Tim Farron Portrait

Tim Farron

Liberal Democrat - Westmorland and Lonsdale

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

(since August 2019)

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

(since September 2020)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jan 2020 - 7th Sep 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (North of England) (Northern Powerhouse)
21st Aug 2019 - 7th Sep 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)
21st Aug 2019 - 6th Jan 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government)
7th Feb 2019 - 21st Aug 2019
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Oct 2017 - 7th Feb 2019
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
16th Jul 2015 - 20th Jul 2017
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
16th Jul 2015 - 20th Jul 2017
Party Chair, Liberal Democrats
1st Jan 2011 - 31st Dec 2014
European Scrutiny Committee
26th Jul 2010 - 25th Nov 2013
Shadow Secretary of State (Environment)
7th Oct 2008 - 6th May 2010
Shadow Minister (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Dec 2007 - 7th Oct 2008
Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)
1st Apr 2007 - 20th Dec 2007
Environmental Audit Committee
22nd May 2006 - 12th Jul 2007
Education & Skills
12th Jul 2005 - 22nd May 2006
Shadow Spokesperson (Children, Schools and Families)
10th May 2005 - 5th Mar 2006


Department Event
Monday 25th October 2021
14:30
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Oral questions - Main Chamber
25 Oct 2021, 2:30 p.m.
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Thursday 28th October 2021
09:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Oral questions - Main Chamber
28 Oct 2021, 9:30 a.m.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Monday 29th November 2021
14:30
Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities
Oral questions - Main Chamber
29 Nov 2021, 2:30 p.m.
Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Thursday 9th December 2021
09:30
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Oral questions - Main Chamber
9 Dec 2021, 9:30 a.m.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 20th October 2021
Environment Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 11 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 305 Noes - 179
Speeches
Wednesday 20th October 2021
Environment Bill

I am pleased to hear that, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Let me also say a quick word about James Brokenshire and …

Written Answers
Monday 18th October 2021
Asylum: Afghanistan
What steps she is taking to support Afghan people who reach the UK by their own means after being unable …
Early Day Motions
Monday 18th October 2021
Sewage pollution in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
That this House notes the appalling levels of raw sewage contaminating the UK’s inland waters; is particularly concerned that untreated …
Bills
Wednesday 28th April 2021
Environment (Regulation) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to establish an independent regulatory body to monitor and enforce the compliance of public bodies with climate and …
MP Financial Interests
Monday 20th September 2021
2. (b) Any other support not included in Category 2(a)
Name of donor: Faith in Public Ltd
Address of donor: 10 Queen Street Place, London EC4R 1BE
Amount of donation …
EDM signed
Tuesday 19th October 2021
Work of the roadside rescue and recovery industry
That this House recognises the vital work of the roadside rescue and recovery industry which ensures roads are kept safe …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 18th March 2020
Vagrancy (Repeal) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to repeal the Vagrancy Act 1824.

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Tim Farron has voted in 268 divisions, and 1 time against the majority of their Party.

27 Apr 2021 - Delegated Legislation - View Vote Context
Tim Farron voted No - against a party majority and against the House
One of 1 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 10 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 431 Noes - 89
View All Tim Farron Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

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

Sparring Partners
Matt Hancock (Conservative)
(22 debate interactions)
Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party)
Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)
(16 debate interactions)
Dominic Raab (Conservative)
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
(10 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(43 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(23 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Tim Farron's debates

Westmorland and Lonsdale 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 Westmorland and Lonsdale signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

Advice from the JCVI on the priority groups for a Covid-19 vaccine does not include school/childcare workers. This petition calls for these workers, who cannot distance or use PPE, to be kept safe at work by being put on the vaccine priority list when such a list is adopted into government policy.


Latest EDMs signed by Tim Farron

18th October 2021
Tim Farron signed this EDM on Tuesday 19th October 2021

Baby Loss Awareness Week 2021

Tabled by: Patricia Gibson (Scottish National Party - North Ayrshire and Arran)
That this House recognises that Baby Loss Awareness Week took place from 9 to 15 October 2021; offers sincere sympathy to those families who have lost precious babies; acknowledges that stillbirth, miscarriage, and infant loss is a tragedy which governments across the UK must work to prevent; pays tribute to …
48 signatures
(Most recent: 24 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 22
Labour: 12
Liberal Democrat: 4
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 2
Independent: 2
18th October 2021
Tim Farron signed this EDM as a sponsor on Tuesday 19th October 2021

Work of the roadside rescue and recovery industry

Tabled by: Mike Penning (Conservative - Hemel Hempstead)
That this House recognises the vital work of the roadside rescue and recovery industry which ensures roads are kept safe and clear; notes that part of the industry’s work involves carrying out recovery and storage under the direction of the Police or highways authorities; notes that fees charged for this …
6 signatures
(Most recent: 23 Oct 2021)
Signatures by party:
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Liberal Democrat: 2
Conservative: 1
Labour: 1
View All Tim Farron's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Tim Farron, 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.


1 Urgent Question tabled by Tim Farron

Wednesday 23rd September 2020

Tim Farron has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

11 Bills introduced by Tim Farron


The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision for leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom to be granted to the family members of refugees and to refugees who are family members of British citizens and settled persons, to provide for legal aid to be made available for refugee family reunion cases, and for connected purposes


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 11th July 2018
(Read Debate)

A Bill to establish an independent regulatory body to monitor and enforce the compliance of public bodies with climate and environmental requirements and targets; to make provision for associated sanctions; to require the regulatory body to assess the environmental effects of potential trade agreements; to make provision about environmental standards, including in relation to animal welfare; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 28th April 2021
(Read Debate)

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to require the Secretary of State to terminate a rail passenger services franchise agreement in certain circumstances; to repeal section 25 of the Railways Act 1993; to make provision for local franchising authorities in England; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 10th October 2018
(Read Debate)

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision to improve access to radiotherapy treatment in England; to define access in terms of the time that patients are required to travel to places providing treatment; to specify 45 minutes as the maximum time patients are to travel; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 19th December 2017
(Read Debate)

A Bill to make provision to improve access to radiotherapy treatment in England; to define access in terms of the time that patients are required to travel to places providing treatment; to specify 45 minutes as the maximum time patients are to travel; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 29th November 2016
(Read Debate)

A Bill to make provision about the award of asylum-seeker status in the United Kingdom to certain unaccompanied children from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Eritrea displaced by conflict and present within the European Union; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 8th December 2015

A Bill to make provision about the conditions to be met by male blood donors, including removing the restrictions relating to blood donation from men who have sexual intercourse with men; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 9th February 2016

A Bill to give local planning authorities the power to determine the requirements for affordable housing contributions from sites of fewer than 10 units as part of planning obligation agreements under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 9th September 2014


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 21st October 2014

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to undertake a programme of research into the costs and benefits of extending control of all aspects of Right to Buy and Right to Acquire schemes entirely to Local Authorities, including the operation and consequences of such schemes and the introduction of the right of Local Authorities to suspend them; to report to Parliament within six months of the research being completed; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 4th February 2015

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to give powers to the Secretary of State to provide for elections to be held to the governing boards of National Parks on a pilot basis; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 1st April 2014

304 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
2 Other Department Questions
14th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, if he will (a) review and (b) clarify the definitions and distinctions used to categorise specialist housing for older residents.

The Town and Country Planning (Use Classes) Order 1987 (as amended) puts uses of land and buildings into various categories known as 'Use Classes'.  It is for a local planning authority to consider into which use class a particular development may fall, and whether a development for specialist housing for older people falls within C2 (Residential Institutions) or C3 (Dwellinghouse) use class will depend on the individual circumstances of the development.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what recent discussions the Commissioners have had with the Government on the potential merits of reconsidering guidance on sung worship in churches from 21 June 2021 as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

The Bishop of London chairs the Church of England’s Covid Recovery Group and issued a statement on 15th June in which she said: “While we look forward to restrictions on worship being lifted in the near future, I will continue to press for ongoing appraisal of choral and congregational singing.” Also on 15th June the Bishop of Leeds raised concerns in a question in the House of Lords about inconsistencies on how restrictions are being applied.

Across our parishes live music is valued as integral to worship and for other well-being benefits that choral singing brings.

The Church continues to engage the Government through the Places of Worship Taskforce, and the Bishop of London has requested that the Taskforce reviews the future rules around singing before publication.

Meanwhile, singing under the current guidance remains possible within a very limited framework, both for indoor and outdoor singing.

The Church of England's own guidance on singing is available here: https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2021-06/COVID%2019%20advice%20on%20conducting%20public%20worship%20v3.5_0.pdf

The Government guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-suggested-principles-of-safer-singing/covid-19-suggested-principles-of-safer-singing

The Royal School of Church Music guidance is here: http://www.rscm.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/FAQs-re-Singing-19th-May-2021-1.pdf

Andrew Selous
Second Church Estates Commissioner
18th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil servants have been re-deployed to support the Government's response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government's number one priority is the response to the covid-19 outbreak. As such many civil servants within departments are working on different aspects of the overall response to the pandemic, and have been redeployed to do so. Comprehensive details of these internal redeloyments are not held centrally. The Government Resourcing Hub is also moving civil servants to COVID-19 roles across different departments.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many civil servants are engaged in negotiations with the EU on a post-transition period trade deal.

Negotiations with the EU are led by Task Force Europe. This is a small central unit within the Prime Minister’s Office led by the Chief Negotiator David Frost and currently has 42 staff. These negotiations are a cross-departmental effort and accordingly involve a larger number of staff overall. For example, more than a hundred UK staff have been involved in recent negotiating rounds, supported by FCO officials and others.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether EU nationals will be eligible to stand as candidates in the county council elections scheduled for May 2021.

Further to the response given to PQ 1802 on 29 January 2020, there has been no change to the rights of EU citizens resident in the UK to stand and vote in local elections. The Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly are responsible for their own franchises.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, who enforces the Ministerial Code against the Prime Minister; and what the process is of that enforcement.

Paragraph 1.6 of the Ministerial Code sets out that Ministers are personally responsible for deciding how to act and conduct themselves in the light of the Code and for justifying their actions and conduct to Parliament and the public.

The Ministerial Code should be read against the background of the overarching duty on Ministers to comply with the law and to protect the integrity of public life.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the impact of the transition to renewable heating systems will have on (a) UK grid capacity and (b) the North West’s grid capacity.

To achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050, we will need to decarbonise virtually all heat in buildings. Government analysis indicates that heat pumps are likely to play an important role in this transition, which is why my Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister announced our ambition to reach 600,000 heat pump installations a year by 2028. In combination with an increase in electric vehicle deployment, this is likely to increase demand for electricity.

Ensuring the adequacy of the electricity network is the responsibility of electricity network companies, and they are incentivised to do so through the regulatory framework set out by Ofgem, the independent regulator. Electricity distribution network operators (DNOs) submitted their draft business plans for the next price control (RIIO ED2), which will run from 2023-28, on 1 July. Final draft business plans submissions are expected to be made by DNOs in December of this year. As part of this, DNOs, including Electricity North West who are the licensed operator for the distribution network in the North West, will include forecasts for the uptake of renewable heating systems and how they plan to ready the network for these technologies.

A new Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan, developed jointly by BEIS and Ofgem, will be published shortly. The plan will set out how deploying low carbon technologies, including heat pumps, in a smart and flexible way can reduce the requirement for large increases in generation capacity and support the balancing of the electricity system. This approach benefits all electricity system users by reducing overall system costs and carbon emissions, while also supporting system stability.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
30th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will set out his plans (a) to accelerate the uptake in heat and ground pumps and (b) for the roll out other renewable heating sources.

As announced in the Ten-Point Plan, we aim to install 600,000 hydronic heat pumps per year by 2028. We are putting together a comprehensive policy package to support this ambition, including targeted regulatory, market-based and public investment measures.

These measures include the Future Homes Standard that will ensure new homes are built with high levels of energy efficiency and low carbon heating from 2025, the Clean Heat Grant scheme, launching in 2022, and a new market-based policy putting industry at the heart of growing the heat pump market.

Heat pumps have already been proven to work at scale in buildings, delivering effective heating with lower emissions than fossil fuel heating. However, there are a range of potential low carbon heating solutions, including hydrogen, heat networks and biomethane that could help deliver our net zero target. We will set out further details on how we accelerate uptake of heat pumps and our approach to other low carbon heating technologies in our forthcoming Heat and Buildings Strategy

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many businesses failed in each month of the 2007-08 financial crisis.

Monthly data on business closures during the 2007-2008 financial crisis are not available.

Data on total annual business closures have been provided in the table below, showing annual numbers of business closures between 2006 and 2010.

Table: Annual number of business closures, 2006 to 2010, all registered businesses

Year

Number of business closures

2006

207,000

2007

224,000

2008

223,000

2009

277,000

2010

250,000

Source: Office for National Statistics ‘Business Demography, UK: 2011’

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department has made an estimate of the number of businesses which have failed in each month since April 2020.

Monthly data on business closures since April 2020 are not available.

Quarterly data on business closures since April 2020 can be provided.

The table below contains this information, along with numbers of business closures in each quarter of 2019 and quarter 1 2020 for reference.

Table: Quarterly UK business closures, 2019 to 2020, all registered businesses

Quarter and Year

Number of business closures

Q1 2019

85,260

Q2 2019

101,505

Q3 2019

83,145

Q4 2019

77,815

Q1 2020

120,235

Q2 2020

93,055

Q3 2020

76,265

Q4 2020

106,400

Source: Office for National Statistics 'Business demography, quarterly experimental statistics, UK'

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department is taking to encourage and incentivise businesses to embrace innovative green technologies and to invest in green jobs, skills and training in the North West.

We are determined to seize the opportunities of the net zero transition, which by one estimate could support up to 2 million green jobs by 2030 across all regions of the UK. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan will create long-term advantage for the UK in low-carbon technologies and services. Investment in the green economy across sectors including offshore wind, nuclear, low carbon heating, CCUS and clean hydrogen will benefit regions across the UK.

We will bring forward the Local Recovery and Devolution White Paper, detailing how the Government will build a sustainable economic recovery across the country. We have also launched the Green Jobs Taskforce to advise what support is needed for people in transitioning industries. The taskforce will conclude its work in spring 2021, with the actions feeding into our Net Zero Strategy to be published later in the year.

The Government’s actions are delivering results in the North West. We have invested in excess of £4m of the Local Growth Fund in Cumbria for developing skills in higher and further education, working alongside employers to support high quality jobs in new and emerging sustainable and green technologies. This includes support for Kendal College on training for future jobs such as electric vehicle maintenance, with over 600 apprentices supporting employers in the green economy in South Lakeland.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will extend the Green Homes Grant for 12 months to March 2022 to (a) allow the full uptake of the scheme and (b) help stimulate new green jobs.

The Government is committed to improving the building stock as part of reaching our net zero targets. We recognise the importance of providing industry with certainty over demand in future years in order for them to have confidence to invest and grow their businesses.

We are working to provide that certainty and have therefore confirmed that the delivery dates for Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator will extend into 2021/22 to provide assurance that work will be available. Outside of support schemes, we are creating the regulatory environment to drive retrofit and on 30th September we published a consultation on further improving the energy performance of privately rented homes over the 2020s, which provides a clear signal on how Government is committed to improving the housing stock.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether businesses that are eligible for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme will also be able to access the Top-up to local business grant fund scheme announced on 2 May 2020.

On 1 May 2020 during a call to Local Authorities, the Government announced that a further up to £617 million is being made available to Local Authorities in England to allow them to provide discretionary grants as part of the suite of Business Support grants to support businesses and local economies across England.

Businesses that have received Self-employment Income Support are not eligible for funding under the Local Authority Discretionary Grants Fund.

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, what steps he plans to take to extend the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to businesses that have no rateable property but have been adversely affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

Whether or not a business is liable for Business Rates, or occupies business premises, is not a consideration under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

To be eligible for a facility under CBILS, a smaller business must:

  • Be UK based in its business activity, with turnover of no more than £45m per year.
  • Have a borrowing proposal which, were it not for the current pandemic, would be considered viable by the lender
  • Self-certify that it has been adversely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to ensure that (a) plumbers and (b) electricians working for clients in confined spaces in domestic properties do not transmit covid-19 between their clients' households.

Construction and utility workers play a crucial role in supporting our public services, as well as in providing and maintaining safe, decent homes for people to live in.

Based on current medical advice, utility workers who cannot work from home, who show no symptoms of Covid-19, and who live in households where no person is self-isolating, can continue to go to work. We encourage households to continue to engage with tradespeople on this basis so that essential repairs and maintenance can be carried out. Where such work takes place, Public Health England (PHE) guidelines should be followed, including social distancing measures where possible.

Construction activity can continue in line with PHE guidance. Through the Construction Leadership Council, the construction industry has issued Site Operating Procedures (SOP), which align with PHE guidance. The SOP set out that, where it is not possible or safe for workers to distance themselves from each other by 2 metres, then employers should closely consider whether the activity needs to continue for the site to operate.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policy on work and social distancing of 2 metres of utility workers working (a) in confined domestic residences on jobs that require multiple workers and (b) on construction sites on jobs that require materials to be transported between individuals.

