commit human rights abuses in North East Nigeria. The Prime Minister raised security concerns in North East Nigeria and UK support during his meeting with President Buhari at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in January 2020. We will continue to make clear to the Nigerian authorities at the highest levels the importance of protecting human rights for all.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish any assessment he has made of the effectiveness of human rights training programmes which his Department has supported in Nigeria in the last two years.

The UK Government is firmly committed to promoting and protecting human rights around the world. We have supported efforts to bring about the long-term changes needed to improve human rights compliance in Nigeria, including through providing human rights training to the Nigerian Police Force and Nigerian Armed Forces. For example, under the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, the Nigeria Policing Programme provided human rights training to the Nigerian Police Force. Evaluations show this led to improved relationships and trust with communities and the police continue to work on community safety and security. We will continue to make clear to the Nigerian authorities at the highest levels the importance of protecting human rights for all Nigerians.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to his Turkish counterpart on the decision to re-open beachfront areas in Famagusta in violation of UN resolutions.

The UK continues to be concerned by the announcement on 6 October to open the beach within the fenced-off area of Varosha and the subsequent opening of this beach on 8 October. We have made representations to Turkey through our Embassy in Ankara both prior to and following the announcement. These have been reinforced by conversations held with the Turkish Representative at the United Nations in New York and with the Turkish Ambassador in London.

In response to the announcement, the UK called for the UN Security Council to hold closed consultations on the matter on 9 October. The UK continues to strongly support the numerous Security Council Resolutions covering the issue of Varosha, notably 550 (1984) and 789 (1992). In this regard, we support the UN Presidential Statement reaffirming its support for the relevant Security Council Resolutions and expressing deep concern regarding the announcement. The issue of Varosha underlines the importance of reaching a comprehensive Cyprus Settlement as a matter of urgency. On 19 October the Foreign Secretary spoke to Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusolgu and stressed the importance of resuming the UN Cyprus Settlement process.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations in the UN Security Council on the decision to re-open beachfront areas in Famagusta in violation of UN resolutions.

The UK continues to be concerned by the announcement on 6 October to open the beach within the fenced-off area of Varosha and the subsequent opening of this beach on 8 October. We have made representations to Turkey through our Embassy in Ankara both prior to and following the announcement. These have been reinforced by conversations held with the Turkish Representative at the United Nations in New York and with the Turkish Ambassador in London.

In response to the announcement, the UK called for the UN Security Council to hold closed consultations on the matter on 9 October. The UK continues to strongly support the numerous Security Council Resolutions covering the issue of Varosha, notably 550 (1984) and 789 (1992). In this regard, we support the UN Presidential Statement reaffirming its support for the relevant Security Council Resolutions and expressing deep concern regarding the announcement. The issue of Varosha underlines the importance of reaching a comprehensive Cyprus Settlement as a matter of urgency. On 19 October the Foreign Secretary spoke to Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusolgu and stressed the importance of resuming the UN Cyprus Settlement process.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he is making to his Turkish counterpart on compliance with UN resolutions on Famagusta.

The UK continues to be concerned by the announcement on 6 October to open the beach within the fenced-off area of Varosha and the subsequent opening of this beach on 8 October. We have made representations to Turkey through our Embassy in Ankara both prior to and following the announcement. These have been reinforced by conversations held with the Turkish Representative at the United Nations in New York and with the Turkish Ambassador in London.

In response to the announcement, the UK called for the UN Security Council to hold closed consultations on the matter on 9 October. The UK continues to strongly support the numerous Security Council Resolutions covering the issue of Varosha, notably 550 (1984) and 789 (1992). In this regard, we support the UN Presidential Statement reaffirming its support for the relevant Security Council Resolutions and expressing deep concern regarding the announcement. The issue of Varosha underlines the importance of reaching a comprehensive Cyprus Settlement as a matter of urgency. On 19 October the Foreign Secretary spoke to Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusolgu and stressed the importance of resuming the UN Cyprus Settlement process.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment for his policies of the findings of the report by the all party parliamentary group for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community on Mon 20 July 2020, entitled The Persecution of Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan and the Rise of International Extremism.

We are considering the recommendations of the APPG for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in their report on Ahmadi Muslims of 20 July. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for South Asia, spoke at the launch event for the APPG's report on 21 July. The UK Government remains deeply concerned by reports of discrimination and violence against religious communities in Pakistan, including against the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. We continue to urge the Government of Pakistan at senior levels to guarantee the fundamental rights of all its citizens, regardless of their belief. Most recently, Lord Ahmad raised our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief, with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 27 August. We will continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to guarantee the fundamental rights of all its citizens, as laid down in the constitution of Pakistan and in accordance with international standards.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to prevent an outbreak of covid-19 in the Rohingya Refugee Camps in Bangladesh.

The UK has committed £11 million to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 crisis in Cox's Bazar and prevent further outbreaks.

UK aid has created treatment facilities, including more than 600 beds for refugees and host communities suffering from severe respiratory infections. UK aid is also adding more than 2,400 handwashing facilities in the camps and raising public health awareness. This includes reaching Rohingya refugees with information and support to reduce rumours, myths, fear and panic about COVID-19, through the Communications with Communities Working Group. In addition, we have supported surge deployments from the UK Emergency Medical Team.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to the Pakistani Government on the series of attacks made against Ahmadi Muslims in Pakistan during August 2020.

We are aware of the concerning reports of violence against members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Pakistan including in August. The UK Government remains deeply concerned by reports of discrimination and violence against religious communities in Pakistan, including against the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. We continue to urge the Government of Pakistan at senior levels to guarantee the fundamental rights of all its citizens, regardless of their belief. Most recently, Lord Ahmad raised our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief, with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari, on 27 August.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to the Pakistani Government about the welfare of Maria Shahbaz, the 14-year-old Christian girl who was kidnapped and forcibly married and converted to Islam in Faisalabad in April 2020.

We are closely monitoring Maira Shahbaz's case following her reported abduction in April. The UK Government strongly condemns the forced marriage and forced conversion of women and girls. We regularly raise our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief, women and girl's rights and gender equality with the Government of Pakistan at a senior level. Most recently, on 27 August, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon raised our human rights concerns including Freedom of Religion of Belief with Pakistan's Minister for Human Rights, Dr Shireen Mazari. In addition, on 8 September, Lord Ahmad discussed Freedom of Religion Belief with the Governor of Punjab.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 14 July 2020 to Question 69487, if he will make it his policy to refer to the 1949 Armistice Line as the pre-1967 lines and not the 1967 borders.