Construction and utility workers play a crucial role in supporting our public services, as well as in providing and maintaining safe, decent homes for people to live in.

Based on current medical advice, utility workers who cannot work from home, who show no symptoms of Covid-19, and who live in households where no person is self-isolating, can continue to go to work. We encourage households to continue to engage with tradespeople on this basis so that essential repairs and maintenance can be carried out. Where such work takes place, Public Health England (PHE) guidelines should be followed, including social distancing measures where possible.

Construction activity can continue in line with PHE guidance. Through the Construction Leadership Council, the construction industry has issued Site Operating Procedures (SOP), which align with PHE guidance. The SOP set out that, where it is not possible or safe for workers to distance themselves from each other by 2 metres, then employers should closely consider whether the activity needs to continue for the site to operate.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what guidance the Government has provided on what employees should do if their employer is asking them to continue going to work and (a) their job role could be completed at home or (b) social distancing is not adhered to.

The Government has been clear that employers should carefully consider Public Health England’s social distancing guidance. The guidance sets out that employers should help their staff to find alternative arrangements to support them to work from home, , including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.

Where people cannot work from home, they can continue going into their place of work as long as Public Health England’s guidance is closely followed. This is consistent with the Chief Medical Officer’s advice.

Where a worker has a concern about health and safety which cannot be resolved through speaking with their employer or trade union, they can contact the relevant enforcement agency – either their local authority or the Health and Safety Executive. Where the Health and Safety Executive are made aware of an employer not complying with the relevant Public Health England guidance (including enabling social distancing where it is practical to do so), the Health and Safety Executive will consider a range of actions, from providing specific advice to employers through to issuing enforcement notices.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish (a) a comprehensive list of what is deemed essential domestic utility work, (b) instructions on whether utility workers should engage in non-essential work and (c) his plans to ensure that employers (i) obey those instructions and (ii) support their workers to do so.

Based on current medical advice, the Government has stated that workers can continue to work when they cannot work from home, show no symptoms of Covid-19, and live in a household where no person is self-isolating.

We encourage households to engage with tradespeople on this basis, so urgent health and safety issues within homes can be inspected or remedied. Where such work takes place, Public Health England’s social distancing guidelines should be followed, which are available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/social-distancing-in-the-workplace-during-coronavirus-covid-19-sector-guidance#tradespeople-and-working-in-peoples-homes.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will clarify the guidance on work that is (a) prohibited and (b) regarded as essential in the (i) construction and (ii) utility industries during the covid-19 outbreak.

Construction and utility workers play a crucial role in supporting our public services, maintaining the nation’s infrastructure and providing and maintaining safe, decent homes for people to live in. The Government has stated that construction and utilities work should continue where it can take place in line with the guidance provided by Public Health England.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has to introduce further restrictions to the work of (a) construction workers, (b) electricians and (c) plumbers in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Construction and utility workers play a crucial role in supporting our public services, maintaining the nation’s infrastructure and providing and maintaining safe, decent homes for people to live in. The Government has stated that construction and utilities work should continue where it can take place in line with the guidance provided by Public Health England.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what plans he has for the provision of postal services in Oxenholme and Allithwaite in response to the closure of their Post Offices.

The Government recognises the critical role that post offices play in communities and for small businesses across the UK. This is why the Government committed to safeguard the post office network and protect existing rural services. The overall number of post offices across the UK remains at its most stable in decades with over 11,500 branches thanks to significant Government investment of over £2 billion since 2010.

While the Government sets the strategic direction for the Post Office, it allows the company the commercial freedom to deliver this strategy as an independent business. As such, provision of postal services in Oxenholme and Allithwaite is operational to Post Office Limited. I have asked Nick Read, the Group Chief Executive of Post Office Limited, to write to the Hon Member about this matter. A copy of his reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the level of funding that will be allocated to agricultural colleges in (a) 2021, (b) 2022, (c) 2023 and (d) 2024.

In common with all other types of provider, funding allocations to agricultural colleges for the 2021/22 academic year for 16-19 students have yet to be finalised. While we have now issued allocations to individual schools and colleges, we are still considering business cases from providers. Until this process is complete, funding allocations are still subject to change.

Providers in receipt of the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) Adult Education Budget (AEB), including agricultural colleges, will receive an allocation for the 2021/22 academic funding year which is the same as it was in 2020/21, with any necessary adjustments for the impact of devolution and to remove allocations that were for one year only. In areas where the AEB has been devolved, Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority are responsible for making provider allocations.

Allocations beyond the 2021/22 academic year for both 16-19 funding and the AEB are subject to the outcome of the Spending Review.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding the Government allocated to agricultural colleges in (a) 2017, (b) 2018, (c) 2019 and (d) 2020.

Allocation values are supplied for institutions specified as Agricultural and Horticultural Colleges and includes the institution name and UK Provider Reference Number as the identifier in the accompanying excel document.

Allocations are on an academic year basis (August to July) and therefore span multiple years. We have provided the values from August 2016 to July 2021, where this is not the case it is caveated in the notes.

The data does not contain information relating to:

Each year will have policy changes which are not detailed in the notes.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether dormitory rooms at outdoor education centres in England and Wales will be subject to individual occupancy restrictions once overnight residentials are permitted from 17 May 2021 as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

In line with the Government’s roadmap, the Department advises against domestic residential educational visits until at least step 3, no earlier than 17 May 2021: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-response-spring-2021/covid-19-response-spring-2021 and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/schools-coronavirus-covid-19-operational-guidance#educational-visits.

The Department will update guidance in line with the timetable set out in the roadmap, including advice on educational visits.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how portable apprenticeships will operate.

We are committed to supporting greater use of apprenticeships in sectors where flexible working practices are commonplace, including short periods of project-based employment.

To support these sectors, we are launching a £7 million fund to support the creation and expansion of apprenticeship training agencies which offer portable apprenticeships, enabling apprentices to move between different host employers as they complete their training.

We continue to work closely with the creative and agricultural industries in increasing the portability of apprenticeships and will set out further details in due course.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how portable apprenticeships will be defined.

We are committed to supporting greater use of apprenticeships in sectors where flexible working practices are commonplace, including short periods of project-based employment.

To support these sectors, we are launching a £7 million fund to support the creation and expansion of apprenticeship training agencies which offer portable apprenticeships, enabling apprentices to move between different host employers as they complete their training.

We continue to work closely with the creative and agricultural industries in increasing the portability of apprenticeships and will set out further details in due course.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many electronic devices have been (a) issued to (i) children and (ii) schools and (b) requested by schools to support children during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has provided laptops and tablets to 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, the Government has provided 4G wireless routers.

The Department has delivered laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to local authorities and academy trusts based on the Department’s estimates of the number of eligible children that do not have access to a device. Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify children and young people who need devices and prioritise their needs.

The Department has published information about how many laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers have been delivered or dispatched to local authorities and academy trusts in total, which can be viewed here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/laptops-tablets-and-4g-wireless-routers-progress-data.

As of the end of June, over 202,000 laptops and tablets and over 47,000 4G wireless routers had been delivered or dispatched to local authorities and academy trusts. Where local authorities and academy trusts provided evidence of a need for eligible children that is greater than their initial allocation, the Department has been working with them to provide additional devices.

25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a transition period for pupils returning to school during the covid-19 outbreak in the autumn term so that they can focus on their well-being alongside academic studies.

The return to school is a vital factor in both the wellbeing and educational progress of pupils - the two reinforce each other. We have encouraged schools to focus on pastoral support as more pupils return to school this term. Children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 are now able to return to primary school, and Year 10 and 12 pupils are able to receive face-to-face support at secondary school. Primary schools with capacity can bring back additional groups, in line with existing protective measures. We have also given schools the flexibility to have face-to-face ‘check-ups’ with all pupils during the summer term.

The department has now published detailed plans for all children and young people to return to full-time education from September. The guidance highlights the particular need to focus on pastoral support and mental wellbeing as a central part of what schools provide, in order to re-engage them and rebuild social interaction with their friends and teachers. This will involve curriculum provision as well as extra-curricular and pastoral support, and our recently published relationships, sex and health education training module will support teachers with preparation to deliver content on mental health and wellbeing. The guidance for schools is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/schools-and-colleges-to-reopen-in-full-in-september.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department has provided to schools on the provision of additional pastoral support for pupils when they return to school during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government remains committed to promoting and supporting the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people.

The return to school is a key part of supporting the mental health and wellbeing of pupils, as attendance at school allows social interaction with peers, carers and teachers, which benefits wellbeing, and enables staff to directly provide pastoral support.

Throughout the government’s guidance on the wider opening of schools, we have encouraged schools to focus on pastoral support as pupils return. Children in Reception, year 1 and year 6 are now able to return to primary, and year 10 and year 12 pupils are able to receive face-to-face support at secondary. Primary schools with capacity can bring back additional groups, in line with existing protective measures, and we have given schools the flexibility to have face-to-face ‘check-ups’ with all pupils during the summer term to provide pastoral support. Our intention is for all children to return to school from September and guidance will be published soon.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that school behaviour policies do not adversely affect students who have experienced trauma as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

It is important for schools to be calm and disciplined environments, where everyone follows the rules. The Department has published advice that sets out how, as schools start to welcome pupils back, schools should update their behaviour policy to reflect the new protective measures and new rules and routines:

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.

Schools will be aware that the current circumstances can affect the mental health of pupils in a way that affects behaviour. Our guidance on mental health and behaviour in schools can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mental-health-and-behaviour-in-schools--2.

It sets out how mental health issues can bring about changes in a young person’s behaviour or emotional state and how this can be reflected within the approach to behaviour set out in Creating a Culture:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/behaviour-in-schools.

Additionally, some children will return to school having been exposed to a range of adversity including bereavement and anxiety. This may lead to an increase in social, emotional, and mental health (SEMH) concerns. We are aware that some children will need additional support and access to services such as Educational Psychologists, social workers, and counsellors, and the guidance below on supporting vulnerable children during the COVID-19 outbreak acknowledges that staff may need to be redeployed:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-vulnerable-children-and-young-people.

19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to tackle delays in delivery of food vouchers through the free school meals scheme.

Since the launch of the free school meals voucher scheme, it has been upgraded and is working well for thousands of schools and families. Our supplier Edenred has indicated that orders are currently processed well within the 4-day period specified within our guidance to schools. Edenred has reported that over £169 million worth of voucher codes has been redeemed into supermarket e-gift cards by schools and families through the scheme as of Friday 19 June, and that over 17,500 schools had placed orders for the scheme.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to increase the number of supermarkets where free school meal vouchers are redeemable; and if he will take steps to help ensure that those vouchers are redeemable at (a) Co-op, (b) Spar and (c) all other supermarkets.

During this period, we are asking schools to support children who are at home and eligible for and claiming benefits-related free school meals by providing meals or food parcels through their existing food providers wherever possible. We know that many schools are successfully delivering food parcels or arranging food collections for eligible children, and we encourage this approach where it is possible. However, we recognise that providing meals and food parcels is not a practicable option for all schools. That is why on 31 March, we launched a national voucher scheme as an alternative option, with costs covered by the department.

The vouchers for free school meals can currently be spent in a variety of supermarkets. Initially, the scheme included supermarkets that already have e-gift card arrangements in place with our supplier, Edenred, including Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, M&S and Waitrose. On Monday 27 April, we added Aldi to this list and on Wednesday 29 April, we added McColl’s. We have been working with other supermarkets to encourage them to join. Any additional supermarkets would need to have the right infrastructure to deliver e-gift cards across their network of stores.

Schools are best placed to make decisions about the most appropriate free school meal arrangements for eligible pupils during this period.

As schools open more widely, and their kitchens reopen, we expect schools to make food parcels available for collection or delivery for any children that are eligible for free school meals who are staying at home.

Where this is not possible, schools can use the national voucher scheme or make alternative voucher arrangements locally. Our guidance for schools sets out that they can be reimbursed for costs incurred where the national voucher scheme is not suitable for their families, and this can include alternative voucher arrangements with supermarkets that are not part of the national voucher scheme.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he will take to ensure infants eligible for free school meals that receive vouchers under the universal infant free school meals will continue to receive those vouchers during summer holiday 2020.

Provision for free school meals is ordinarily term time only. However, owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, the government understands that children and parents face an entirely unprecedented situation over the summer. To reflect this, we will be providing additional funding for a COVID-19 Summer Food Fund which will enable children who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals to receive food vouchers covering the six-week holiday period. This is a specific measure to reflect the unique circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Infant pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals will be eligible to receive vouchers as part of the COVID-19 Summer Food Fund. However, this provision is not available for children who receive universal infant free school meals and who are not eligible for benefits-related free school meals. It is right that we concentrate resources on those who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals at this time.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans he has to allocate additional funding to schools for the employment of additional staff to support smaller class sizes from September 2020.

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year, as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. That will ensure that they are able to continue to pay their staff and meet their other regular financial commitments.

We are also providing additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover unavoidable costs incurred due to the COVID-19 outbreak that cannot be met from their existing resources. Our latest guidance on this is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools.

We want to see all children and young people back in school as soon as the scientific advice indicates they can because that is where they learn best. We are working towards bringing all children and young people back to school in September. We will provide further information and guidance with as much notice as possible.

12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding he plans to allocate to schools to facilitate additional staff from September 2020; and what the timeframe is for the announcement of that funding.

Schools will continue to receive their budgets for the coming year, as usual, regardless of any periods of partial or complete closure. That will ensure that they are able to continue to pay their staff and meet their other regular financial commitments.

We are also providing additional funding to schools, on top of existing budgets, to cover unavoidable costs incurred due to the COVID-19 outbreak that cannot be met from their existing resources. Our latest guidance on this is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-financial-support-for-schools.

We want to see all children and young people back in school as soon as the scientific advice indicates they can because that is where they learn best. We are working towards bringing all children and young people back to school in September. We will provide further information and guidance with as much notice as possible.

20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what additional support is being allocated to councils to support children in the care system during the covid-19 lockdown.

The government has provided over £3.2 billion of additional funding to support local authorities (LAs) in meeting COVID-19 related pressures, including within children’s social care.

Our latest guidance on children in care is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings. We will keep this under very close review over the coming weeks and months to understand pressures and issues as they arise.

We have also committed over £100 million to support access to social care services and remote education, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to children with a social worker who do not have access to the internet. Further, we have committed additional funding worth £26.4 million directly to charities to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children and £1.6 million to expand the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children’s helpline.

In order to ensure engagement with all children and to support effective risk assessment, through emergency legislation and with Social Work England, we have reinstated the professional registration of 8,000 former social workers so that they can re-join the profession, providing additional resource where it is required.

LAs have a statutory duty to ensure that there is sufficient provision in their area to meet the needs of the children in their care. We are committed to supporting local authorities to increase the sufficiency of care placements, having invested part of our £200 million Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme in three projects to increase councils’ capacity and improve their commissioning practice. Additional funding for 2 of these projects was confirmed on 24 April as part of the £12.1 million to support vulnerable children who are most at risk. This is in addition to having funded 7 partnerships to test new approaches to commissioning and sufficiency planning in foster care, worth almost £500,000. We have provided temporary flexibility in the fostering regulations which can be found here:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/445/contents/made.

This aims to make it easier for LAs to identify potential placements and ensure new foster carers are assessed and approved without delay.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans his Department has made to support a potential increase in the number of children going into care at the end of the covid-19 lockdown.

The government has provided over £3.2 billion of additional funding to support local authorities (LAs) in meeting COVID-19 related pressures, including within children’s social care.

Our latest guidance on children in care is set out below:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings. We will keep this under very close review over the coming weeks and months to understand pressures and issues as they arise.

We have also committed over £100 million to support access to social care services and remote education, including by providing laptops, tablets and 4G wireless routers to children with a social worker who do not have access to the internet. Further, we have committed additional funding worth £26.4 million directly to charities to support vulnerable and disadvantaged children and £1.6 million to expand the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children’s helpline.

In order to ensure engagement with all children and to support effective risk assessment, through emergency legislation and with Social Work England, we have reinstated the professional registration of 8,000 former social workers so that they can re-join the profession, providing additional resource where it is required.

LAs have a statutory duty to ensure that there is sufficient provision in their area to meet the needs of the children in their care. We are committed to supporting local authorities to increase the sufficiency of care placements, having invested part of our £200 million Children’s Social Care Innovation Programme in three projects to increase councils’ capacity and improve their commissioning practice. Additional funding for 2 of these projects was confirmed on 24 April as part of the £12.1 million to support vulnerable children who are most at risk. This is in addition to having funded 7 partnerships to test new approaches to commissioning and sufficiency planning in foster care, worth almost £500,000. We have provided temporary flexibility in the fostering regulations which can be found here:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/445/contents/made.

This aims to make it easier for LAs to identify potential placements and ensure new foster carers are assessed and approved without delay.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many children were in care in South Lakeland in each of the last 12 months.

The information is not available in the form requested. The department is currently in the process of collecting looked after children data from local authorities for the reporting year ending 31 March 2020. Information on the number of children in care in 2019-20 will not be published until later in the year. This data is not collected below local authority area level. The latest annual figures on children in care were published in the statistical release 'Children Looked after in England including adoptions 2018-19':
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/children-looked-after-in-england-including-adoption-2018-to-2019.

Information at local authority and regional level can be located in the underlying data table ‘CLA2019’.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 4 May 2020 to Question 40545 on Children's Return to School, what (a) steps his Department is taking with the sector and (b) additional plans he has to work with the sector to determine how children will return to school.

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

27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the Government's social distancing measures in response to covid-19, what steps his Department plans to take to protect public safety when children return to school.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, has made it clear that schools will only reopen when the scientific advice indicates that it is the right time to do so, based on five key tests.

The Department is working with the sector to ensure we have the right guidance and the right support in place once we are ready to reopen schools, based on the latest scientific advice.

Our latest guidance on implementing social distancing in schools and childcare settings in relation to COVID-19 is set out below:
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

These are rapidly developing circumstances. We continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether examiners will be paid in full for contracts they have signed relating to exams which were due to take place in summer 2020.

This is a matter for individual examination boards that employ examiners.

19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what plans there are to provide compensation for (a) schools and (b) parents for school trips that have be cancelled due to covid-19 outbreak.

As of 12 March 2020, the Government has been advising all schools and other education settings in England against arranging or undertaking any overseas trips for children under 18.

All schools should check with their travel agent and credit card companies regarding securing refunds in the first instance. If unable to recoup their full costs, those academies signed up to the Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) for schools should then submit their claims as per the RPA membership pack, and other affected schools should contact their individual insurance company.

Government Covid-19 travel guidance for the education sector can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-educational-settings-about-covid-19/covid-19-travel-guidance-for-the-education-sector.

FCO Covid-19 travel guidance is available at the following link: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when the review into support for children with special educational needs will be (a) concluded and (b) published.

This review is ongoing. In announcing that we are reviewing the system of support for children with special educational needs and disabilities, we acknowledged the challenges that the system faces. We are committed to setting out plans to tackle these challenges.

Our reforms in 2014 gave vital support to more children but we know that there have been problems in delivering the changes that we all want to see. It is right that we take the time to consider how we can ensure that there is consistent and joined-up support in different local areas across health, care and education services and that high-quality health and education support is available across the country.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many meetings (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have had with the haulage industry since the start of 2021.

My Rt Hon Friend the Environment Secretary and I meet regularly with representatives of the food industry to discuss a wide range of issues, and we continue to work across Government, including with the Department for Transport, to find solutions to any issues. Officials in our Department also meet regularly with trade association and the haulier industry directly.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the total amount spent by his Department on researching the impact of ending free movement on the horticulture industry.

Defra has not commissioned any external research on this topic.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will publish the total amount spent by his Department on research of the impact of ending free movement on the agriculture industry.

Defra has not commissioned any external research on this topic.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to prevent puppies being imported to the UK and sold via third parties.

The Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill was introduced in Parliament on 8 June. The Bill allows us to protect the welfare of pets by introducing restrictions to crack down on the low welfare movements of pets into Great Britain and includes powers to introduce new restrictions on pet travel and on the commercial import of pets on welfare grounds, via secondary legislation.

The Government launched a consultation on 21 August on our proposed restrictions to the commercial and non-commercial movement of pets into Great Britain, including our proposal to ban the commercial and non-commercial movement of puppies under the age of six months into Great Britain. We will take into account the views of the public and will continue to work closely with stakeholders to ensure that our final measures are well considered and are guided by the latest evidence.

The ban on commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens in England, also known as Lucy's Law, came into force in April 2020. Defra recognises that raising awareness of deceitful sellers is another integral step towards tackling low-welfare and illegal supply of puppies. That is why we launched the communications campaign "Petfished" in March 2020 to raise the public's awareness of the consequences of buying from a low-welfare seller and challenging the assumption that it is easy to spot bad practice. The campaign also signposts to resources available to help them make a good decision and source from responsible breeders or rehoming centres in the UK.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure animal welfare legislation is enforced in response to the reduction in the RSPCA's animal welfare inspectorate.

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (the 2006 Act), local authorities, the Animal & Plant Health Agency and the police all have powers to investigate allegations of animal cruelty or poor welfare (including power of entry to inspect premises).

Under the 2006 Act, anyone is able to take forward a prosecution, and it is on this basis that the RSPCA has been enforcing animal welfare legislation in this country. The RSPCA currently successfully prosecutes 800 to 1,000 people each year.

The Government recognises the valuable work the RSPCA does to improve the welfare of animals. Defra remains committed to continuing its engagement with the RSPCA, and other organisations involved in enforcement activities, so that our high animal welfare standards are maintained and offenders are subject to appropriate penalties.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of trees that have been planted in England in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021 to date.

The Forestry Commission produces statistics on all new planting of woodland for the UK. These Official Statistics are produced to meet the standards of the Code of Practice for Statistics. The latest statistics can be found in Provisional Woodland Statistics: 2021 edition on the Forest Research website together with background information at Forestry Research . These statistics are reported for each financial year in thousands of hectares. The latest available figures are for 2020-21.

For all new planting of woodland in the most recent year, there is also a published estimate of the approximate number of trees this represents available from the Forestry Commission Key Performance Indicators. For 2020-21 this was an estimated 4,252,000 trees newly planted in England.

The areas of new planting (woodland creation) for England taken from the published Forestry Statistics are shown below:

Year (ending 31 March)

New planting in England (thousand hectares)

New planting in England (estimated number of trees)

2018-19

1.42

..

2019-20

2.34

..

2020-21

2.18

4,252,000

Source: Forestry Commission, Forestry England, grant schemes and with estimates for areas planted without grant aid.

Note 1: ‘..’ denotes data not available. Estimates of numbers of trees in newly-planted woodland are incomplete for years before 2020-21.

Note 2: Estimates for areas planted without grant aid are believed to be under-reported and, as a result, the reported figures are likely to under-estimate the true level of planting activity. For England, woodland planting funded by sources other than the Countryside Stewardship Woodland Creation Grant, the Woodland Carbon Fund and the HS2 Woodland Fund include planting supported by the Woodland Trust, by the Environment Agency, by Natural England and land acquired by the National Forest Company.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding the Government has allocated to planting trees in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021 to date.

We are committed to increasing tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by the end of this parliament. We published our ambitious England Trees Action Plan on the 18 May. This sets out our plans to at least treble tree planting rates in England as a key contribution to that 30,000ha UK commitment – this represents an unprecedented increase in woodland creation in England, supported by £500 million from the Nature for Climate Fund.

From that £500million, a series of funds will support the creation and management of woodland. This includes over £25 million for our Woodland Creation Partnerships this year, £6 million for the Urban Trees Challenge Fund for the next two years, a £2.7 million Local Authority Treescape Fund over this next year, and the £15.9 million England Woodland Creation Offer launched in spring 2021. This will support traditional methods of tree establishment as well as natural colonisation, agroforestry, and riparian planting.

In the planting season 2019/20, the Government made major commitments to help reach our tree planting targets. In January 2020, the Prime Minister announced £5.7 million to launch the new Northern Forest. In the Autumn Budget 2019, the Chancellor announced £50 million to help plant new woodlands through the Woodland Carbon Guarantee, and £10 million to plant new trees, including valuable street trees, in our towns and cities through the Urban Tree Challenge Fund, launched in May 2019.

For the last planting season (2020/21) we kick-started tree planting efforts through a number of initiatives including £12.1 million investment in expanding England's ten Community Forests; £1.4 million of planting along rivers through the Environment Agency; Support from the £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund for a range of charity projects to protect and plant trees.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much funding the Government has committed to restoring peatlands in the years (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021 to date.

In July 2017, Defra launched a three-year, £10 million capital grant scheme for peatland restoration in England, funding sites that delivered the greatest potential for greenhouse gas emissions reduction, value for money and maximum environmental benefits.

Last year the Government also committed funds to the Nature for Climate Fund, which introduced a new capital grant scheme for peatland restoration. In advance of the scheme being launched this year, we made a number of investments in peatland restoration projects that were deliverable in 2020/21.

Overall, in the following financial years we committed:

a) 2018/19 - £4,322,935.00

b) 2019/20 - £2,492,607.00

c) 2020/21- £7,351,476.50

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many peatlands have been restored in England in (a) 2019, (b) 2020 and (c) 2021 to date.

Our last Peatland Capital Grant Scheme (2017-2020) allocated £10 million to deliver 6,498 hectares of peatland restoration for projects in England.

Additionally, investment from the Nature for Climate Fund funded 3,448 hectares* of peatland restoration in 2020/21. Alongside our new peatland mapping project, we are currently developing a Peatland Restoration Register which will record all restoration on an England-wide basis.

* This figure uses the data we have currently recorded. We are awaiting final reporting and that figure is expected to be higher.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of banning bottom trawlers and supertrawlers from Marine Protected Areas.

It is essential that all damaging activities are prevented in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Not all fishing activities will require management, only those likely to damage the designated features of a MPA, such as trawling on the seabed. 'Supertrawlers' generally target fish within the water column and so are unlikely to damage the seabed habitats for which most MPAs are designated.

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities assess each MPA site and develop appropriate management measures. 98 MPAs in inshore waters now have management measures in place to protect sensitive features from bottom towed fishing gears. For MPAs in our offshore waters, the MMO has embarked on an ambitious three-year programme to fully manage any harmful fishing activity.

On 8 June 2021, the Government published its response to the Benyon Review into Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs). The Government accepted the central recommendation that we should take forward some pilot sites and we will designate these next year. HPMAs prohibit extractive, destructive, and depositional uses, allowing only non-damaging levels of other activities to the extent permitted by international law. As such, bottom trawlers and super trawlers would not be permitted to fish in HPMAs.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate the Government has made of the number of farmers expected to retire under the Government's proposed exit scheme.

Our proposed lump sum exit scheme will provide support for farmers in England who wish to exit the industry. By doing so, this will free up land for new entrants and those farmers who wish to expand.

In 2018, we undertook a survey of around 1,000 farmers as part of our planning for the Agriculture Act. 6% of those surveyed said they wanted to leave farming but felt they were not able to do so at that time. Financial reasons were given as the main barrier.

There will be a range of factors which will affect individual farmers' decisions about whether they wish to take the lump sum and exit farming. The consultation will be used to gather further evidence about likely uptake.

Our consultation can be found here: https://consult.defra.gov.uk/agricultural-policy/lump-sum-and-delinked-payments-england/. This consultation is open until 11 August 2021.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the proportion of retiring farmers who will be replaced by new entrants.

The Government is currently carrying out a consultation on a proposed lump sum exit scheme for farmers in England (https://consult.defra.gov.uk/agricultural-policy/lump-sum-and-delinked-payments-england/). This consultation is open until 11 August 2021.

We think that, by helping those farmers who wish to retire or leave the industry to do so, this scheme will free up land for both new entrants and expanding farmers. Our consultation will be used to gather evidence of how the scheme could benefit both groups of farmers.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that licenses are granted in a timely manner to operators of the Seasonal Workers Pilot Scheme.

Defra is seeking two new scheme operators, who will join the current operators (Concordia and Pro-Force Limited) in operating the extended and expanded Seasonal Workers Pilot for 2021.

Selecting the additional operators is a two-stage process. Defra conducts the first stage, via a Request for Information exercise. The organisations selected are then endorsed by Defra to apply to the Home Office for the relevant sponsor licence.

Defra is working closely with the Home Office to deliver a good outcome for the sector and we hope to say more on this very soon.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans he has to make the Seasonal Workers Pilot Scheme permanent.

On 22 December 2020, the Government extended the Seasonal Workers Pilot for one year and expanded the number of visas from 10,000 to 30,000.

The extension and expansion of the Pilot for 2021 will allow the Government to further test how the Pilot operates, while helping farmers and growers adjust to changes in the labour market, brought about by the introduction of the Points Based Immigration System on 1 January 2021, and to ease some of the pressure felt on farms when they are at their busiest.

Defra understands the importance of seasonal labour in supporting a successful and effective agricultural and food sector, and is working closely with the Home Office to ensure there is a long-term strategy for the food and farming workforce.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of the Agricultural Transition Plan 2021 to 2024 on (a) uplands and (b) hill farming businesses.

I recognise that the uplands and hill farming businesses face specific issues and challenges. That is why we have designed policies to allow for a managed adjustment, a seven-year transition, that will give farmers and land managers, including in upland areas time to adapt to the changes.

We published two assessments, one in 2018 and again in 2019, and we are planning to publish further analysis by autumn this year. This will analyse farm incomes and how these will change between now and 2027.

Our latest preliminary findings are consistent with previous analysis that is publicly available, and we find that uplands farmers are reliant on Direct Payments, to the extent that their Direct Payments make up essentially all of their annual profit or farm business income.

The analysis also shows that there are opportunities for upland farmers. For instance, uplands farmers currently receive a relatively high proportion of their income through environmental land management environment payments. They are therefore well placed to benefit as more public money is provided through such schemes. In designing these schemes, we know that the payment rates need to be attractive to achieve the levels of uptake and environmental outcomes we need to see as well as set at a fair rate.

There is significant potential for upland farmers to reduce costs and improve businesses practices and we are providing grants and targeted resilience support to facilitate that, as well as investing in longer term measures such as research and development. We also anticipate rent adjustments which could benefit upland tenant farmers.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to increase the (a) resources and (b) powers available to Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Landscapes Review set out a compelling vision for more beautiful, more biodiverse and more accessible National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). We welcome this ambition, as the Government is committed to ensuring that our protected landscapes flourish as havens for nature and are places that everyone can visit and enjoy.

The review set out proposals to strengthen the role of National Parks and AONBs in connecting all people with nature and in building vibrant communities. Protected landscapes already work very closely with their local communities and have a good track record of working with businesses. We recognise, however, that they could do more, and we will continue to work with them to explore how we can support that objective.

Defra has recently informed all protected landscapes that their grant settlement for 2021/22 will be maintained at the same level as 2020/21. Through the new Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme, we are also providing additional investment to allow farmers and land managers to work in partnership with our National Park Authorities and AONB teams to deliver more impact.

The Landscapes Review also recommended that a new financial model is needed for protected landscapes, and proposed strengthening the purposes, powers and resources for AONBs in particular. We are currently working with partner organisations to inform and develop our response to the review, which we will publish in due course.

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, with reference to the Landscapes Review, published September 2019, what plans his Department has to increase funding for National Park Authorities.

The Landscapes Review set out a compelling vision for more beautiful, more biodiverse and more accessible National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). We welcome this ambition, as the Government is committed to ensuring that our protected landscapes flourish as havens for nature and are places that everyone can visit and enjoy.

The review set out proposals to strengthen the role of National Parks and AONBs in connecting all people with nature and in building vibrant communities. Protected landscapes already work very closely with their local communities and have a good track record of working with businesses. We recognise, however, that they could do more, and we will continue to work with them to explore how we can support that objective.

Defra has recently informed all protected landscapes that their grant settlement for 2021/22 will be maintained at the same level as 2020/21. Through the new Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme, we are also providing additional investment to allow farmers and land managers to work in partnership with our National Park Authorities and AONB teams to deliver more impact.

The Landscapes Review also recommended that a new financial model is needed for protected landscapes, and proposed strengthening the purposes, powers and resources for AONBs in particular. We are currently working with partner organisations to inform and develop our response to the review, which we will publish in due course.

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 plans his Department has to strengthen the role that local communities have in National Parks.

The Landscapes Review set out a compelling vision for more beautiful, more biodiverse and more accessible National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). We welcome this ambition, as the Government is committed to ensuring that our protected landscapes flourish as havens for nature and are places that everyone can visit and enjoy.

The review set out proposals to strengthen the role of National Parks and AONBs in connecting all people with nature and in building vibrant communities. Protected landscapes already work very closely with their local communities and have a good track record of working with businesses. We recognise, however, that they could do more, and we will continue to work with them to explore how we can support that objective.

Defra has recently informed all protected landscapes that their grant settlement for 2021/22 will be maintained at the same level as 2020/21. Through the new Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme, we are also providing additional investment to allow farmers and land managers to work in partnership with our National Park Authorities and AONB teams to deliver more impact.

The Landscapes Review also recommended that a new financial model is needed for protected landscapes, and proposed strengthening the purposes, powers and resources for AONBs in particular. We are currently working with partner organisations to inform and develop our response to the review, which we will publish in due course.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that landlords cannot take a disproportionate share of their tenant's delinked farm payments.