The UK's longstanding position on the Middle East Peace Process is clear: we support a negotiated settlement leading to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state. We are clear that the borders should be based on the lines as they stood on June 4 1967 - the eve of the Six Day War - with equal land swaps reflecting the national, security, and religious interests of the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. The UK supports UN Security Council Resolution 2334 which paved the way for agreed changes to the 1967 lines as part of a final status deal and as agreed by the parties.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make further representations to his Chinese counterpart on the abuse of the human rights of Uyghur Muslims in that country.

As I set out during an Urgent Question in the House of Commons on 29 June, we are seriously concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang. On 30 June, the UK read out a formal statement on behalf of 28 countries at the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council highlighting arbitrary detention, widespread surveillance and restrictions, particularly those targeting Uyghurs and other minorities, and urged China to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights meaningful access to the region. On 9 March, the Foreign Secretary raised our concerns with his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi. We will continue to raise this issue with the Chinese authorities, both bilaterally with China and at the UN alongside our international partners.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assistance the Government is able to give to Uyghur Muslims detained in camps in China.

As I set out during an Urgent Question in the House of Commons on 29 June, we are seriously concerned about the human rights situation in Xinjiang. On 30 June, the UK read out a formal statement on behalf of 28 countries at the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council highlighting arbitrary detention, widespread surveillance and restrictions, particularly those targeting Uyghurs and other minorities, and urged China to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights meaningful access to the region. On 9 March, the Foreign Secretary raised our concerns with his Chinese counterpart, Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi. We will continue to raise this issue with the Chinese authorities, both bilaterally with China and at the UN alongside our international partners.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Sri Lankan counterpart on the imposition of Magnitsky sanctions for people involved in war crimes and human rights abuses during the Sri Lankan civil war.

On 6 July the UK Government established the Global Human Rights ('Magnitsky') sanctions regime by laying regulations in Parliament under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. This sanctions regime will give the UK a powerful new tool to hold to account those involved in serious human rights violations or abuses by stopping them from entering our country, channelling money through UK banks, or profiting from our economy. It is not appropriate to speculate on who may be designated under the sanctions regime in the future. We do not want to reduce the impact of the designations. We will keep all evidence and potential listings under close review.

The UK is a member of the Core Group on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and has long supported Sri Lanka's commitments under UNHRC Resolutions 30/1, 34/1 and 40/1 on accountability, reconciliation and justice for all communities following the Sri Lankan civil war. The Foreign Secretary and the Minister for South Asia, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, have both underlined the importance of these commitments in recent engagement with the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Dinesh Gunawardena.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his Turkish counterpart to express the Government's opposition to turning Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

We have noted President Erdogan's decision to turn Hagia Sophia into a mosque. While we note the concern this action has caused internationally, the Government regards this as a sovereign matter for Turkey. We have therefore not discussed the matter with other countries or organisations. However, we would expect that Hagia Sophia - part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site - remains accessible to all, as testament to Turkey's rich and diverse historical and cultural legacy, and that its precious artefacts are preserved. We therefore welcome the public statements by Turkish leaders that this historic building will continue to be accessible to people of all faiths and nationalities.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make an assessment of the historical accuracy of Government references to the 1949 Armistice Line between (a) Israel, (b) Egypt, (c) Jordan, (d) Lebanon and (e) Syria as the 1967 borders.

In 1950, on de jure recognition to the State of Israel, Her Majesty's Government noted that they could not regard the present boundaries between Israel, and Egypt, Jordan, Syria and the Lebanon as constituting the definitive frontiers of Israel, as these boundaries were laid down in the Armistice Agreements. As such they were subject to any modifications which could be agreed upon under the terms of those Agreements, or of any final settlements which may replace them. Following Israel's occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Gaza and the Golan Heights in 1967, we distinguish between the State of Israel within the pre-1967 lines and the territories occupied since 1967. It has been the position of every UK Government since 1967 that the these territories were not lawfully part of the State of Israel at its creation or at any point thereafter. We are clear that the permanent borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state should be based on the 1967 lines, with mutually-agreed land swaps to reflect the interests of the Jewish and Palestinian peoples. The final status of these borders must be determined by the parties.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his US counterpart on the importance of ensuring that people can continue to fly to the US from UK airports.

We are working with the US Administration to highlight the concerns of UK citizens who are affected by the current travel restrictions implemented by the US. However, immigration policy is ultimately a matter for the US authorities.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his Turkish counterpart on the protection of press freedom in Turkey.

We regularly raise our human rights concerns with the Turkish authorities at the highest level, including on freedom of expression. We are playing a leading role in the international media freedom campaign the former Foreign Secretary launched last year. We will continue to engage the Turkish Government on these important issues, and to urge respect for freedom and protection of the media. We are clear in our expectation that Turkey, like all countries, should live up to its human rights obligations towards all sections of society.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his Pakistani counterpart on the abuse of human rights of (a) Christian, (b) Sikh, (c) Parsi, (d) Hindu, (e) Buddhist, (f) Jain and (g) other minority communities in Pakistan.

We engage at a senior level with the Pakistani Government on the mistreatment of minority religious and ethnic groups. The Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, raised our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief and the protection of minority religious communities with Pakistan's Human Rights Minister in February. We will continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to guarantee the fundamental rights of all its citizens, as laid down in the constitution of Pakistan and in accordance with international standards. It is vital that Pakistan guarantees the rights of all its citizens, regardless of gender, ethnicity or belief.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make representations to his Thai counterpart on the treatment of elephants in shows and tourist attractions in that country.

The Government takes reports of animal cruelty throughout the world seriously and we are committed to raising standards of animal welfare at home and abroad. We regard animal welfare to be the responsibility of each country and so would expect laws to be put in place by the respective country.