Eligibility for delinked payments will be based on a reference period. For example, it may be necessary to have claimed, and been eligible under the Basic Payment Scheme, in a particular scheme year or years. Where land is let to a tenant, it is the tenant and not the landlord who is eligible to use it to claim under Basic Payment Scheme. Similarly, we expect that tenants who received a Basic Payment Scheme payment during the reference period will usually be eligible to receive a delinked payment. We are consulting with the industry on the detail of how delinked payments will work.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which local authorities have taken enforcement action under section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 in each of the last three years.

Defra does not hold information on which local authorities have taken enforcement action under section 46 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 in each of the last three years.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the number of off mains drainage properties which use septic tanks in (a) England and (b) Cumbria.

Mains sewerage systems (operated by the Water and Sewerage Companies) cover around 95% of the population of England. Non-mains sewerage systems (including septic tanks or small private sewage treatment works) serve the remaining 5%.

The then Department of Environment conducted a study in 1994 to estimate the number of properties not on mains drainage. It estimated that there were approximately 700-750,000 such properties in England. It further estimated that approximately 85,000 to be within the North West Region. It did not account for specific numbers for Cumbria.

The Environment Agency has recently begun work to understand how many properties are likely served by private sewerage systems. We do not believe that the figures for either England or the North West Region are likely to have changed significantly in the period since the 1994 study.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many veterinary surgeons hold the required qualifications to carry out export health certification by (a) type of qualification and (b) geographic area.

The number of Official Veterinarians (OVs) holding Official Control Qualifications (OCQs) for export certification are listed below. OCQs permit OVs to certify exports for specific commodities only but OVs may hold more than one OCQ. OVs may work across geographical boundaries. In addition, 1043 Food Competent Certifying Officers working in 153 different Local Authorities across Great Britain can certify some exports and therefore contribute towards certification capacity.

OCQ

England

Wales

Scotland

Total

Ex – Exports General*

2004

189

295

2448

AX - Avian Exports

143

6

28

177

CA - Companion Animals

5971

447

610

7028

EQ - Equine Exports

422

14

11

447

GX - Germinal Products Exports

92

4

7

103

PX - Product Exports

970

118

149

1237

SX - Small Animal Exports

324

36

77

437

UX - Ungulate Exports

441

69

132

642

*This course is a prerequisite for the other exports courses and may be sufficient in cases where no further training is required (e.g. for the export of insects or live fish).

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which body will be responsible for the (a) monitoring and (b) approval of imports into the UK to ensure compliance with UK standards on (a) animal welfare, (b) food safety and (c) environmental protection after the end of the transition period; and if he will make a statement.

The delivery of import controls for animals, plants and their products is carried out by the Animal and Plant Health Agency and Port Health Authorities. This will continue to be the case after the Transition Period and we will deliver the same high level of protection as we do now.

After the Transition Period, the UK will maintain its own autonomous sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regime to protect the public, animal and plant life and health and the environment, reflecting its existing high standards. We will repatriate the functions of audit and inspections to ensure that trading partners, including those we secure trade deals with, continue to meet our import conditions. This will provide a standing, robust system that will work alongside border controls to maintain our high standards going forward.

I am pleased that the Government has agreed to the establishment of a Trade and Agriculture Commission, the details of which have now been published by the Department for International Trade. This will ensure that the UK's trade policy fully considers our agricultural industry and our commitment to maintain our high standards. We are on the side of UK farmers in trade negotiations and this Government will work hard to ensure any future trade deals are in their best interests and will prioritise both food production and our world-leading environmental targets.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what processes his Department plan to introduce after the conclusion of the Trade and Agriculture Commission to assessing the sanitary and phytosanitary treatments that (a) traders and (b) third party countries have used in their production processes for food imported into the UK; and if will he make a statement.

The delivery of import controls for animals, plants and their products is carried out by the Animal and Plant Health Agency and Port Health Authorities. This will continue to be the case after the Transition Period and we will deliver the same high level of protection as we do now.

After the Transition Period, the UK will maintain its own autonomous sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regime to protect the public, animal and plant life and health and the environment, reflecting its existing high standards. We will repatriate the functions of audit and inspections to ensure that trading partners, including those we secure trade deals with, continue to meet our import conditions. This will provide a standing, robust system that will work alongside border controls to maintain our high standards going forward.

I am pleased that the Government has agreed to the establishment of a Trade and Agriculture Commission, the details of which have now been published by the Department for International Trade. This will ensure that the UK's trade policy fully considers our agricultural industry and our commitment to maintain our high standards. We are on the side of UK farmers in trade negotiations and this Government will work hard to ensure any future trade deals are in their best interests and will prioritise both food production and our world-leading environmental targets.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what discussions (a) he and (b) his officials have had with counterparts in the Department for International Trade on the introduction of dual tariffs to protect UK (a) animal welfare, (b) food safety and (c) environmental protection standards in relation to imports; and if he will make a statement.

I am proud to have stood on a manifesto commitment that in all of our trade negotiations, we will not compromise on our high environmental protection, animal welfare and food safety standards. The Secretary of State and the Secretary of State for International Trade, and officials from both departments, are working together to deliver that commitment.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the proportion of National Parks' income that will be lost through reduced car parking charge receipts during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has been working with the National Park Authorities (NPAs) collectively, individually and through National Parks England from the outset to understand the impacts of COVID-19. We are ensuring that Parks make full use of the existing Government support schemes available to them. We will continue to engage closely with each NPA to assess the level of further support required.

As part of our engagement with NPAs we have gathered information to understand impacts to their revenue. We do not, however, have a breakdown by NPA of car parking revenue.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he will take to support National Parks who have lost income during the covid-19 outbreak after the lockdown finishes.

The Government has been working with the National Park Authorities (NPAs) collectively, individually and through National Parks England from the outset to understand the impacts of COVID-19. We are ensuring that Parks make full use of the existing Government support schemes available to them. We will continue to engage closely with each NPA to assess the level of further support required.

As part of our engagement with NPAs we have gathered information to understand impacts to their revenue. We do not, however, have a breakdown by NPA of car parking revenue.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with supermarket retailers on providing delivery services to people without access to online shopping during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry during disruption to supply situations. Our retailers already have highly resilient supply chains and they are working around the clock to ensure people have the food and products they need.

To help industry respond to this unprecedented demand we have introduced new measures to keep food supply flowing. We have issued guidance to local authorities to allow extended delivery hours to supermarkets so that shelves can be filled up more quickly, and we have implemented extensions to drivers’ hours. We are also temporarily relaxing certain elements of competition law to ensure retailers are able to collaborate effectively in the national interest, for example by sharing distribution depots and delivery vans.

We are in close contact with representatives across the food supply chain and civil society to discuss further ways to help with their preparations, in particular to look at supporting those who have to stay at home, including people without access to online shopping. Supermarkets are recruiting more staff and limiting shopping hours so they have more time to restock. They are working hard to deliver a crucial service for us all and have also issued a rallying call for everyone to play their part in the national effort to this response by looking out for their friends, family and neighbours.

The Government is working to ensure that up to 1.5 million people in England identified by the NHS as being at higher risk of severe illness if they contract Coronavirus will have access to the food they need. A new Local Support System will make sure those individuals self-isolating at home and who are without a support network of friends and family will receive basic groceries. The Government is working with a partnership of the groceries industry, local Government, local resilience forums and emergency partners, and voluntary groups, to ensure that essential items can start to be delivered as soon as possible to those who need it.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what the planned timescale is for the Environmental Land Management scheme pilot and what progress has been made on that pilot to date.

The Environmental Land Management (ELM) National Pilot will be the means by which Defra will pilot, at scale, the new ELM scheme, in real world situations with a wide range of farmers, foresters and other land managers. The first agreements with those taking part in the Pilot are planned to begin formally in late 2021. The Pilot is planned to run for three years until ELM is launched in late 2024 and will provide an important opportunity for farmers, foresters and other land managers to be involved in shaping the scheme.

The Pilot will be undertaken in close consultation with relevant stakeholders. Detailed proposals on what will be included in the Pilot are currently being developed.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the recent outbreak of coronavirus, if she will bring forward proposals to (a) prevent animal disease and (b) ensure animal (i) health and (ii) welfare in the Agriculture Bill.

While the initial cases of coronavirus may have been through contact with wildlife in China, this is now a human to human transmission cycle and there is no evidence for the infection in livestock in any affected country. We continue to monitor the situation.

The Agriculture Bill was introduced to Parliament on 16 January. The Bill gives the Secretary of State the power to make payments to protect and improve the health and welfare of livestock, as well as to collect and share data relating to livestock health and traceability.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of routine vaccination in livestock; and whether she will provide support to farmers delivering a preventative approach to livestock disease.

Where considered appropriate by a vet and farmer, vaccination has a role to play in preventing diseases in livestock. We know that the majority of farmers have animal health plans and good biosecurity measures in place, but there is a clear opportunity to go further.

We are working with industry and veterinary representatives to develop practical actions to help reduce the impact of endemic diseases on livestock and improve animal health. We will also work to improve the breadth and detail of animal health data gathered.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment she has made on the effect of preventable disease on the (a) health, (b) welfare, (c) productivity and (d) sustainability of agriculture.

Improving animal health through addressing endemic diseases will improve the welfare of livestock and reduce the need to use antibiotics. It can also significantly improve productivity on farm; endemic livestock diseases are estimated to cost the English livestock industry between £290 million and £710 million per year.

Improving animal health will contribute to the UK five-year action plan for tackling anti-microbial resistance and the 25 Year Environment Plan commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from livestock.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department is taking to help facilitate the export of British farm produce to Australia.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) is helping our farmers and food producers to capitalise on the demand for British food and drink in Australia and elsewhere in the world. DIT is working with organisations such as the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, farmers’ unions and the Food and Drink Federation to deliver tailored support for agriculture and food exporters through our Open Doors programme. We are also looking carefully at what further export support we can put in place, in response to the recommendations from the Trade and Agriculture Commission.

17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what her policy is on the UK seeking trade deals with other countries similar to those terms negotiated with Australia.

Building on the success of the UK’s recent Agreement in Principle with Australia, the Government will continue to pursue deals with the New Zealand and the US. The Government is progressing plans to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and has recently launched public consultations for Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with India, Canada and Mexico.

The Government will continue to use a range of trade policy tools to strengthen bilateral trading relations with economic and strategic partners across the world. This includes exploring the options for new FTAs.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she plans to work with the Leader of the House to bring any proposed trade deal with Australia to the House to be scrutinised before it is signed.

The Government has put a suite of enhanced scrutiny arrangements in place to allow for appropriate scrutiny by Parliament. This includes:

  • publishing negotiating objectives and economic scoping assessments before starting negotiations;
  • regular statements to Parliament;

At the conclusion of negotiations, there will be opportunity for scrutiny of the final deal, including time for the relevant Select Committees and the Trade and Agriculture Commission to produce their reports on the deal. Parliament can resolve against ratification of a treaty under the scrutiny processes set out under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. Any legislative changes required to give effect to the free trade agreement will need to be scrutinised and passed by Parliament in the usual way before ratification of the agreement can take place.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
26th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps her Department plans to take to monitor the potential effect of the UK's proposed free trade deal with Australia on the farming industry (a) before and (b) after negotiations on such a trade deal have been agreed.

The Department’s economic analysis, published on 17 June 2020, seeks to identify the long-term scale of the additional benefit to the UK from having a deal with Australia. This included an assessment of the impact on the agriculture industry.

Following the conclusion of negotiations, the Government will update this analysis and publish a full impact assessment prior to ratification of the agreement.

HM Government has been clear that any deal with Australia must work for UK consumers, producers, and companies, and will not undercut UK farmers or compromise our high standards. HM Government will also stand firm in our negotiations to ensure any future trade deal supports the livelihoods of farmers and the interests of consumers across the UK.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will bring forward her legislative proposals for a Trade and Agriculture Commission.

The Trade and Agriculture Commission is an advisory board. As such, no legislation is required.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many meetings (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have had with the haulage industry since the beginning of 2021.

Secretary of State for Transport has met with representatives of the road haulage industry five times during 2021.

Transport Ministers have also held an additional thirteen meetings with the haulage industry in 2021. This includes a roundtable on addressing the driver shortage jointly held by Minister for Transport Baroness Vere and Employment Minister, Mims Davies MP.

In addition to these meetings, representatives of the road haulage industry meet with Departmental officials on a biweekly basis.

Trudy Harrison
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, if he will publish the total amount spent by his Department to research the impact of ending free movement on the haulage industry.

The Department for Transport has regular discussions with the road haulage industry. We are working together to address the current HGV driver shortage, which is an issue common to many European countries.

The Government has already taken firm action, including through training for jobseekers, additional funding for apprenticeships, and taking measures to increase lorry driver testing capacity to bring new drivers into the industry as soon as possible.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to ensure that HS2 Phase 2b delivers a net gain in biodiversity; and how that net gain will be quantified.

In June 2021, the government announced its commitment that HS2 will aim to deliver a net gain in biodiversity for the HS2 Crewe-Manchester phase, going beyond the existing target to deliver no net loss of biodiversity.

HS2 Ltd reports to DfT on quantification of biodiversity delivery. HS2 Ltd is employing a Defra metric-based approach ('the HS2 Metric'). This metric was last updated in 2020 for Phase 2b to capture the functionality incorporated in the latest Defra biodiversity metric tool at the time (Biodiversity Metric 2.0).

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to introduce a specific support package for the coach industry during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are encouraging coach operators to make use of the wide range of support measures the Chancellor announced. These amount to £330 billion of loans and guarantees for businesses. We are continuing to engage with the coach sector to understand what the ongoing risks and issues are, and how these could be addressed in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans he has to introduce a stop for High Speed Two at Oxenholme station.

The Department has awarded the West Coast Partnership franchise to First Trenitalia. As well as operating existing conventional services, they are also acting as the Shadow Operator for HS2 services. In this role they will provide advice to the Department regarding the optimum train service that should operate on the West Coast Main Line once HS2 opens, to best serve towns and cities on the route, based on their knowledge and analysis of passenger demand. A final decision on train services will not be made until the appropriate timetable development process begins.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
14th Sep 2020
What steps she is taking with Cabinet colleagues to (a) tackle unemployment and (b) promote job retention in the tourism and hospitality sector.

The Government’s Job Retention and Eat Out to Help Out schemes have provided unprecedented support to the tourism and hospitality sector

The August 2020 statistics[1] show that the accommodation and food services sector has seen 77% of employments furloughed, with over £4.7 billion claimed through CJRS. 87% of employers in this sector have furloughed at least one employment.

By midnight on 31 August more than 100 million meals were eaten by diners as part of Eat Out to Help Out, with the 84,700 establishments signed up to the scheme making 130,000 claims worth £522 million[2].

For those in the sector that have unfortunately been made unemployed, I am working with colleagues from across government to ensure these people can access support to pivot into sectors where jobs are available.

More widely, my department is working closely with other government departments, external organisations and local partners to support people into work. The Kickstart scheme was recently announced to help young people aged 16-24 find 6-month work places, while the start of Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) and Job Finding Support Service will follow.

As my Rt Hon Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer set out in his Plans for Jobs statement[3] in July, DWP is also doubling the number of work coaches in Job Centres to help provide the urgent support needed for jobseekers to find work, including those in the tourism and hospitality sector.

As well as this, DWP designed two websites that were launched in April, Jobhelp and Employer Help, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, recognising both a radically different labour market as some sectors contract and others expand. Jobhelp[4] offers job search advice, showcases recruiting sectors and signposts to job vacancies to help people successfully find work.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/coronavirus-job-retention-scheme-statistics-august-2020

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-diners-eat-100-million-meals-to-protect-2-million-jobs

[3] https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/a-plan-for-jobs-2020

[4] https://jobhelp.campaign.gov.uk/

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to waive National Insurance requirements in determining the eligibility of claimants for social security in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

As both the Prime Minister and Chancellor have made clear, the Government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID 19 and we have been clear in our intention that no one should be penalised for doing the right thing. These are rapidly developing circumstances, we continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has plans to pay universal credit to claimants on the day of application as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Department is monitoring the adequacy of its response to the spread of COVID-19 closely and is determined to provide effective financial support to people
across the country during this challenging period. Further measures will be taken if shown to be necessary.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she has plans to pay employment and support allowance to claimants on the first day of application as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Those applying for Contributory ESA are able to claim from day 1 – as opposed to day 8. And we have removed the need for face-to-face assessment.

17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to reduce the number of visits needed to complete a full course of radiotherapy treatment.

Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR), which can be delivered over fewer treatments than standard radiotherapy, is now available as a treatment for lung cancer patients in every radiotherapy provider. Over 3,600 patients benefited from this treatment in 2020-21 and work is ongoing to complete the SABR expansion programme.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to update reimbursement tariffs to incentivise a transition to adaptive radiotherapy.

The NHS Long Term Plan set out NHS England and NHS Improvement’s commitment to review the national tariff, in particular to ensure that appropriate incentives are in place to encourage providers to deliver modern techniques and to upgrade and replace equipment. This work has been delayed due to the pandemic.

Maria Caulfield
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps he has taken with Cabinet colleagues to support cross-Government working on older people’s housing and care.

The Government will invest in supported housing, as well as exploring other innovative housing solutions to support more people to live independently at home for longer. The Department of Health and Social Care works closely with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions to increase both the supply and quality of supported housing. We are engaging closely with both the sector and a range of other stakeholders including considering the merits of different engagement and delivery models such as proposals for a cross-Government taskforce.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government plans to establish a cross-government task force on housing with care.

The Government will invest in supported housing, as well as exploring other innovative housing solutions to support more people to live independently at home for longer. The Department of Health and Social Care works closely with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department for Work and Pensions to increase both the supply and quality of supported housing. We are engaging closely with both the sector and a range of other stakeholders including considering the merits of different engagement and delivery models such as proposals for a cross-Government taskforce.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to improve the primary health care estate.

The Department and NHS England and Improvement will discuss the need for improvements in the NHS estate, including primary health care, ahead of the next Spending Review. Further infrastructure funding, and how it will be allocated, will also be confirmed.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the role of radiotherapy in tackling the cancer backlog induced by the covid-19 outbreak.

No formal assessment has been made of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Radiotherapy’s report and we have no plans to adopt these recommendations. Action Radiotherapy’s flash survey will be taken into consideration alongside existing programmes of work. Health Education England’s Cancer Workforce Plan commits to the expansion of capacity and skills across six professions by 2021, including clinical radiology.

During the pandemic, the National Health Service has significantly increased the use of new radiotherapy methods to deliver targeted treatment in fewer hospital visits. Maximising capacity and minimising patient time in hospital, particularly through the use of fewer fractions, remain important in the recovery of cancer services. In addition, £32 million has been made available from the Spending Review 2020 to support the replacement of radiotherapy equipment in 2021-22.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the implications for its policies of the findings of Action Radiotherapy’s flash survey on radiotherapy and the radiotherapy workforce from May 2021; and whether he plans to use those findings to inform his Department’s work on radiotherapy.

No formal assessment has been made of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Radiotherapy’s report and we have no plans to adopt these recommendations. Action Radiotherapy’s flash survey will be taken into consideration alongside existing programmes of work. Health Education England’s Cancer Workforce Plan commits to the expansion of capacity and skills across six professions by 2021, including clinical radiology.

During the pandemic, the National Health Service has significantly increased the use of new radiotherapy methods to deliver targeted treatment in fewer hospital visits. Maximising capacity and minimising patient time in hospital, particularly through the use of fewer fractions, remain important in the recovery of cancer services. In addition, £32 million has been made available from the Spending Review 2020 to support the replacement of radiotherapy equipment in 2021-22.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an assessment of the implications for his policies of the findings of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Radiotherapy’s report entitled Catch Up With Cancer - The Way Forward; whether he plans to adopt those recommendations; and if he will make a statement.

No formal assessment has been made of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Radiotherapy’s report and we have no plans to adopt these recommendations. Action Radiotherapy’s flash survey will be taken into consideration alongside existing programmes of work. Health Education England’s Cancer Workforce Plan commits to the expansion of capacity and skills across six professions by 2021, including clinical radiology.

During the pandemic, the National Health Service has significantly increased the use of new radiotherapy methods to deliver targeted treatment in fewer hospital visits. Maximising capacity and minimising patient time in hospital, particularly through the use of fewer fractions, remain important in the recovery of cancer services. In addition, £32 million has been made available from the Spending Review 2020 to support the replacement of radiotherapy equipment in 2021-22.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether EU nationals living in the UK before 31 December 2020, who go on to be granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme, will be (a) liable for chargeable healthcare as set out in NHS Charging Regulations Guidance or (b) entitled to free healthcare.

Citizens of a European Union country, and their family members who were lawfully residing in the United Kingdom by 31 December 2020 will keep their right to healthcare on the same basis as UK residents, as long as they meet the ordinary residence test. From 1 July 2021, they must have been granted settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

An individual who is eligible to apply to the EUSS but who has not submitted an application by 30 June 2021 will be chargeable. If they receive and pay for relevant services, and then later make a late application which is granted, they will not be refunded for the earlier treatment.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps the Government is taking to tackle the increase over the last 10 years in the number of people with eating disorders.

In 2016, we set up the first waiting time standard for children and young people eating disorder services so that 95% of children with an eating disorder will receive treatment within one week for urgent cases and within four weeks for routine cases. Under the NHS Long Term Plan, extra funding is going into children and young people's community eating disorder services every year, with £53 million per year from 2021/22. This extra funding will enhance the development of more than 70 new or improved community eating disorder teams covering the whole of the country.

For adults, we will invest an extra £1 billion in community mental health care for adults with severe mental illness, such as eating disorders, by 2023/24. In addition, we announced that in 2021/22 the NHS will receive an additional £500 million, which will support people with a variety of mental health conditions, including eating disorders. Of this, £79 million will be used to significantly expand children’s mental health services, including allowing 2,000 more children and young people to access eating disorder services and £58 million to bring forward the expansion of integrated primary and secondary care for adults with severe mental illness, including eating disorders.

NHS England has also announced additional early intervention services for young people aged 16 to 25 years old with eating disorders in 18 areas across the country, so young adults seeking support could be contacted within 48 hours and begin treatment within two weeks.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that funding allocated to CCGs for eating disorder services for children and young people are ringfenced.

While funding provided for eating disorder services is not ringfenced, NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to work with mental health leads from local systems, Health Education England and other partners across the health system to support local services and help ensure the funding flows to these services as intended.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure consistency in the quality and funding of eating disorders services in different areas of the country in the context of devolution to CCGs.

The funding and provision of health services, including eating disorder services, are the responsibility of local clinical commissioning groups and they have the flexibility to allocate funding according to local need. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with partners across the health system to support local services and help ensure the funding flows to these services as outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan. NHS England and NHS Improvement will review system plans against expected trajectories, seek assurance on any major divergences and establish recovery plans where needed.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what additional funding has been provided for NHS eating disorders services to support schemes aimed to reduce increased inpatient admissions throughout the covid-19 outbreak.

Since 2016, extra funding has been provided for children and young people's community eating disorder services, with £41 million in 2019/20 and £53 million in 2021/22. NHS England and NHS Improvement are working with partners across the health system to support local services and help ensure the funding flows to these services as outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan.

During COVID-19, NHS England and NHS Improvement advised all areas to continue prioritisation of service delivery and mitigate the potential impact of COVID-19 on this vulnerable group. We announced that in 2021/22 the National Health Service will receive an additional £500 million, which will support people with a variety of mental health conditions, including eating disorders.

Of this extra funding £79 million will be used to significantly expand children’s mental health services, including allowing 2,000 more children and young people to access eating disorder services and £58 million to bring forward the expansion of integrated primary and secondary care for adults with severe mental illness, including eating disorders. In addition, NHS England announced additional early intervention services for young people aged 16 to 25 years old with eating disorders in 18 areas across the country.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which NHS trusts have been allocated transformation funding for the eating disorders pathway since 2019-20.

The information requested is held at local sustainability and transformation partnership (STP) or integrated care system (ICS) level.

In 2019/20 and 2020/21 transformation funding was made available to twelve ‘early implementer’ sites to test, evaluate and refine new models of integrated primary and community care for adults with severe mental health problems. Of these, eight sites focussed on transforming care for adults with eating disorders. The eight sites were Hertfordshire and West Essex STP; Cambridgeshire and Peterborough STP; Cheshire and Merseyside STP; South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ICS; Herefordshire and Worcestershire STP; North East London STP; North West London STP; and Somerset STP.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
21st May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to publish the preliminary results from the four week waiting time pilot for adult community mental health services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement is testing four-week waiting time standards as part of the delivery of new models of integrated primary and community mental health care. Twelve early implementer sites were selected in 2019-20 to pilot the new models over 2 years and test four-week waiting times as part of this transformation.

Timescales for publication of this early implementer learning is under review as the pandemic significantly impacted the timeline for these early implementer sites. However testing has now resumed in all sites and learning is being collated at a national level. These insights will be fed into the national CRS programme.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 15 February 2021 to Question 149173 on Cancer: Medical Treatments, how much of the additional £1 billion made available at the 2020 Spending Review to help tackle the elective backlog will be allocated directly to addressing the cancer backlog.

The Department does not hold the information requested.

Funding allocations for services is a decision for local service providers, though cancer funding continues to be a priority.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much of the additional £6.6 billion made available to the NHS until September 2021, announced on 18 March 2021, will be allocated to cancer services and tackling the cancer backlog.

The Department does not hold the information requested.

Funding allocations for services is a decision for local service providers, though cancer funding continues to be a priority.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department plans to publish any documents developed during the covid-19 outbreak on NHS strategy for surge capacity and triage.

The Department has no plans to publish further documents specifically on National Health Service surge capacity and triage. The Department continues to work closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement, including on the planning guidance for the service for 2021- 2022.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if his Department will publish NHS England's 2017 'NHS Surge and Triage' guidance document.

The Department has no plans to publish NHS England’s 2017 ‘NHS Surge and Triage’ document as publication would, at this time, prejudice the conduct of public affairs.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the funding allocated to dementia research.

The Government’s Challenge on Dementia 2020 contained the commitment to spend £300 million on dementia research over the five years to March 2020. This commitment was delivered a year early with £344 million spent on dementia research over the four years to 31 March 2019. We are currently working on ways to significantly boost further research on dementia at all stages on the translation pathway including medical and care interventions.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 18 November 2020 to Question 113045 on Exercise Cygnus, for what reason his Department determined that the publication of the Exercise Cygnus report might negatively impact the response to the covid-19 outbreak.

When assessing the public interest in publication of the Exercise Cygnus report, the Department sought advice from across Government on whether any part of the report was being used to develop policies to respond to COVID-19 or contained detail that might, if released during current pandemic, introduce uncertainty relating to our COVID-19 response.

Based on this advice, the cross-Government decision was made that publication was in the public interest and the full report of Exercise Cygnus was published on 20 October 2020.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many hospitals he plans to replace the Royal Preston and Lancaster Royal Infirmary hospitals with.

The Health Infrastructure Plan set out the Government’s approach to long-term investment in our healthcare system to ensure staff and patients continue to have access to world class facilities. In line with this, the Department provided both the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust with £3.7 million each of seed funding to kick-start their schemes and to support both trusts in their development of plans for improving facilities for the staff and patients of the their communities, looking at potential rebuild options for the Royal Preston Infirmary, the Lancaster Royal Infirmary and Furness General Hospital.

The two neighbouring trusts have been, and continue to, work in close collaboration to develop different options for how to proceed that represent the best outcome for the area as a whole, which may include an option for two separate hospitals. These plans are in the early stage of their development and when developed further, will be subject to public consultation as an integral part in developing the collective and cohesive strategy.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the efficacy of wearing masks while singing for the reduction of transmission of covid-19.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have produced guidance for different organisational sectors aimed at making their workplaces COVID-19-secure; this includes specific guidance for the performing arts, which is available at GOV.UK.

When and where national and local restrictions permit the opening of theatres and concert halls, performers must wear a face covering at all times other than when in the course of their employment or in the course of providing their services, for example during rehearsals and performances. Members of the public in these venues must wear face coverings; as must staff in indoor areas where they are likely to come into contact with customers.

The Government will keep the face covering regulations under review and will take further action if needed.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the full findings of Exercise Cygnus.

The document ‘Exercise Cygnus Report: Tier One Command Post Exercise Pandemic Influenza 18 to 20 October 2016’, published on 20 October 2020, is the complete report of the exercise setting out all the lessons identified.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has made an assessment of the radiotherapy backlog from Public Health England’s latest Radiotherapy Dataset.

The Radiotherapy Dataset does not collect data on delayed or cancelled radiotherapy treatments relating to COVID-19 or have a count of patients who may be in a cancer treatment backlog.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to page 20 of the NHS mental health implementation plan 2019-20 to 2023-4, what the timeline is for introducing a comprehensive offer for 0-25 year olds that reaches across mental health services for children and young people and adults in South Lakeland.

The Children and Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Transformation Programme for Lancashire and South Cumbria has as its goal to define an integrated emotional and mental health offer for 0-25 year olds. The initial phase of the programme has resulted in a redesigned model of emotional and mental health services based on the THRIVE model for 0-19 year olds, which has been co-produced with service users and carers. Phased implementation of this model is planned to begin from February 2021.

From April 2021, the intention is to commence work to define the offer for 0-25 year olds that reaches across mental health services for children, young people and young adults, providing an integrated approach across health, social care, education and the voluntary sector.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Public Health England report published on 20 October 2020 the only report that exists on the findings of Exercise Cygnus.

Public Health England was commissioned by the Department to organise, deliver and evaluate Exercise Cygnus. ‘Exercise Cygnus Report: Tier One Command Post Exercise Pandemic Influenza 18 to 20 October 2016’, published on 20 October 2020, is the complete report of the exercise setting out all the lessons identified.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason the report into Exercise Cygnus was not published until 20 October 2020.

The Government does not routinely publish reports on exercises. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a degree of public interest in the report of Exercise Cygnus.

Prior to publishing the report on Exercise Cygnus and its outcomes, the Department engaged with officials from a range of Government departments and agencies to determine whether publication during the current pandemic was in the public interest. The Department took a cautious approach to publication because of the risk that the response to the current pandemic could be negatively impacted.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the latest Public Health England Radiotherapy Dataset; and whether he plans to publish that dataset.

NHS England and NHS Improvement and Public Health England are jointly developing a Radiotherapy Data Set (RTDS) Partnership which will be a multi-year agreement to use and enhance the RTDS so that it supports both radiotherapy networks and NHS England and NHS Improvement to improve services and quality. The partnership has a number of workstreams including improving data reporting; developing data to support reductions in variations in access and support clinical care excellence; and developing the knowledge base on outcomes relating to innovative and specialist radiotherapy treatments.

A variety of aggregated data and analyses of the RTDS are available at the following link:

https://www.cancerdata.nhs.uk/radiotherapy

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Written Statement of 20 October 2020, HCWS526 on Report on Exercise on Pandemic preparedness, if he will publish (a) when and (b) how the Government implemented each of the 22 recommendations of Exercise Cygnus.

The Government accepted all 22 recommendations of Exercise Cygnus and actions have been taken forward on all them as part of our pandemic preparedness plans, working across Government and with stakeholders. Specifically, these actions included:

- working across the whole of Government and with the devolved administrations to develop draft legislation to support the response to a future influenza pandemic; and

- improving plans within health and care sectors to flex systems and resources to expand beyond normal capacity levels.

Due to the nature of Exercise Cygnus, we have no plans to publish further details of how and when these actions have been taken forward as releasing the information could prejudice the safeguarding of national security.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding he plans to allocate to replacement of linear accelerator radiotherapy machines in use by NHS trusts that are past the recommended 10-year lifespan; and if he will make a statement.

Future National Health Service capital funding will be determined as part of the Department’s multi-year settlement at the next Spending Review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to allocate funding for the replacement of radiotherapy machines in use in NHS trusts that are past the recommended 10-year lifespan in 2021-22; and if he will make a statement.

Future National Health Service capital funding will be determined as part of the Department’s multi-year settlement at the next Spending Review.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effect of covid-19 on the cancer treatment backlog; and what estimate he has made of the number of people waiting for (a) cancer treatment, (b) cancer screening, (c) diagnosis and (d) out patients cancer appointments in the latest period for which figures are available.

NHS England is committed to monitoring cancer waiting times on a provider level and publishes monthly statistics on cancer waiting times and treatments. These can be found at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/cancer-waiting-times/

Restoring full operation of all cancer services is a key commitment of the COVID-19 response, as set out in NHS England’s letters dated 10 June and 31 July 2020 at the following links:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/second-phase-of-nhs-response-to-covid-19-for-cancer-services/

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/07/20200731-Phase-3-letter-final-1.pdf

In July 2020, 95.1% of patients with a decision to treat a first treatment of cancer received treatment within 31 days.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people are able to meet inside from 4 July 2020 from different households if they are able to remain socially distanced.

Since 13 June, single adult households - in other words adults who live alone or with dependent children only - can form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household. All those in a support bubble will be able to spend time together inside each other’s homes, including overnight, without needing to stay two metres apart.

From 4 July people can meet in groups of up to two households (a support bubble counts as one household) in any location - public or private, indoors or outdoors, in any setting and this includes staying overnight. All those in a support bubble can spend time together inside each other’s homes and can act as if they live in the same household.

People in a support bubble do not need to observe social distancing guidelines when they spend time with each other but should limit indoor meetings so are only meeting one other household at a time, in addition to a support bubble (if they have one). There is no limit on the size of either household.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether one household is able to stay overnight in another household's home.

Since 13 June, single adult households - in other words adults who live alone or with dependent children only - can form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household. All those in a support bubble will be able to spend time together inside each other’s homes, including overnight, without needing to stay two metres apart.

From 4 July people can meet in groups of up to two households (a support bubble counts as one household) in any location - public or private, indoors or outdoors, in any setting and this includes staying overnight. All those in a support bubble can spend time together inside each other’s homes and can act as if they live in the same household.