It is important that the British public are aware of issues around engagement with the elephant tourism industry. To that end, advice about elephant tourism and the risks that mistreatment can bring can be found in the regularly updated Travel Advice for Thailand, which is published on GOV.UK

The British Government has been at the forefront of driving global efforts to safeguard the world's most vulnerable species and we remain committed to protecting global wildlife for generations to come.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that Official Development Assistance is not used directly or indirectly to pay for pensions for terrorist offenders in the Middle East.

All Government programme spend in the Middle East, in accordance with standard HMG programme management procedures, is subject to due diligence, risk management and continuous review throughout design, procurement and implementation to ensure funds are disbursed and used appropriately. This is monitored via a range of programme management tools and scrutinised through HMG governance structures.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
30th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking on the mis-selling of schemes now subject to the Loan Charge.

While the Government sympathises with anyone who believes they were misled into using a disguised remuneration (DR) scheme, it is an individual’s responsibility to ensure the accuracy of their tax return and to understand the consequences of their decisions.

The Government and HMRC are determined to continue to tackle promoters of tax avoidance schemes. This includes challenging those who promote disguised remuneration loan schemes.

In March 2020, HMRC published their strategy for tackling promoters of tax avoidance schemes. The strategy sets out HMRC’s work to date and outlines how HMRC will continue to take robust actions against promoters of tax avoidance.

Last month HMRC launched the ‘Tax avoidance: don’t get caught out’ communications campaign. The campaign is targeted at contractors and encourages them to stop and take time to check what they are signing up for, challenge what they have been told by those selling the scheme, and protect themselves and public services by reporting schemes to HMRC.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on small businesses of changes in the level of dividend taxes.

Dividend tax is paid by individual shareholders rather than businesses. Dividend taxes were changed in 2016 and again in 2018. In 2016 the dividend tax credit was abolished and replaced with a new £5,000 allowance, and an increase of 7.5 percentage points was also introduced in each tax band. Over 75 per cent of dividend taxpayers either gained from or were unaffected by these changes, and about one million individuals benefited from a tax reduction on their dividend income due to the new Dividend Allowance. The full impacts were set out in the Tax Information and Impact Note published here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/533150/TIIN_Dividends_Allowance_-_updated.pdf

This change was made to help address the incentive for some people to set up a company and make payments as dividends rather than as wages simply to reduce their tax bill. The changes simplified, reformed and modernised dividend taxation, helping to create a fairer tax system.

In 2018, the Dividend Allowance was reduced from £5,000 to £2,000 to ensure support for investors was targeted more fairly. About two thirds of all those with dividend income were unaffected by this measure. Only those individuals and households who were in receipt of dividend income between £2,000 and £5,000 were affected. The full impacts were set out in the Tax Information and Impact Note published here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/income-tax-dividend-allowance-reduction.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of a backdated furlough scheme for people who were denied furlough by their employer.

In light of the changing path of the virus, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until the end of March 2021 for all parts of the UK. People employed and on payroll on 30 October will be eligible, and neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously claimed or have been claimed for under CJRS to make a claim under the extended CJRS, if other eligibility criteria are met. If employees were employed as of 23 September 2020 and were made redundant or stopped working for their employer prior to 30 October 2020, they can also qualify for the scheme if their employer re-employs them. This will ensure that there is no gap in support.

The furloughing of staff through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a voluntary arrangement entered at the employers’ discretion and agreed by employees. That means it is not for the Government to decide whether an individual firm should put its staff on furlough or take its staff off furlough. That is a decision for the employer, in consultation with the employee.

Where firms make the decision that they cannot retain?all of?their staff over the longer run, the Government is ensuring that those looking for work are supported. A package of measures in the Plan for Jobs will help people find work by significantly increasing help offered through Jobcentres and providing individualised advice through the National Careers Service. The Government?has also launched?the Kickstart Scheme, a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people.

Temporary welfare measures announced in March will also benefit new and existing claimants. These include the £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element, and a nearly £1 billion increase in support for renters through increases to the Local?Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the coronavirus job retention scheme to people who would have qualified for that scheme if their employer had made an application to it.

In light of the changing path of the virus, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until the end of March 2021 for all parts of the UK. People employed and on payroll on 30 October will be eligible, and neither the employer nor the employee needs to have previously claimed or have been claimed for under CJRS to make a claim under the extended CJRS, if other eligibility criteria are met. If employees were employed as of 23 September 2020 and were made redundant or stopped working for their employer prior to 30 October 2020, they can also qualify for the scheme if their employer re-employs them. This will ensure that there is no gap in support.

The furloughing of staff through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is a voluntary arrangement entered at the employers’ discretion and agreed by employees. That means it is not for the Government to decide whether an individual firm should put its staff on furlough or take its staff off furlough. That is a decision for the employer, in consultation with the employee.

Where firms make the decision that they cannot retain?all of?their staff over the longer run, the Government is ensuring that those looking for work are supported. A package of measures in the Plan for Jobs will help people find work by significantly increasing help offered through Jobcentres and providing individualised advice through the National Careers Service. The Government?has also launched?the Kickstart Scheme, a £2 billion fund to create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people.

Temporary welfare measures announced in March will also benefit new and existing claimants. These include the £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element, and a nearly £1 billion increase in support for renters through increases to the Local?Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an estimate of the number of people who were denied furlough by their employers.

An estimate of the number of people who were denied furlough by their employer is not available. Decisions on whether to offer to furlough individuals are a matter for employers, and that process does not involve HMRC.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what precautions are in place to prevent fraudulent claims being made under the Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

The vast majority of businesses operated the Eat Out to Help Out scheme correctly.

HMRC built checks into the system to help prevent fraud and protect public money.

HMRC carried out checks on businesses at the time of registration. HMRC are also checking claims and taking appropriate action to withhold payments found to be dishonest or inaccurate.

Businesses are also required to retain records to support their Eat Out to Help Out claims and provide them to HMRC if asked. They will also need to include the income from the discounted meals and reimbursed discounts in their tax returns. HMRC may undertake further compliance action when returns have been received.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of providing specific support to wet-led pubs to help them recover from the effects of the covid-19 outbreak.