People in a support bubble do not need to observe social distancing guidelines when they spend time with each other but should limit indoor meetings so are only meeting one other household at a time, in addition to a support bubble (if they have one). There is no limit on the size of either household.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether two households meeting in a home after 4 July 2020 are advised to remain one meter apart.

Since 13 June, single adult households - in other words adults who live alone or with dependent children only - can form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household. All those in a support bubble will be able to spend time together inside each other’s homes, including overnight, without needing to stay two metres apart.

From 4 July people can meet in groups of up to two households (a support bubble counts as one household) in any location - public or private, indoors or outdoors, in any setting and this includes staying overnight. All those in a support bubble can spend time together inside each other’s homes and can act as if they live in the same household.

People in a support bubble do not need to observe social distancing guidelines when they spend time with each other but should limit indoor meetings so are only meeting one other household at a time, in addition to a support bubble (if they have one). There is no limit on the size of either household.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
8th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what information his Department holds on the number of patients who have had shorter courses of breast radiotherapy as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The data requested is not currently available.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
5th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the planned timescale is for the roll-out of Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy; and if he will make a statement.

NHS England and NHS Improvement expect that all radiotherapy providers will be able to deliver Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy to treat non-small cell lung cancer as well as lung, lymph node and non-spine bone oligometastatic disease by March 2021.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of civil servants working on procurement of personal protective equipment for (a) the NHS, (b) social care settings and (c) workplaces where employees are required to be physically present for work during the covid-19 outbreak.

As set out in the ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): personal protective equipment (PPE) plan’ published on 10 April, we have taken a centralised approach to the procurement of PPE, to limit the potential for different parts of the health and social care sector to compete against each other and push prices up further

The Government has set up a cross-Government PPE sourcing unit, now staffed by over 400 people, to secure new supply lines from across the world and has published rigorous standards against which purchases will be made.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of civil servants working on the (a) development and (b) distribution of a covid-19 vaccine.

The Department has not made an estimate of the number of civil servants working on development and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine because it is a cross-Government effort, covering all aspects of vaccine development and delivery, and includes people from a wide range of departments and organisations, led by the new Vaccines Taskforce.

This includes, but is not limited to, civil servants in the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy, the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for International Development, Her Majesty’s Treasury and Cabinet Office. This is in addition to people in the Medical Research Council looking at early stage Research and Development, the National Institute for Health Research supporting clinical trials, the Office for Life Sciences on working with industry, and those in Public Health England working on areas such as vaccine procurement, contracting, and training.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has plans to introduce 24 hour and seven days a week mental health support for (a) health and (b) care workers.

Mental health support is currently available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for National Health Service and social care staff. All keyworkers, including NHS and social care staff, can access ‘Our Frontline’. ‘Our Frontline’ is a collaboration of charities providing 24 hours a day, seven days a week one-to-one mental health support, via call or text, from a trained respondent.

NHS and social care staff can also access a free wellbeing support helpline, available 7am-11pm, providing emotional support and onward signposting to specialist financial advice, bereavement care and coaching. If health and care staff call outside of these hours, they will be able to speak confidentially to a Samaritans volunteer.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of civil servants supporting the (a) development and (b) deployment of anti-viral drugs to reduce covid-19 symptoms.

The pursuit of safe and effective COVID-19 treatments is a cross-Government effort from people in UK Research and Innovation looking at early stage research and development, to those in the National Institute for Health Research supporting clinical trials, and the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England overseeing medicine supply, manufacturing and procurement strategies.

The Therapeutics Taskforce is driving forward, expediting and co-ordinating efforts to research, produce and distribute safe and effective COVID-19 treatments to patients as soon as possible.

We estimate that there are at least 50 civil servants (27.4 full-time equivalents) working across the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and PHE on the development and deployment of treatments for COVID-19. It is not possible to segregate this figure for anti-viral drugs only.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the Prime Minister's statement of 16 March 2020 that pregnant women should avoid unnecessary social contact and the Government's policy not to compel employers to furlough pregnant employees; and what steps he is taking to protect the health of pregnant women during the covid-10 outbreak.

COVID-19 is a new disease and we are continually reviewing the emerging scientific evidence.

Due to a lack of evidence around how COVID-19 may affect pregnant women, we, as a precaution, encourage pregnant women to carefully follow social distancing advice and to have an individual discussion with their employers about their working arrangements.

We have discussed, and will continue to discuss, the evidence around COVID-19 and pregnancy with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and other experts.

We recognise that it is important for women to consider their own individual circumstances with their obstetrician or midwife and with their employer in terms of safely managing their pregnancy and work environment.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to (a) source clinically approved covid-19 tests from UK companies, (b) introduce a mechanism to allow those companies to apply for the covid-19 tests they produce to be clinically approved and introduced into circulation and (c) publish the requirements necessary for covid-19 tests to be clinically approved for use.

We have established a web portal for manufacturers of tests from any country to register their interest in supplying COVID-19 tests to the United Kingdom. Through our work in Pillar 5 on the UK Industrial Strategy, we are supporting a number of earlier-stage UK-based companies to develop their clinical evidence bases, obtain regulatory approval, and commercialise their offers.

Once a company registers a test via the online portal, it is reviewed by a panel of clinical experts. The most promising tests are put forward for independent clinical evaluation.

We have published Target Product Profiles for Serology testing, which we continually update, to inform the market of our testing requirements. Through our web portal and crowd sourcing challenge platform, we also flag the types of innovation in Molecular testing that we are trying to identify.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which UK businesses have contacted the Government with offers to produce personal protective equipment (PPE); what process the Government used to assess these offers; which offers were accepted; and when PPE from those successful offers will be available for use.

As of 15 May, over 13,000 businesses have contacted the Government with offers of help on supplying personal protective equipment (PPE). Many are related to the manufacture of PPE for the National Health Service and care sectors, a vast majority of which we are taking forward, predominantly from United Kingdom-based companies but also including multinational companies. Some offers were not progressed due to financial and capability considerations.

The Department engages directly with potential manufacturers to qualify and prioritise the opportunity, based on availability of/access to raw supplies, lead-times to manufacture, and other commercial considerations. Product prototypes are submitted to a Technical Product Review process, to ensure they meet essential health, safety and quality standards for PPE. Financial due diligence and fraud prevention measures are also undertaken, after which the Department can contract with the manufacturer.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient PPE and ensure this gets to where it is needed. He is also driving forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies. As at 15 May, the Department has entered into contract and placed orders with eight manufacturers to provide millions of items of PPE products to the National Health Service and carers. Details of this work can be found in the links below. The volumes will increase in the coming weeks.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-more-items-of-ppe-for-frontline-staff-from-new-business-partnerships

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-million-face-masks-for-nhs-and-care-workers-through-new-industry-deal

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the names of businesses (a) that have contacted the Government offering to produce personal protective equipment and (b) whose offers have been accepted.

As of 15 May, over 13,000 businesses have contacted the Government with offers of help on supplying personal protective equipment (PPE). Many are related to the manufacture of PPE for the National Health Service and care sectors, a vast majority of which we are taking forward, predominantly from United Kingdom-based companies but also including multinational companies. Some offers were not progressed due to financial and capability considerations.

The Department engages directly with potential manufacturers to qualify and prioritise the opportunity, based on availability of/access to raw supplies, lead-times to manufacture, and other commercial considerations. Product prototypes are submitted to a Technical Product Review process, to ensure they meet essential health, safety and quality standards for PPE. Financial due diligence and fraud prevention measures are also undertaken, after which the Department can contract with the manufacturer.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient PPE and ensure this gets to where it is needed. He is also driving forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies. As at 15 May, the Department has entered into contract and placed orders with eight manufacturers to provide millions of items of PPE products to the National Health Service and carers. Details of this work can be found in the links below. The volumes will increase in the coming weeks.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-more-items-of-ppe-for-frontline-staff-from-new-business-partnerships

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-million-face-masks-for-nhs-and-care-workers-through-new-industry-deal

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to assess the viability of businesses that have approached the Government to produce personal protective equipment to the necessary standard for use in the NHS and social care settings.

As of 15 May, over 13,000 businesses have contacted the Government with offers of help on supplying personal protective equipment (PPE). Many are related to the manufacture of PPE for the National Health Service and care sectors, a vast majority of which we are taking forward, predominantly from United Kingdom-based companies but also including multinational companies. Some offers were not progressed due to financial and capability considerations.

The Department engages directly with potential manufacturers to qualify and prioritise the opportunity, based on availability of/access to raw supplies, lead-times to manufacture, and other commercial considerations. Product prototypes are submitted to a Technical Product Review process, to ensure they meet essential health, safety and quality standards for PPE. Financial due diligence and fraud prevention measures are also undertaken, after which the Department can contract with the manufacturer.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient PPE and ensure this gets to where it is needed. He is also driving forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies. As at 15 May, the Department has entered into contract and placed orders with eight manufacturers to provide millions of items of PPE products to the National Health Service and carers. Details of this work can be found in the links below. The volumes will increase in the coming weeks.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-more-items-of-ppe-for-frontline-staff-from-new-business-partnerships

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-million-face-masks-for-nhs-and-care-workers-through-new-industry-deal

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what mechanism he has established for the receipt and assessment of offers from businesses for the production of personal protective equipment.

As of 15 May, over 13,000 businesses have contacted the Government with offers of help on supplying personal protective equipment (PPE). Many are related to the manufacture of PPE for the National Health Service and care sectors, a vast majority of which we are taking forward, predominantly from United Kingdom-based companies but also including multinational companies. Some offers were not progressed due to financial and capability considerations.

The Department engages directly with potential manufacturers to qualify and prioritise the opportunity, based on availability of/access to raw supplies, lead-times to manufacture, and other commercial considerations. Product prototypes are submitted to a Technical Product Review process, to ensure they meet essential health, safety and quality standards for PPE. Financial due diligence and fraud prevention measures are also undertaken, after which the Department can contract with the manufacturer.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient PPE and ensure this gets to where it is needed. He is also driving forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies. As at 15 May, the Department has entered into contract and placed orders with eight manufacturers to provide millions of items of PPE products to the National Health Service and carers. Details of this work can be found in the links below. The volumes will increase in the coming weeks.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-more-items-of-ppe-for-frontline-staff-from-new-business-partnerships

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-million-face-masks-for-nhs-and-care-workers-through-new-industry-deal

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what level of production of personal protective equipment he estimates will be produced by UK businesses in each of the next three months; and when that equipment will be available for use.

As of 15 May, over 13,000 businesses have contacted the Government with offers of help on supplying personal protective equipment (PPE). Many are related to the manufacture of PPE for the National Health Service and care sectors, a vast majority of which we are taking forward, predominantly from United Kingdom-based companies but also including multinational companies. Some offers were not progressed due to financial and capability considerations.

The Department engages directly with potential manufacturers to qualify and prioritise the opportunity, based on availability of/access to raw supplies, lead-times to manufacture, and other commercial considerations. Product prototypes are submitted to a Technical Product Review process, to ensure they meet essential health, safety and quality standards for PPE. Financial due diligence and fraud prevention measures are also undertaken, after which the Department can contract with the manufacturer.

Lord Deighton is leading the Government’s efforts to secure sufficient PPE and ensure this gets to where it is needed. He is also driving forward coordination of the end-to-end process design and manufacture of new domestic PPE supplies. As at 15 May, the Department has entered into contract and placed orders with eight manufacturers to provide millions of items of PPE products to the National Health Service and carers. Details of this work can be found in the links below. The volumes will increase in the coming weeks.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/millions-more-items-of-ppe-for-frontline-staff-from-new-business-partnerships

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/70-million-face-masks-for-nhs-and-care-workers-through-new-industry-deal

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the phasing system for distributing personal protective equipment to different regions of the UK.

In response to calls from a number of local resilience forums (LRFs), we arranged to extend our personal protective equipment (PPE) supply route to LRFs to help local government distribute stock to smaller social care providers and other vital services where they have been unable to obtain PPE through their usual routes and have an urgent need.

In the week beginning 6 April we issued 37 million items of PPE across 38 local resilience Forums LRFs. All LRFs would have received their allocation by 13 April which was made in two drops.

The level of PPE provided to each LRF in the original allocation, was determined by the number of people within each area, adjusted for the number of people aged 70 and over. Over 7 million more items of PPE have been delivered over the last week to the LRFs identified as being in the highest need of resupply. We will continue to make drops of PPE for distribution by the LRFs to meet some priority need until the new e-commerce solution is operational.

We are monitoring stock levels and usage and working to restock some LRFs with the most urgent clinical need. It is important that LRFs return their data reports to help us identify those in need of an urgent restock.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the availability of personal protective equipment in Cumbria.

In response to calls from a number of local resilience forums (LRFs), we arranged to extend our personal protective equipment (PPE) supply route to LRFs to help local government distribute stock to smaller social care providers and other vital services where they have been unable to obtain PPE through their usual routes and have an urgent need.

In the week beginning 6 April we issued 37 million items of PPE across 38 local resilience Forums LRFs. All LRFs would have received their allocation by 13 April which was made in two drops.

The level of PPE provided to each LRF in the original allocation, was determined by the number of people within each area, adjusted for the number of people aged 70 and over. Over 7 million more items of PPE have been delivered over the last week to the LRFs identified as being in the highest need of resupply. We will continue to make drops of PPE for distribution by the LRFs to meet some priority need until the new e-commerce solution is operational.

We are monitoring stock levels and usage and working to restock some LRFs with the most urgent clinical need. It is important that LRFs return their data reports to help us identify those in need of an urgent restock.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how geographical areas have been prioritised in the distribution of personal protective equipment.

In response to calls from a number of local resilience forums (LRFs), we arranged to extend our personal protective equipment (PPE) supply route to LRFs to help local government distribute stock to smaller social care providers and other vital services where they have been unable to obtain PPE through their usual routes and have an urgent need.

In the week beginning 6 April we issued 37 million items of PPE across 38 local resilience Forums LRFs. All LRFs would have received their allocation by 13 April which was made in two drops.

The level of PPE provided to each LRF in the original allocation, was determined by the number of people within each area, adjusted for the number of people aged 70 and over. Over 7 million more items of PPE have been delivered over the last week to the LRFs identified as being in the highest need of resupply. We will continue to make drops of PPE for distribution by the LRFs to meet some priority need until the new e-commerce solution is operational.

We are monitoring stock levels and usage and working to restock some LRFs with the most urgent clinical need. It is important that LRFs return their data reports to help us identify those in need of an urgent restock.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reasons Cumbria was in phase 3 of the distribution of personal protective equipment.

In response to calls from a number of local resilience forums (LRFs), we arranged to extend our personal protective equipment (PPE) supply route to LRFs to help local government distribute stock to smaller social care providers and other vital services where they have been unable to obtain PPE through their usual routes and have an urgent need.

In the week beginning 6 April we issued 37 million items of PPE across 38 local resilience Forums LRFs. All LRFs would have received their allocation by 13 April which was made in two drops.

The level of PPE provided to each LRF in the original allocation, was determined by the number of people within each area, adjusted for the number of people aged 70 and over. Over 7 million more items of PPE have been delivered over the last week to the LRFs identified as being in the highest need of resupply. We will continue to make drops of PPE for distribution by the LRFs to meet some priority need until the new e-commerce solution is operational.

We are monitoring stock levels and usage and working to restock some LRFs with the most urgent clinical need. It is important that LRFs return their data reports to help us identify those in need of an urgent restock.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with local authorities to determine which phase of personal protective equipment distribution they should be in.

In response to calls from a number of local resilience forums (LRFs), we arranged to extend our personal protective equipment (PPE) supply route to LRFs to help local government distribute stock to smaller social care providers and other vital services where they have been unable to obtain PPE through their usual routes and have an urgent need.

In the week beginning 6 April we issued 37 million items of PPE across 38 local resilience Forums LRFs. All LRFs would have received their allocation by 13 April which was made in two drops.

The level of PPE provided to each LRF in the original allocation, was determined by the number of people within each area, adjusted for the number of people aged 70 and over. Over 7 million more items of PPE have been delivered over the last week to the LRFs identified as being in the highest need of resupply. We will continue to make drops of PPE for distribution by the LRFs to meet some priority need until the new e-commerce solution is operational.

We are monitoring stock levels and usage and working to restock some LRFs with the most urgent clinical need. It is important that LRFs return their data reports to help us identify those in need of an urgent restock.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make regular mandatory testing for covid-19 available for NHS and social care workers in Cumbria.

The Government is working rapidly to increase the number of tests that can be conducted by Public Health England and the National Health Service in laboratories. Key worker tests are starting, with hundreds of staff to be tested. This test, for NHS frontline workers, which will confirm whether or not an individual has COVID-19, will make a huge difference to the ability of frontline staff to do their job and to overall capacity.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what (a) type and (b) amount of personal protective equipment will be delivered to each (i) hospital, (ii) GP surgery and (iii) care home in Cumbria; and when those deliveries will take place.