The hospitality sector, including wet-led pubs, continues to have access to a range of government support measures including, but not limited to:

  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all eligible retail, leisure and hospitality businesses in England, saving around 350,000 ratepayers a combined £10bn.
  • A VAT deferral for up to 12 months
  • Measures to make it easier to claim back duty on spoiled beer, wine and cider.
  • A business grant worth £10,000 or £25,000 for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors
  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which has supported 1.4 million jobs across the hospitality sector and which runs until October
  • Protection for commercial leaseholders against automatic forfeiture for non-payment until September 30, 2020
  • Access to affordable, government backed finance through Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBLS) for and larger firms, along with the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBL) for small and micro enterprises.

In addition to this unprecedented package of support for businesses, the Summer Economic Update announced a VAT rate reduction from 20% to 5% - worth £4.1bn – for hospitality, accommodation and attractions, and the £500m Eat Out to Help Out scheme which entitles every diner to a 50% discount of up to £10 per head on their meal, at any participating restaurant, café or pub on Monday to Wednesdays throughout August. Over 85% of pubs serve food and will benefit from both schemes. All pubs, including wet-led pubs will also benefit from the proposed regulatory easements in the Business and Planning Bill, which will make it easier, quicker and cheaper to set up furniture in adjacent outdoor spaces and to automatically convert all current licenses to allow pubs to sell off-licence.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
10th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will include in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme employees who are paid annually via PAYE at the end of the financial year.

For an employee to be eligible for the CJRS they must have been notified to HMRC on a real-time information (RTI) submission on or before 19 March. Those paid annually are eligible to claim, as long as they meet the relevant conditions including being notified to HMRC on an RTI submission on or before 19 March 2020, which relates to a payment of earnings in the 2019/2020 tax year. Anyone paid annually and notified on an RTI submission after that date will not be eligible for the scheme, which puts them in the same position as those who are paid more frequently and were not notified to HMRC on or before 19 March. The 19 March date allows as many people as possible to be included by going right up to the day before the announcement and mitigates the risk of fraud that existed as soon as the scheme became public.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to paragraph 29 of The UK's Approach to the Northern Ireland Protocol, published May 2020, what steps his Department is taking to encourage businesses to sign up to trusted trader schemes to help facilitate the movement of goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Protocol is clear that Northern Ireland is, and will remain, part of the UK’s customs territory and that there should be no tariffs on internal UK trade. The Government has also set out that although there will be some limited additional process on goods arriving in Northern Ireland, there will be no new physical customs infrastructure.

In due course, the Government will also set out more detailed plans for extensive HMRC support for businesses engaged in the limited additional processes, including providing access to existing facilitations to support the movement of goods.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reason the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has a maximum income cut-off of £50,000 while the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme does not.

The different designs of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) reflect their different objectives. The CJRS is designed to prevent employers making staff redundant, whereas the SEISS is designed to support the incomes of those self-employed individuals whose businesses are adversely affected by COVID-19.

Individuals can at present claim a taxable grant under the SEISS worth 80 per cent of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.

The extension of the SEISS announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 29 May 2020 means that eligible individuals whose businesses are adversely affected by COVID-19 will be able to claim a second and final grant when the scheme reopens for applications in August. This will be a taxable grant worth 70 per cent of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

The SEISS, including the £50,000 threshold for average trading profits, is targeted at those who most need it, and who are most reliant on their self-employment income. The self-employed are very diverse and have a wide mix of turnover and profits, with monthly and annual variations even in normal times, and in some cases with substantial alternative forms of income too: for example, those who had more than £50,000 from trading profits in 2017-18 had an average total income of more than £200,000. Some 95 per cent of those with more than half their income from self-employment in 2018-19 could be eligible for this scheme.

Those with average trading profits above £50,000 may still be eligible for other elements of the unprecedented financial support package made available by the Government. These measures include Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, increased levels of Universal Credit, mortgage holidays, and other business support grants.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will extend the duration of the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme for self-employed people who cannot go out to work because they have been advised by the NHS to shield and not to leave home for 12 weeks as a result of an underlying health condition.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced an extension to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme on 29 May.

Eligible individuals whose business is adversely affected by COVID-19 will be able to claim a second and final grant when the scheme reopens for further applications in August. Individuals will be able to claim a taxable grant worth 70 per cent of their average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits and capped at £6,570 in total.

There will be no further changes and no further extensions to the scheme, which continues to be one of the most generous in the world.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether self-employed workers deemed to fall within IR35 rules are eligible for any of the Government financial support schemes set up to assist people who have lost work and income as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has announced a package of support for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and individuals to deal with lost income and the costs of absence due to COVID-19.

Individuals working through a Personal Service Company are not eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. However, they may be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if they pay themselves through a PAYE scheme. They may also have access to support through the temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Bounce Back Loan Scheme.

Individuals who are employed by a Personal Service Company are also entitled to statutory sick on pay on the same terms as any other employee, and may be entitled to a rebate where they meet the criteria of that scheme. Those not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay will be able to receive support through the benefits system. Comprehensive information about the full range of business support measures is available at: www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support.
Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the economic value of work that (a) has already been and (b) is projected to be transferred overseas as a result of the extension of IR35 rules.

The off-payroll working rules are designed to ensure that someone working like an employee, but through a company, pays similar levels of tax to other employees. It is fair that individuals who work in a similar way should pay broadly the same amount of tax. The rules do not apply to the self-employed or stop anyone working through their own company.

The reform to the off-payroll working rules does not change the rules by which employment status is determined but moves the responsibility for making the determination from the individual to the end client.

At Budget 2018, the independent OBR did not judge the forthcoming reform to have any specific macroeconomic impacts. This was reiterated in the Tax Information and Impact Note (TIIN) published in July 2019, which sets out HMRC’s assessment that the reform to the off-payroll working rules is expected to affect 170,000 individuals. The TIIN can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rules-for-off-payroll-working-from-april-2020/rules-for-off-payroll-working-from-april-2020.

HMRC have not seen evidence of organisations changing their recruitment practices to hire contractors offshore. Organisations will continue to be free to decide how they engage their workers and it will be for those workers to decide whether they wish to accept the terms and conditions offered.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an estimate of the number of people deemed to be employees as a result of changes to the remit of IR35.

The off-payroll working rules are designed to ensure that someone working like an employee, but through a company, pays similar levels of tax to other employees. It is fair that individuals who work in a similar way should pay broadly the same amount of tax. The rules do not apply to the self-employed or stop anyone working through their own company.

The reform to the off-payroll working rules does not change the rules by which employment status is determined but moves the responsibility for making the determination from the individual to the end client.

At Budget 2018, the independent OBR did not judge the forthcoming reform to have any specific macroeconomic impacts. This was reiterated in the Tax Information and Impact Note (TIIN) published in July 2019, which sets out HMRC’s assessment that the reform to the off-payroll working rules is expected to affect 170,000 individuals. The TIIN can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rules-for-off-payroll-working-from-april-2020/rules-for-off-payroll-working-from-april-2020.

HMRC have not seen evidence of organisations changing their recruitment practices to hire contractors offshore. Organisations will continue to be free to decide how they engage their workers and it will be for those workers to decide whether they wish to accept the terms and conditions offered.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the economic effect of the covid-19 lockdown on people that are deemed by HMRC to be employees under IR35 rules.

Under the off-payroll (IR35) rules, individuals working like an employee, but through a company, will pay similar levels of tax to other employees. In the public sector, it is the end client who determines an individual’s employment status for the purposes of the rules. Outside of the public sector, it is the individual’s Personal Service Company (PSC) that must determine their status.

The Government has announced a package of support for individuals to deal with lost income and the costs of absence due to COVID-19. For deemed employees working in the public sector, the Government expects many public sector organisations to continue to pay staff and not furlough them.

Owner-managers paying themselves a salary through PAYE can benefit from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Employers can use a portal to claim for 80% of the usual monthly wage costs of furloughed employees (employees on a leave of absence) up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions for that wage. The CJRS is open to all UK employers from 1 March 2020. For companies with a sole director, directors can continue to undertake their statutory duties while furloughed and still be eligible for the CJRS, as long as they do no work beyond these duties.

In addition, SMEs may also have access to support through the temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. This supports SMEs with loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million, for up to six years. More information about the full range of business support measures is available at www.businesssupport.gov.uk/coronavirus-business-support/.

Individuals who are employed by a Personal Service Company (PSC) are entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) on the same terms as any other employee. PSCs which are eligible and make payments under SSP as a result of COVID-19 will be entitled to a rebate where they meet the criteria of that scheme. Those not eligible for SSP (e.g. the self-employed and very low earners) will be able to receive support through the benefits system.

Individuals who have paid sufficient NICs, including through multiple jobs, will be entitled to new style Employment and Support Allowance. If they have not made sufficient contributions, they can apply for Universal Credit. These individuals will benefit from the Budget announcements to remove the seven day wait in new style Employment and Support Allowance and, if they are self-employed, the Minimum Income Floor in Universal Credit.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st May 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will amend the furlough scheme so that staff furloughed by charities are not prevented from performing voluntary work for them.

The purpose of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is to support people who would otherwise have been made redundant. To prevent fraudulent claims, the Government made it clear that individuals cannot work or volunteer for their organisation.

This aims to protect individuals too; if workers were allowed to volunteer for their employer, the employer could ask them to effectively work full time while only paying them 80% of the wages. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is working with other government departments and the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector to identify areas where volunteers can contribute to the COVID-19 response.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress her Department is making on agreeing a youth mobility scheme with the EU.

We remain open to expanding our Youth Mobility Scheme to more nations, based on agreeing suitable reciprocal arrangements.

We have not commenced formal discussions with any EU member states or with the EU collectively but remain open to doing so.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will remove the reference to the so-called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus from the list of locations included in the Passenger Locator form on www.gov.uk and replace it with the north of Cyprus, consistent with the longstanding policy on Cyprus of successive UK Governments.

The Passenger Locator Form has been amended to ensure it reflects Government policy in respect of the name applied to the north of Cyprus.

The ‘Country of Issue’ drop down list for travel documents was amended to ‘Cyprus, northern’ and made available for users on 6 March 2021.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the recent conviction in Belgium of the Iranian diplomat, Assadollah Assadi, for terrorism offences, if she will take steps with her European counterparts to facilitate cooperation between law enforcement bodies in different countries to investigate whether other Iranian diplomats and embassies are involved in terrorism.

The safety and security of our citizens is the Government’s top priority. We will continue to work closely with our international partners to protect the UK and our interests from any Iran-based threats.

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement includes a deal on law enforcement and criminal justice cooperation which delivers a comprehensive package of capabilities that will ensure we can work with counterparts across Europe to tackle serious crime and terrorism – protecting the public and bringing criminals to justice.

We remain committed to working together with European partners to counter the threats we all face, within Europe and beyond.

Specific investigations and prosecutions are a matter for the independent law enforcement agencies and prosecutors concerned. We do not comment on specific cases.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will increase funding for policing in London.

The police funding settlement for 2020/21 sets out the biggest increase in funding for the policing system since 2010.

In 2020/21 the Metropolitan Police will receive total cash funding of up to £2939.9 million, this is an increase of up to £193 million compared to 2019/20.

In 2020/21 City of London Police will receive total cash funding of up to £67 million, this is an increase of up to £5.6 million compared to 2019/20.

The Government has been clear that the police will get the financial support they need to see them through the COVID-19 pandemic, and that they are listening to what the police needs.

Future police funding, including details of the 2021/22 Police Funding Settlement, will be announced once the 2020 Spending Review has been concluded.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many additional police officers have been allocated to London during the last 12 months.

We are increasing the number of police officers in England and Wales by 20,000 over the next three years.

The Metropolitan Police Service was allocated 1,369 additional officers in the first year of the police uplift which covers the period to the end of March 2021.

At 30 September 2020 the Metropolitan Police Service has already recruited

its year one allocation of 1,369 additional officers.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Home Office)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the forthcoming trial against an Iranian diplomat in Belgium on terrorism charges, what discussions she has had with police services on threats against Iranian dissidents and political activists in the UK.

The UK takes a zero-tolerance approach to violence and threats. We will continue to work closely with our international allies to protect the UK and our interests from any Iran-based threats.

It is our long-standing policy not to provide detailed information on the security arrangements for protected individuals. To do so could compromise the integrity of those arrangements and affect the security of the individuals concerned.

James Brokenshire
Minister of State (Home Office)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps au pairs from EU countries, who are not classified as workers by the Government, should take to define their employment in the UK in the event that they apply for pre-settled status.