As of 14 April, since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak we have delivered over 923 million pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) to 58,000 different health and care settings including National Health Service trusts, general practitioners, pharmacies and community providers. This includes:

- 173 million masks;

- 163 million aprons;

- 1.3 million gowns; and

- 440 million pairs of gloves.

We have provided PPE equipment to over 26,000 care homes including home care and hospices across the country. Over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, over 48 million PPE items have been delivered.

We are working around the clock to give the NHS and the wider social care sector the equipment and support they need to tackle this outbreak. We have brought together the NHS, industry and the armed forces to create a new nationwide PPE distribution network, delivering critical PPE supplies to those who need it.

We have a 24 hours a day, seven days a week helpline for those experiencing supply disruption with business as usual ordering channels. Where there may be any shortages, we act on this immediately. Local Resilience Forums are also supporting care homes, hospices, home care and primary care in getting hold of PPE equipment.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether (a) NHS and (b) social care workers aged 70 and over should be self-isolating.

Preserving the health, safety and wellbeing of staff is critical as we respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. National Health Service and social care workers over 70 should only be self-isolating if they have symptoms or are in the extremely vulnerable category.

However, people over the age of 70 are advised to minimise social contact where possible.

For staff members in this category, the NHS will support staff to stay well and at work. NHS and social care organisations should make adjustments to enable this wherever possible. Adjustments may include working remotely or moving to a lower risk area.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many births were recorded at (a) Westmorland General Hospital, (b) Lancaster Royal Infirmary and (c) Furness General Hospital in each of the last 10 years.

The following tables show counts of finished delivery episodes for Westmorland General Hospital, Lancaster Royal Infirmary and Furness General Hospital site of treatment, for the years 2009-10 to 2018-19.

Site of treatment

2009-10

2010-11

2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

RTXBW

Westmorland General Hospital

355

380

335

265

220

RTX02

Royal Lancaster Infirmary

1,945

2,020

2,065

2,030

1,945

RTXBU

Furness General Hospital

1,090

1,090

1,135

1,060

1,035

Site of treatment

2014-15

2015-16

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

RTXBW

Westmorland General Hospital

185

115

95

75

80

RTX02

Royal Lancaster Infirmary

1,950

1,950

1,900

1,830

1,825

RTXBU

Furness General Hospital

970

1,055

1,070

970

1,125

Source: Hospital Episode Statistics, NHS Digital

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to allocate funding for the improvement of services at Westmorland General Hospital.

In October 2019, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust was awarded £34 million funding to improve buildings and infrastructure. This includes at Westmorland General Hospital, where the volume of day surgery work will be increasing. Two new surgical operating theatres are being built, as well as a refurbishment of the existing operating theatres.

In addition the Helme Chase maternity unit will also undergo modernisation this year. Plans are still being developed but are likely to include relocating some clinical activity conveniently close to the main hospital entrance, and relocating some internal administrative departments and patient record areas within the hospital. Neither of these will affect the service offered to patients.

In 2019, the Government launched a new Health Infrastructure Plan which includes £100 million to support 21 major projects (covering 34 hospitals) develop their schemes to be delivered in a second phase of major hospital rebuilds (HIP2), as part of our plan to build 40 new hospitals over the next 10 years. This includes £5 million for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. This business case development will include review of service delivery and opportunities for improvements in infrastructure across the Morecambe Bay, including Westmorland General Hospital.

Future National Health Service capital funding will be provided for as part of the Department’s multi-year settlement at the next capital review.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what improvements are planned at Westmorland General Hospital over the next 10 years, by department.

In October 2019, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust was awarded £34 million funding to improve buildings and infrastructure. This includes at Westmorland General Hospital, where the volume of day surgery work will be increasing. Two new surgical operating theatres are being built, as well as a refurbishment of the existing operating theatres.

In addition the Helme Chase maternity unit will also undergo modernisation this year. Plans are still being developed but are likely to include relocating some clinical activity conveniently close to the main hospital entrance, and relocating some internal administrative departments and patient record areas within the hospital. Neither of these will affect the service offered to patients.

In 2019, the Government launched a new Health Infrastructure Plan which includes £100 million to support 21 major projects (covering 34 hospitals) develop their schemes to be delivered in a second phase of major hospital rebuilds (HIP2), as part of our plan to build 40 new hospitals over the next 10 years. This includes £5 million for University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust. This business case development will include review of service delivery and opportunities for improvements in infrastructure across the Morecambe Bay, including Westmorland General Hospital.

Future National Health Service capital funding will be provided for as part of the Department’s multi-year settlement at the next capital review.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what departments at Westmorland General Hospital have had service improvements in each of the last 10 years; and what those improvements were.

Westmorland General Hospital has seen many changes to improve patient care and experience over the last 10 years including:

- The refurbishment and expansion of the Cardiac Lab;

- A new DEXA (Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) scanner facility;

- The development of a Breast Screening Unit;

- The refurbishment of one of the Theatres;

- Improvements to the layout of the Urgent Treatment Centre;

- The opening of a new Oncology day unit;

- The development of the Endoscopy Unit to make it JAG (Joint Advisory Group) accredited;

- A new café in the entrance of the hospital;

- New LED lighting throughout the hospital;

- Improvements to radiology rooms and reception;

- A new water purification system for the Renal Unit;

- A new unit for muscular skeletal therapy; and

- A new unit for macular care.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment his Department has made of the accuracy of hospital waiting times listed on the NHS England website.

Official statistics for elective waiting times, known as Referral to Treatment (RTT), are fully compliant with the Statistical Code of Practice (that is, they meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and value) and are designated as National Statistics by the Office for Statistics Regulation.

The Department receives assurance from NHS England on the accuracy of hospital waiting times. NHS England currently collects and publishes the monthly national waiting times data, carrying out aggregate-level validation checks. Where issues are identified at provider-level, NHS England will work with providers to ensure data errors are rectified. The Standard Contract put in place by NHS England obliges providers to comply with national information standards and data submission requirements. All trust annual governance statements from April 2015 must include an explicit statement on how the trust will assure waiting time data quality, accuracy and risks.

NHS England update RTT recording and reporting guidance when changes are required. The last update was August 2017 and an update is planned by NHS England for the start of 2020/21. New data on waiting times is published every month at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/rtt-waiting-times/rtt-data-2019-20/

There is also general guidance available on waiting times on the NHS England web page at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/hospitals/guide-to-nhs-waiting-times-in-england/

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps he has taken to ensure that the NHS England website provides guidance to patients on current waiting times.

Official statistics for elective waiting times, known as Referral to Treatment (RTT), are fully compliant with the Statistical Code of Practice (that is, they meet the highest standards of trustworthiness, quality and value) and are designated as National Statistics by the Office for Statistics Regulation.

The Department receives assurance from NHS England on the accuracy of hospital waiting times. NHS England currently collects and publishes the monthly national waiting times data, carrying out aggregate-level validation checks. Where issues are identified at provider-level, NHS England will work with providers to ensure data errors are rectified. The Standard Contract put in place by NHS England obliges providers to comply with national information standards and data submission requirements. All trust annual governance statements from April 2015 must include an explicit statement on how the trust will assure waiting time data quality, accuracy and risks.

NHS England update RTT recording and reporting guidance when changes are required. The last update was August 2017 and an update is planned by NHS England for the start of 2020/21. New data on waiting times is published every month at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/rtt-waiting-times/rtt-data-2019-20/

There is also general guidance available on waiting times on the NHS England web page at the following link:

https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/hospitals/guide-to-nhs-waiting-times-in-england/

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of upgrading the NHS stock of Linear Accelerator radiotherapy machines to ensure that no machine is used beyond its recommended 10-year lifespan; and if he will make a statement.

Currently no estimate has been made.

In October 2015, NHS England committed to investing £130 million to fund the modernisation of radiotherapy across England. This has ensured that older linear accelerators (LINACs - radiotherapy machines) being used by hospitals are being upgraded or replaced, giving cancer patients access to the latest leading edge technology regardless of where they live. Over 80 machines have been replaced or upgraded.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has made an estimate of the potential savings to the public purse from purchasing Linear Accelerator radiotherapy machines on a planned and rolling basis; and if he will make a statement.

No estimate has been made.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many patients travel for more than 45 minutes a day to access radiotherapy treatment; and if he will make a statement.

This information is not held centrally.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of linear accelerator radiotherapy machines in use at NHS Trusts that are past the recommended 10 year lifespan; and if he will make a statement.

NHS England produced a stocktake, which included age, of linear accelerators in full clinical use in 2016 as part of the Equipment Modernisation programme, which enabled 80 machines to be replaced or upgraded. Further work to update this stocktake is underway to reflect both the impact of the Equipment Modernisation programme and any local changes.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much funding was allocated from the public purse to preventative mental health programmes in Cumbria in each year from 2010 to 2020.

This information is not available in the format requested.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to introduce the specialist one-to-one eating disorder service for young people in south Cumbria.

It is intended that the specialist eating disorder service in South Cumbria, which will include one to one and family-based therapies, will commence in April 2020. This is dependant on a number of factors, including consultation with existing staff and recruitment of new staff.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to commission 24-hour specialist emergency services for mental health patients; and if he will make a statement.

The NHS Long Term Plan commits to the National Health Service developing comprehensive crisis pathways so that 24 hour, age appropriate mental health crisis care is available across England, via NHS 111, by 2023/24.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
19th Dec 2019
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will place in the Library a list of each location, including postcode, at which radiotherapy commissioned via the NHS in England is delivered by the (i) NHS and (ii) private sector; and if he will make a statement.

The information is not held centrally in the format requested.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will take steps to ensure that British citizens overseas are returned home by 21 April 2020 in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

As Parliament rose earlier than planned and the first day for answer of this PQ was after the Easter recess, due to the pace of developments during the COVID-19 crisis, I submitted a response by email on 8 April, with the following response. The Table Office have agreed this approach.

The Foreign Secretary announced on 30 March an important new partnership between the Government and airlines to fly home more stranded British travellers, where commercial routes do not exist. The Government will provide up to £75 million financial support to enable special charter flights to priority countries, operated by airlines including British Airways, Virgin, Easyjet, Jet 2 and Titan. This service has already begun, with flights from Peru, Senegal, UAE, Ecuador, Bolivia, Ghana, Algeria and Tunisia as of 6th April.

Our consular team is working around the clock to provide support, advice and information. The situation is fast moving, and our advice at this time is for British nationals to secure safe accommodation and to speak to their tour operator, airline and or insurance company to discuss the options available to them. We are working intensively with the governments of those countries that have closed their borders to people travelling to and from the UK, to enable airlines to bring British Nationals home.

British Nationals abroad should keep up to date with our travel advice for the country/territory they are in. We have published advice for British Nationals who do not have immediate departure options available to them: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus#if-youre-abroad-and-you-want-to-return-to-the-uk

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he has had recent discussions with airlines on the use of unused planes around the world to return British citizens home as a matter of urgency; and if he will make a statement.

As Parliament rose earlier than planned and the first day for answer of this PQ was after the Easter recess, due to the pace of developments during the COVID-19 crisis, I submitted a response by email on 8 April, with the following response. The Table Office have agreed this approach.

The Foreign Secretary announced on 30 March an important new partnership between the Government and airlines to fly home more stranded British travelers, where commercial routes do not exist. The Government will provide up to £75 million financial support to enable special charter flights to priority countries, operated by airlines including British Airways, Virgin, Easyjet, Jet 2 and Titan. This service has already begun, with flights from Peru, Senegal, UAE, Ecuador, Bolivia, Ghana, Algeria and Tunisia as of 6th April.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office teams around the world are working urgently to ensure that governments have sensible plans to enable the return of British and other travellers, and, crucially, to keep borders open for a sufficient period of time to enable returns to take place on commercial flights, wherever possible.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to return home British citizens trapped in places where (a) the British embassy is closed, (b) commercial flights are not available, (c) consular services cannot be accessed, (d) they have no access to hotels and (e) they are subject to curfews that prohibit them accessing required travel facilities.

As Parliament rose earlier than planned and the first day for answer of this PQ was after the Easter recess, due to the pace of developments during the COVID-19 crisis, I submitted a response by email on 2 April, with the following response. The Table Office have agreed this approach.

Posts are continuing to carry out essential work including providing 24/7 consular assistance and support to British people overseas. International travel is becoming more difficult with the closure of land borders and further restrictions, such as on freedom of movement, are being introduced daily. Foreign and Commonwealth Office teams around the world are working urgently to ensure that governments have sensible plans to enable the return of British and other travellers. British people abroad should keep up to date with our travel advice for the country/territory they are in. We have published advice for British Nationals who do not have immediate departure options available to them: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus#if-youre-abroad-and-you-want-to-return-to-the-uk

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what plans he has to commission emergency flights from the UK to repatriate British citizens stranded overseas as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

As Parliament rose earlier than planned and the first day for answer of this PQ was after the Easter recess, due to the pace of developments during the COVID-19 crisis, I submitted a response by email on 8 April, with the following response. The Table Office have agreed this approach.

The Foreign Secretary announced on 30 March an important new partnership between the Government and airlines to fly home more stranded British travelers, where commercial routes do not exist. The Government will provide up to £75 million financial support to enable special charter flights to priority countries, operated by airlines including British Airways, Virgin, Easyjet, Jet 2 and Titan. This service has already begun, with flights from Peru, Senegal, UAE, Ecuador, Bolivia, Ghana, Algeria and Tunisia as of 6th April.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
25th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to enable the use of unused planes at airports to repatriate British citizens.

As Parliament rose earlier than planned and the first day for answer of this PQ was after the Easter recess, due to the pace of developments during the COVID-19 crisis, I submitted a response by email on 8 April, with the following response. The Table Office have agreed this approach.

The Foreign Secretary announced on 30 March an important new partnership between the Government and airlines to fly home more stranded British travelers, where commercial routes do not exist. The Government will provide up to £75 million financial support to enable special charter flights to priority countries, operated by airlines including British Airways, Virgin, Easyjet, Jet 2 and Titan. This service has already begun, with flights from Peru, Senegal, UAE, Ecuador, Bolivia, Ghana, Algeria and Tunisia as of 6th April.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
13th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent diplomatic steps he has taken to prevent further human rights violations against the Rohingya.

The prevention of further human rights violations against the Rohingya remains a priority for the British Government. It is our view that further violations can only be prevented by addressing the underlying causes of the crisis, specifically through the implementation of the recommendations of the Rakhine Advisory Commission and through ensuring there is accountability for the atrocities that took place. We continue to engage the Myanmar Government and regional governments on these issues. In October 2019, Baroness Sugg during her visit to Myanmar raised with ministers the plight of refugees and pushed for faster progress with the remaining Rakhine Advisory Commission recommendations. The UK has also shone a spotlight on violations by the Myanmar military by co-sponsoring resolutions on Myanmar at the UN Human Rights Council in September 2019, and at the UN General Assembly in December 2019.

Heather Wheeler
Assistant Whip
24th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the effect of the Stamp Duty holiday on the number of second homes purchased in rural communities.

The temporary increase in the Stamp Duty Land Tax nil rate band was designed to create immediate momentum within the property market, where property transactions fell by as much as 50 per cent during the COVID-19 lockdown in March. The downturn in the market meant that the future was uncertain for many people whose jobs relied on custom from the property industry. Since July, the SDLT holiday has supported about 640,000 residential property transactions in England and Northern Ireland.

Purchases of second properties are still liable to pay the higher rate of SDLT for additional dwellings, which is three percentage points above the standard rates.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether directors of limited companies are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Directors who pay themselves a salary through a PAYE scheme are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

For periods from 1 November 2020 to 30 April 2021, an employer can claim for employees employed on or before 30 October 2020. The employer must have also made a PAYE Real Time Information submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020, notifying a payment of earnings for that employee.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has made an assessment of the tax per transaction for retail purchases that are made (a) online and (b) offline.

The Government published a Call for Evidence on 21 July, as part of its Fundamental Review of Business Rates, to gather views from stakeholders on all elements of the Business Rates system and a number of alternative taxes including an Online Sales Tax.

One of the objectives of the Call for Evidence was to understand the impact of business rates on various sectors, including retailers.

The Government is considering responses to the Business Rates Review and will respond in due course.

10th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many businesses received support under the Government’s Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme, which ended on 1 February 2021.

In 2018-19 (the latest year available), approximately 4,700 companies claimed enhanced capital allowances for energy saving equipment and environmentally beneficial equipment.

Although any claims for these allowances can be identified within the current version of the company tax return, the level of such claims in all tax returns is likely to be affected by the Annual Investment Allowance which businesses may claim to obtain tax relief for these types of investments. This is another type of 100 percent capital allowance but which is subject to a cap which has been temporarily set at £1 million since 2019.