EU citizens resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 can apply for UK immigration status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), to enable them to continue living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021. Their eligibility for the EUSS will not be affected if they are absent from the UK over the Christmas period and they will not require a visa to return to the UK in January 2021.

Eligible EU citizens have until 30 June 2021 to make an application to the EUSS. Applicants only need to complete three key steps: prove their identity, show their residence in the UK and declare any criminal convictions. Eligibility for the EUSS is not generally concerned with whether the applicant has been engaged in a qualifying activity, such as employment.

From 1 January 2021, EU citizens newly arriving in the UK and non-EU citizens will be treated equally under the new points-based immigration system. The UK has not operated a dedicated immigration route for au pairs since 2008 and has no plans to introduce one. However, the UK currently operates eight Youth Mobility Schemes which are principally designed for cultural exchange. We have indicated our desire to negotiate a youth mobility arrangement with the EU or with individual countries within it, if a collective agreement is not possible.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether au pairs from the EU who are currently working in the UK and who return home for Christmas will require a visa to return to the UK in January 2021.

EU citizens resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 can apply for UK immigration status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), to enable them to continue living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021. Their eligibility for the EUSS will not be affected if they are absent from the UK over the Christmas period and they will not require a visa to return to the UK in January 2021.

Eligible EU citizens have until 30 June 2021 to make an application to the EUSS. Applicants only need to complete three key steps: prove their identity, show their residence in the UK and declare any criminal convictions. Eligibility for the EUSS is not generally concerned with whether the applicant has been engaged in a qualifying activity, such as employment.

From 1 January 2021, EU citizens newly arriving in the UK and non-EU citizens will be treated equally under the new points-based immigration system. The UK has not operated a dedicated immigration route for au pairs since 2008 and has no plans to introduce one. However, the UK currently operates eight Youth Mobility Schemes which are principally designed for cultural exchange. We have indicated our desire to negotiate a youth mobility arrangement with the EU or with individual countries within it, if a collective agreement is not possible.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the Government plans to continue (a) access to the UK for au pairs and (b) other cultural exchange programmes after the end of the transition period.

EU citizens resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 can apply for UK immigration status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), to enable them to continue living and working in the UK after 30 June 2021. Their eligibility for the EUSS will not be affected if they are absent from the UK over the Christmas period and they will not require a visa to return to the UK in January 2021.

Eligible EU citizens have until 30 June 2021 to make an application to the EUSS. Applicants only need to complete three key steps: prove their identity, show their residence in the UK and declare any criminal convictions. Eligibility for the EUSS is not generally concerned with whether the applicant has been engaged in a qualifying activity, such as employment.

From 1 January 2021, EU citizens newly arriving in the UK and non-EU citizens will be treated equally under the new points-based immigration system. The UK has not operated a dedicated immigration route for au pairs since 2008 and has no plans to introduce one. However, the UK currently operates eight Youth Mobility Schemes which are principally designed for cultural exchange. We have indicated our desire to negotiate a youth mobility arrangement with the EU or with individual countries within it, if a collective agreement is not possible.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to prevent unlawful migration via small boats crossing the Channel.

Keeping our border secure is the Government’s highest priority and we are committed to doing everything we can to stop these dangerous Channel crossings which are putting vulnerable lives at risk.

The Home Office liaises directly with the French Interior Ministry on addressing the issue of illegal migration, engaging at an official, diplomatic level and supported at an operational level through regular UK-French Migration Committees.

Through joint-working with France, the UK has funded the continued deployment of French law enforcement along the coast of northern France, who are patrolling constantly in order to detect attempted crossings by migrants. Funding has been allocated, among other projects, for further security improvements at ports in northern France and on the ground, which includes drones, specialist vehicles and detection equipment to stop small boats leaving European shores.

Intelligence flows are also key to dismantling the organised crime groups behind crossings. We have restructured and repurposed our approach to support to better inform and direct how and where law enforcement is deployed.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to tackle domestic abuse against men.

Domestic abuse is a devastating crime and the Government is committed to doing everything we can to tackle it. Domestic abuse affects men as well as women and last year we published a dedicated male victims position statement to recognise the needs of male victims and to clarify and strengthen our response.

The Home Office funds the Men’s Advice Line which provides support and advice to male victims of domestic abuse. This helpline received additional funding from the £2m announced by the Home Secretary on April 11 to bolster domestic abuse helplines during COVID-19. On 19 May the Home Office announced £2m of funding to charities with a national or regional presence which will provide further support for male and female victims of domestic abuse.

We have also provided £500,000 to improve support to male victims of domestic abuse and provided funding to Galop which provides advice and support to LGBT+ populations affected by domestic abuse, including for the National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline. This helpline also received additional funding from the £2m announced by the Home Secretary.

The Government domestic abuse awareness raising campaign under the hashtag #YouAreNotAlone, signposts victims to sources of advice and support. Details of these services can be found at www.gov.uk/domestic-abuse

The Home Office regularly engages with police forces on a wide range of domestic abuse issues.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions she has had with the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police on domestic violence against men.

Domestic abuse is a devastating crime and the Government is committed to doing everything we can to tackle it. Domestic abuse affects men as well as women and last year we published a dedicated male victims position statement to recognise the needs of male victims and to clarify and strengthen our response.

The Home Office funds the Men’s Advice Line which provides support and advice to male victims of domestic abuse. This helpline received additional funding from the £2m announced by the Home Secretary on April 11 to bolster domestic abuse helplines during COVID-19. On 19 May the Home Office announced £2m of funding to charities with a national or regional presence which will provide further support for male and female victims of domestic abuse.

We have also provided £500,000 to improve support to male victims of domestic abuse and provided funding to Galop which provides advice and support to LGBT+ populations affected by domestic abuse, including for the National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline. This helpline also received additional funding from the £2m announced by the Home Secretary.

The Government domestic abuse awareness raising campaign under the hashtag #YouAreNotAlone, signposts victims to sources of advice and support. Details of these services can be found at www.gov.uk/domestic-abuse

The Home Office regularly engages with police forces on a wide range of domestic abuse issues.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the accuracy of reports that Hezbollah's Foreign Relations Department is raising funds and operating within the EU.

We do not provide comment on our intelligence assessment of terrorist organisations.

James Brokenshire
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Syrian refugees have been admitted to the UK under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.

The Home Office is committed to publishing data in an orderly way as part of the regular quarterly Immigration Statistics, in line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. These can be found at www.gov.uk/government/collections/migration-statistics

Latest statistics published on 27 February 2020 show that as of December 2019, a total of 19,353 people had been resettled in the UK across 327 local authorities under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme since it began.

The next set of figures will be in the quarterly release on 21 May 2020 and will cover the period January to March 2020.

We have committed to resettle 20,000 vulnerable refugees who have fled Syria and are on track to deliver the full commitment in 2020.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, which places of worship have received funding from the Places of Worship Protective Security Funding Scheme.

The Home Office does not disclose details or confirm individual grants for individual places of worship that have received funding through the Places of Worship Security Funding Scheme, as disclosing the identities of the places of worship may put their security at risk.

For the first three years of the Places of Worship Protective Security Funding Scheme, £800,000 was allocated each year. Over those three years, the Home Office awarded 134 grants worth approximately £1.5 million – with 63 to churches, 49 to mosques, 5 to Hindu temples, and 17 to gurdwaras.

For the fourth year of the scheme, the then Home Secretary announced last year an uplift of funding to £1.6 million for 2019-20. The Home Office is currently finalising applications with a view to informing applicants in the near future.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much funding has been (a) allocated and (b) disbursed from the Places of Worship Protective Security Funding Scheme.

The Home Office does not disclose details or confirm individual grants for individual places of worship that have received funding through the Places of Worship Security Funding Scheme, as disclosing the identities of the places of worship may put their security at risk.

For the first three years of the Places of Worship Protective Security Funding Scheme, £800,000 was allocated each year. Over those three years, the Home Office awarded 134 grants worth approximately £1.5 million – with 63 to churches, 49 to mosques, 5 to Hindu temples, and 17 to gurdwaras.

For the fourth year of the scheme, the then Home Secretary announced last year an uplift of funding to £1.6 million for 2019-20. The Home Office is currently finalising applications with a view to informing applicants in the near future.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will rake steps to ensure that members of the armed services returning from duty overseas are not asked to pay for covid-19 tests.

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for raising the question. I am looking into this as a matter of urgency and will write to her in due course.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to ensure that Ministry of Defence land is included in Government programmes to (a) plant trees and (b) create new forests.

Ministry of Defence (MOD) officials are working closely with colleagues at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Forestry Commission to ensure suitable MOD land is included within Government Programmes.

MOD officials are undertaking an extensive UK wide survey to establish how much potential land is available for woodland creation on its estate.

Site specific areas for new woodland are currently being finalised in Long-Term Forest Plans. MOD officials have identified potential tree planting opportunities across 25 UK sites, totalling some 750ha, potentially 1.5 - 2 million trees dependent on planting schemes.

Advanced planning work is already underway at Otterburn, Okehampton and Driffield Training Areas.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, which areas of (a) Ministry of Defence and (b) armed services land is being used in relation to the tree planting programmes supported by the Government.

Ministry of Defence (MOD) officials are working closely with colleagues at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Forestry Commission to ensure suitable MOD land is included within Government Programmes.

MOD officials are undertaking an extensive UK wide survey to establish how much potential land is available for woodland creation on its estate.

Site specific areas for new woodland are currently being finalised in Long-Term Forest Plans. MOD officials have identified potential tree planting opportunities across 25 UK sites, totalling some 750ha, potentially 1.5 - 2 million trees dependent on planting schemes.

Advanced planning work is already underway at Otterburn, Okehampton and Driffield Training Areas.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will make it his policy to ensure that new homes built for service (a) men and (b) women are constructed to high levels of energy efficiency.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has policy in place to ensure that providers of new build homes construct properties to achieve high levels of energy efficiency.

The MOD is also developing pilot projects this year to identify how best to maximise the energy performance of residential buildings and reduce carbon emissions. Two pilot projects will be carried out at RAF Marham and RAF Brize Norton, retrofitting innovative technologies to existing buildings.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to improve the (a) insulation and (b) energy efficiency of buildings owned by (i) his Department and (ii) the armed services.

The Department has invested in energy saving initiatives within the Defence Estate, including LED lighting, improving Building Management Control, the installation of pipe lagging and the replacement of boilers and heating systems. In addition, the Defence Related Environmental Assessment Method (DREAM) is an environmental performance assessment required for new build and refurbishment projects within Ministry of Defence (MOD). DREAM has a focus on the various means to reduce energy and improve efficiency.

Energy Audits are completed across the highest consuming Area Utility sites. This promotes the identification of future opportunities to help drive down cost, consumption and CO2 emissions.

Across the MOD housing estate, the annual improvement programme includes a range of energy efficiency measures such as: the installation of new boilers, doors and windows; improving loft and external wall insulation; replacing roofs; and removal and capping of chimneys.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
27th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Government's press release of 10 February 2021, Government to bring an end to unsafe cladding with multi-billion pound intervention, when he plans to publish guidance on the 5-point plan to assist leaseholders living in buildings of 18 metres and over where fire safety concerns have been identified.

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

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how his loan scheme for funding fire safety remediation works for buildings under 18 metres will operate in cases where the £50 per month payment by leaseholders will not meet the cost of the works needed even if it continues right up the end of the lease term.

The Government will fund the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding on buildings over 18m. Buildings above 18m can be very high, some taller than 30m. We know as buildings get taller there is greater risk which is why, in line with longstanding expert advice, we are making sure that these buildings are remediated urgently.

In lower rise buildings, with a lower risk to safety, leaseholders will gain new protection from the costs of cladding removal through a financing scheme, so that leaseholders will never pay more than £50 a month. We will be publishing further details of the financing scheme.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, when he plans to publish further details of the loan system to ensure that required fire safety remediation works can be carried out in buildings under 18 metres without leaseholders having to pay more than £50 per month.

On 10 February, we announced a generous finance scheme, which will provide leaseholders in buildings of 11-18m with access to finance for cladding remediation costs, and a commitment that their monthly cladding repayment costs will not exceed £50 a month. Further details of the financing scheme will be made available as soon as we are able.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
8th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the rules which will allow 30 people to attend a funeral will also apply to the formal consecration of a tombstone as part of observance of Jewish faith traditions.

The Roadmap out of lockdown published on 22 February set out the government’s four-step roadmap by which Covid-19 restrictions would be lifted. The Jewish Stone Setting ceremony comes under the rules governing wakes and other post funeral commemorative events. As such, six people are permitted to attend such a service at present. When we reach step 2 (not before 12 April) that limit will increase to 15, while at Step 3 (not before 17 May) it will rise again to 30.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, pursuant to the oral contribution of the Minister for Housing of 30 September 2020, Official Report columns 439-40, when he plans to implement a legal requirement that homes created under permitted development rights to convert offices and warehouses to residential use must meet the same space standards as those applying to newly built dwellings.

We laid regulations before Parliament on 11 November which introduced a requirement that all homes delivered through permitted development rights meet, at a minimum, the nationally described space standards. This requirement will come into effect on 6 April 2021 and will apply to applications for prior approval submitted on or after that date.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Planning for the Future White Paper published in August 2020, what procedure he proposes will be used to enable local communities to scrutinise individual development proposals in each of the proposed Growth, Renewal and Protected zones after a local plan is in place.

We have consulted on these proposals and have welcomed responses from all interested parties. It is important that we analyse the consultation feedback thoroughly, and we will respond formally in due course.

Effective community engagement would be at the heart of changes which we have proposed. Input at the stage of preparing plans and design codes would ensure real influence over both the location and design of development. Communities would continue to have a say where the details of proposals are being applied for, and where planning permission continues to be required.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will amend the planning system to strengthen the requirements on the amount of outdoor space to be provided with new housing developments.

The importance of including open space in development is clear from our policy and guidance. The National Planning Policy Framework encourages developments that promote health and well-being, with a high standard of amenity for existing and future users. It says that planning policies should assess the need for different types of open space in each area, and then seek to accommodate it. In their report the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission made nature one of their priority themes and noted that green spaces should be integral to the urban fabric. We welcome their recommendations and look forward to responding to their report in due course


The supporting National Design Guide shows how high quality and attractive open spaces can be integral to new development, to encourage physical activity and promote health, well-being and social inclusion.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of recommendations on the cost of leasehold enfranchisement contained in the Law Commission's report, entitled Leasehold home ownership: buying your freehold or extending your lease: Report on options to reduce the price payable, published on 9 January 2020.

The Government is carefully considering the proposals outlined in the Law Commission’s report Leasehold home ownership: buying your freehold or extending your lease, Report on options to reduce the price payable and will set out its preferred way forward in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will seek to amend planning rules to encourage the building of homes with gardens in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The National Planning Policy Framework encourages local planning policies and decisions to ensure developments create places that promote health and well-being with a high standard of amenity for existing and future users. The supporting National Design Guide recognises that well-designed shared and private amenity space, including gardens, can promote quality of life for the occupants and users of buildings, and are flexible to adapt to the changing needs of their users over time.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he plans to take to ensure that planning decisions are not made during the covid-19 lockdown in the event that residents are prevented from engagement in the planning process as a result of social distancing rules.

The Government has made clear that local planning authorities should continue to prioritise decision-making during these challenging times to ensure that the planning system continues to function, especially when this when this will support the local economy.

Local planning authorities are still required to undertake a formal period of public consultation of no less than 21 days, prior to deciding a planning application.

Effective consultation allows local planning authorities to identify and consider all relevant planning issues associated with a proposed development. Where relevant considerations are raised by local residents, these must be taken into account by the local authority.

Most planning applications are determined by planning officers through a local authority’s scheme of delegation. Where decisions need to be made by committee, we have introduced legislation that allow council planning committee meetings to be held virtually.

Local planning authorities should take an innovative approach, using all options available to them including their use of technology and electronic communication, to ensure that planning decisions are made and sufficient public participation in the planning process is maintained. The Government is working with the Planning Advisory Service to publish further advice on ways this can be achieved.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to ensure effective public engagement with the planning process during the social distancing rules in place in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has made clear that local planning authorities should continue to prioritise decision-making during these challenging times to ensure that the planning system continues to function, especially when this when this will support the local economy.

Local planning authorities are still required to undertake a formal period of public consultation of no less than 21 days, prior to deciding a planning application.

Effective consultation allows local planning authorities to identify and consider all relevant planning issues associated with a proposed development. Where relevant considerations are raised by local residents, these must be taken into account by the local authority.

Most planning applications are determined by planning officers through a local authority’s scheme of delegation. Where decisions need to be made by committee, we have introduced legislation that allow council planning committee meetings to be held virtually.

Local planning authorities should take an innovative approach, using all options available to them including their use of technology and electronic communication, to ensure that planning decisions are made and sufficient public participation in the planning process is maintained. The Government is working with the Planning Advisory Service to publish further advice on ways this can be achieved.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
6th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to tackle fraudulent sub-letting of social housing.

The Government supported and implemented the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013 which makes it a criminal offence to unlawfully sublet social housing. It also allows the court to award the social landlord the profit the tenant has made from their unlawful sub-letting, regardless of whether the landlord has incurred a loss.

Between 2011 and 2015 the Department provided £19 million to local authorities to help them tackle tenancy fraud; and supported a team within the Chartered Institute of Housing to provide advice and support to all social landlords.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps he is taking to minimise the costs to Northern Ireland businesses of complying with the requirements of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

We are committed to working closely with businesses as we implement the Protocol - they are at the heart of our approach. This is why we established the Business Engagement Forum and why we recently announced the introduction of the Trader Support Service.

This unique service will provide extensive support, guiding traders through all import processes at no additional cost. Backed by £200m in Government funding, this will ensure that businesses of all sizes can draw on the support it provides.

Robin Walker
Minister of State (Northern Ireland Office)
27th Jan 2021
What steps he is taking to promote the advantages of Scotland remaining part of the UK.

Scotland benefits greatly from being part of a strong United Kingdom, as does the UK as a whole.

The most obvious recent examples of our strength as a union are the unprecedented economic support offered to people and businesses in Scotland throughout the current pandemic and the rapid supply of vaccinations to all parts of the UK currently taking place.

Neither of these would have been possible if Scotland was not part of the UK.