16th Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what discussions he has had with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development on the steps that Bank takes to ensure that all livestock projects it funds meet EU animal welfare standards as required by the terms of that Bank’s environmental and social policy.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the UK Governor for the EBRD. All prospective projects are reviewed and scrutinised by the EBRD in line with the Bank’s project process, and this analysis is provided to shareholders ahead of discussion and approval by the Board of Directors. The UK assesses all projects to ensure that they meet the EBRD’s mandate and the high environmental and social standards required by its 2019 Environmental and Social Policy.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to his decision to postpone the autumn Budget, whether a decision on the future of the Social Investment Tax Relief will be made in 2020.

The Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) is intended to encourage investment into social enterprises. Since 2014, about 110 social enterprises and trading charities have used the scheme, raising £11.2 million.

The Government keeps all taxes and reliefs under review in order to ensure they continue to meet policy objectives and represent value for money for taxpayers. The Government committed to a full review of SITR within two years of its expansion, and published a Call for Evidence last year on the use of the scheme to date. A Summary of Responses will be published in due course alongside a decision on the policy’s future.

20th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will remove VAT on (a) domestic renewables and (b) installations for a period of 10 years to help (i) stimulate the green economy and (ii) the uptake of microgeneration.

Under current VAT rules, the installation of water and wind turbines is subject to the standard rate of VAT. However, the installation of other energy saving materials that generate domestic energy, such as solar panels and micro combined heat and power units, are subject to the reduced rate of VAT when certain conditions are met.

Although there are no current plans to extend the scope of the relief already in place, the Government keeps all taxes under review.

20th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of removing VAT on (a) domestic renewables and (b) installations to help (i) grow the green economy and (ii) stimulate the uptake of microgeneration on domestic properties.

Under current VAT rules, the installation of water and wind turbines is subject to the standard rate of VAT. However, the installation of other energy saving materials that generate domestic energy, such as solar panels and micro combined heat and power units, are subject to the reduced rate of VAT when certain conditions are met.

Although there are no current plans to extend the scope of the relief already in place, the Government keeps all taxes under review.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what financial support he plans to provide for employees in the event that their employer requires them to come into work and refuses to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on their behalf but they (a) are not a key worker, (b) do not deem their work to be essential and (c) believe that there is a risk of spreading covid-19 by attending work.

The decision to furlough an employee must ultimately be agreed to by both the employer and employee. If an employee is concerned that their employer is not claiming on their behalf, they should speak with their employer in the first instance, then with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).

Where it is permitted and does not go against public health guidance, businesses may wish to ask their employees to continue working as usual. Maintaining economic activity where possible will help towards creating a robust economic recovery as the UK emerges from this pandemic.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether employees that are being paid through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will jeopardise their access to that scheme in the event that they undertake short-term employment for work places that (a) are understaffed as a result of workers self-isolating, (b) classified as essential by the Government, (c) are experiencing an increased demand as a result of the covid-19 outbreak and (d) where work can be done remotely.

The Government seeks, as far as possible, to protect people’s jobs and incomes. This is an unprecedented jobs retention scheme and the Government has been working hard to set out further details on the scheme. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is open to any individual who was on an employer’s PAYE payroll on 19 March 2020. Full details can be found in the guidance available at www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme and www.gov.uk/guidance/work-out-80-of-your-employees-wages-to-claim-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme, which provides answers to these questions.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to allow employees to apply to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where employers are refusing to do so on their behalf but the work is not essential.

The decision to furlough an employee must ultimately be agreed to by both the employer and employee. If an employee is concerned that their employer is not claiming on their behalf, they should speak with their employer in the first instance, and then with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).

Where it is permitted and does not go against public health guidance, businesses may wish to ask their employees to continue working as usual. Maintaining economic activity where possible will help economic recovery as the UK emerges from this pandemic.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he has plans to allow employers that have not completely ceased their operations to apply for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is designed to help firms that have been severely affected by coronavirus to retain their employees and protect the UK economy. The scheme is open to all UK employers providing they have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020 and have a UK bank account. Employers do not need to place all their employees on furlough.

25th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make the provisions of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme accessible to employees who have to go part-time as a result of reduced demand and social distancing measures.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme does not subsidise part-time work. It is designed to support individuals who would otherwise have been made redundant and it also protects public health by minimising the number of non-key workers outside of their homes on a regular basis. The Government has strengthened the welfare system to support those whose hours change, including an increase to the Universal Credit standard allowance and the working tax credit basic element.

23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 23 March 2020 to Question 31468 on Businesses: Insurance, what steps he is taking to provide insurance for businesses that have not been directed to close by the Government but have closed as a result of Government advice on the covid-19 outbreak.

Insurance is not an appropriate product where a risk has already materialised, or where it is overwhelmingly likely that a risk will occur. For this reason, where businesses did not already have an appropriate policy that covers government-ordered closure or unspecified notifiable diseases, insurance is not a suitable tool for the Government to cover the financial losses due to COVID-19.

The Government recognises that businesses who do not have appropriate insurance cover will require support from elsewhere. That is why the Chancellor set out a package of support in the Budget, on 17 March, and on 20 March, which includes measures such as business rates holidays, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and wage support.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans the Government has to mandate the closure of businesses to help enable those businesses to access insurance for losses during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is in continual dialogue with the insurance sector about its contribution to handling this unprecedented situation.

In addition, the Chancellor has made clear that, for those businesses which have an appropriate policy covering pandemics, the Government’s medical advice of 16 March is sufficient to allow businesses to make a claim against their insurance, provided the other terms and conditions in their policy are met. We recognise that most businesses have not purchased insurance that covers pandemic-related losses. Any affected businesses should note the government’s full package of support.

The FCA’s rules require insurers to handle claims fairly and promptly; provide reasonable guidance to help a policyholder make a claim, and appropriate information on its progress; not

reject a claim unreasonably; and settle claims promptly once settlement terms are agreed.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will publish details of the process by which businesses can access grants to mitigate the effect of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Business Secretary will write to all Local Authorities by the end of the week with information on the small business grant scheme, and to encourage them to prepare to deliver this quickly. Detailed guidance for Local Authorities will follow by 1st April, and Local Authorities will then write to all eligible businesses with information on how to claim this grant.

We will give small businesses in the retail, hospitality or leisure sectors a higher grant of £25,000 per business if they have a property that has a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. Properties in those sectors with a rateable value of £15,000 or less will receive a £10,000 grant even if they are not eligible for small business rates relief. It will be administered in the same way as the small business grant scheme.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to provide financial support to businesses and households whose incomes will be adversely affected by restrictions in place as a result of covid-19.

The Government has announced an unprecedented package of support for businesses and individuals affected by Covid-19, and remains committed to doing whatever it takes to support the economy as necessary.

UK VAT registered businesses, including charities, can defer VAT payments due with their VAT returns between now and the end of June. No UK VAT registered business will have to make a VAT payment alongside their VAT return to HMRC in that period. They will have until the end of the financial year to repay.

The Government will also give all eligible retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England a 100% business rates holiday for the next 12 months. The Government also extended the support available to individuals and businesses, including a package of government-backed and guaranteed loans, which make available an initial £330 billion of guarantees – equivalent to 15% of GDP.

For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31st of July 2020 will be deferred until the 31st of January 2021.

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, employers (including charities) 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 a month, providing they keep the worker employed. They will receive the grant from HMRC, covering the cost of wages backdated to 1 March 2020.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be available for those unable to work because they are self-isolating in line with government advice; this is on top of the Prime Minister’s announcement that SSP will be payable from day 1 instead of day 4 for affected individuals. Support will be available through Universal Credit and Contributory Employment and Support Allowance for those not eligible for SSP.

HMRC have scaled up their Time to Pay offer to all taxpayers, including charities, who are in temporary financial distress as a result of Covid-19 and have outstanding tax liabilities. Taxpayers can contact HMRC’s dedicated Covid-19 helpline to get practical help and advice on 0800 0159 559.

The Chancellor will continue to review and make further announcements as events unfold if required.

17th Mar 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to instruct (a) banks and (b) landlords to provide (i) mortgage and (ii) rent holidays for (A) households and (B) businesses experiencing financial hardship during the covid-19 outbreak.

Banks and building societies are ready and able to support consumers impacted by COVID-19. On 17 March, the Chancellor announced on behalf of the sector that banks and building societies will offer a 3-month ‘mortgage holiday’ for borrowers that are financially struggling. This will enable affected borrowers to more easily defer their mortgage payments for up to 3 months. Customers who are concerned about the current financial situation should get in touch with their lender at the earliest possible opportunity. The benefits system is ready to assist renters with their housing costs if they find their incomes disrupted by coronavirus.

Following urgent discussions with the banking industry, the mortgage payment holiday of up to 3 months announced on 17 March will be extended to landlords whose tenants are experiencing difficulty due to coronavirus. Lenders have also agreed to a three-month moratorium on residential and buy to let possession action to start immediately to provide customers with reassurance that they will not have their homes repossessed at this difficult time.

The government has announced that to further protect renters, emergency legislation will be taken forward as an urgent priority so that landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants for at least a three-month period. At the end of this period, landlords and tenants will be expected to work together to establish an affordable repayment plan, taking into account the tenant’s individual circumstances.

The Chancellor also announced tax cuts of nearly £20bn for British businesses. Budget announced that eligible properties in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, with a rateable value of less than £51,000, would pay no business rates this year. The Chancellor’s announcement of 17 March goes further and provides those businesses an additional cash grant of up to £25,000 per business. It also extends the business rates holiday to all eligible properties in those sectors, irrespective of rateable value, so that all businesses in retail, hospitality or leisure will pay no business rates for 12 months.

Budget announced government will provide £3,000 grants to 700,000 SMEs. This grant is now increased to £10,000.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Oct 2021
What steps she is taking to support Afghan people who reach the UK by their own means after being unable to access safe routes.

There are many people in Afghanistan who may wish to leave, and while the UK has led the way with the most ambitious resettlement scheme of its type, we cannot do it all alone. Those who need international protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach.

We are taking action to help those affected by the situation in Afghanistan. Our new resettlement scheme will welcome Afghans most at risk, prioritising women, girls, religious and other minorities, so they can rebuild their lives safely in the UK.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Afghan nationals are currently in immigration detention.

The Home Office publishes data on people in immigration detention in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’. The number of people in detention on the last day of each quarter are published in table Det_D02 of the Detention detailed datasets. The data can be broken down by nationality of detainee, and place of detention.

The latest data relate to the number of people in detention at the end of June 2021.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when his Department plans to publish a new Afghanistan country and policy information note.

We aim to publish a new country policy and information note as soon as possible.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to expedite and review the cases of Afghan asylum seekers currently pending in the asylum system.

The UK has a proud history of providing protection to those who need it, in accordance with our international obligations. All asylum claims are considered on a case by case basis and in line with published policy.

We are currently reviewing the country situation and will issue updated country policy and information notes shortly for Afghanistan, which reflect revised assessments of risk of persecution. We have therefore temporarily paused asylum decision making for Afghan nationals to ensure our decision makers are only considering claimants’ protection needs in the light of relevant and up-to-date country information.

All asylum appeals from Afghan nationals will be reviewed ahead of any hearing to look at the individual claim in light of the changed country situation, current guidance and any further information submitted by the claimant, to assess whether the decision to refuse is still appropriate.

No one who is found to be at risk of persecution or serious harm in Afghanistan will be expected to return there, and enforced returns of those who have been refused asylum and have exhausted all rights of appeal are currently paused.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Windrush Lessons Learned Review, when the draft ethical framework for decision making will be published.

We are committed to developing and publishing an Ethical Decision-making Model as part of the Windrush Comprehensive Improvement Plan and in response to Recommendation 17 of the Windrush Lessons Leaned Review.

The purpose of the model is to prompt decision makers to consider the impact of their proposed decision and whether there are any unintended consequences, ensuring that the right decision is made first time.

The model does not replace existing immigration legislation, rules, or guidance, nor does it constitute a separate route for caseworkers to exercise discretion or grant leave.

We are committed to publishing the ethical decision-making model and intend to do so by the autumn.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
13th Jul 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the recommendations of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review, what progress her Department has made on implementing a learning programme on UK history from June 2021.

In response to Recommendation 6 from the Windrush Lessons Learned Review, the department is launching a learning programme over the summer, with full implementation from autumn 2021.

To develop the approach and learning content we have conducted a training needs analysis which examined the learning needs of our staff and enabled consultation with key stakeholders. In line with Wendy Williams’ requirements set out in the Comprehensive Improvement Plan, we engaged with external stakeholders to shape the learning products.

We plan to launch the first stage of learning activity this month. This will be a series of pages linking to historical Windrush related resources on the Home Office intranet page, available to all Home Office staff members. This follows increased and extended consultation, which was considered necessary ahead of the launch.

Consultation, scoping and build is underway to develop the full range of bite-sized, blended learning products with experts from external organisations and academia informing content design and considerations.

Further materials and resources will become available for staff across the summer period to build momentum and boost conversations. These products are designed as a pre-curser to the full launch from beginning of Quarter 3.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
12th Jul 2021
What progress her Department has made towards establishing a target for annual refugee resettlement places.

The number of refugees we resettle every year depends on a variety of factors including local authorities’ capacity and the extent to which Community Sponsorship continues to thrive.

This year the recovery from the pandemic will be a significant factor affecting capacity. We continue to work closely with our partners to assess their capacity for resettlement in the months ahead.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government plans to take to encourage groups who are likely to miss the EU Settlement Scheme deadline to apply after the deadline has passed.

The Home Office has received more than 5.6 million applications to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), as of 31 May 2021. We encourage anyone eligible for the EUSS to apply before the 30 June 2021 deadline for applications by those EU citizens and their family members resident in the UK by the end of the transition period, to secure their rights in UK law.

We launched a further wave of UK advertising in mid-May to ensure EU citizens and their family members are aware of the deadline and know they need to apply. This builds on the successful campaign already delivered – with £7.9 million having now been invested in such activity – with targeted adverts currently appearing on social media, website banners, catch up TV and radio.

Communications activity after 30 June will emphasise the Home Office will accept late applications from those with reasonable grounds for missing the deadline and point to the support available to those who need it.

Engagement with stakeholders, local authorities and employers will continue to raise awareness of the EUSS. In addition, the network of 72 organisations across the UK, funded by the Home Office through to 30 September 2021 with £22 million of funding, will continue to engage with vulnerable groups and help them to apply.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether EEA nationals who apply late to the EU Settlement Scheme will be permitted right to work and rent while their applications are pending.

From 1 July, right to work and right to rent checks will change and EEA citizens will be required to demonstrate eligibility through evidence of their immigration status, rather than their nationality.

Where an EEA citizen, who was resident here before the end of the transition period, has reasonable grounds for missing the EUSS application deadline, they will be given a further opportunity to apply.

We will be updating our guidance and communicating with employers and landlords shortly to set out the support available, and ensure they are clear on the steps they should take from 1 July.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the reasons for the increase in asylum applications from Eritrean nationals in 2020.

The Home Office publishes data on the number of applications for asylum in the UK, broken down by nationality, in its quarterly Immigration Statistics release. The number of applications made by Eritreans in each year are available in the Immigration Statistics, Asy_01c:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/961749/asylum-summary-dec-2020-tables.xlsx

All asylum and human rights applications from Eritrean nationals are carefully considered and assessed on their individual merits in accordance with our international obligations.

Each individual assessment is made against the background of the latest available country of origin information and any relevant caselaw. The Eritrean Country Policy and Information Notes (available on gov.uk) outlines our position.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department is taking to support Eritrean refugees with acute mental distress.

Refugees can access the same NHS health services as UK citizens, including mental health services.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps her Department has taken alongside the Scottish Government to accelerate the activation of Extended Area Services sites in Scotland.

The Emergency Services Network (ESN) has activated seven Extended Area Services sites in Scotland so far, this means that the sites are connected to the ESN network and are capable of housing commercial networks. Six of the sites are in conjunction with the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) which is funded by the Scottish Government. EAS has a further 17 sites in progress with SFT, with another four going live in the next 6-8 weeks, good progress is being made with the SFT and Scottish Government in the delivery and activation of these sites. EAS is also in the process of building and activating the remaining 99 sites which form the 123 EAS site coverage in Scotland. These are made up mostly of greenfield sites with 24 site shares also being utilised.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many and what proportion of substantive asylum interviews were conducted by video conference in 2020.

The Home Office is unable to state how many and what proportion of substantive asylum interviews were conducted by video conference or how many asylum decisions were made without a substantive interview as the Home Office does not publish this information

However, the Home Office does publish data on the number asylum applications awaiting an initial decision by duration. This data can be found at This data can be found at Asy_04 of the published Immigration Statistics:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-december-2020/list-of-tables#asylum-and-resettlement

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum decisions were made without substantive asylum interviews in 2020.

The Home Office is unable to state how many and what proportion of substantive asylum interviews were conducted by video conference or how many asylum decisions were made without a substantive interview as the Home Office does not publish this information

However, the Home Office does publish data on the number asylum applications awaiting an initial decision by duration. This data can be found at This data can be found at Asy_04 of the published Immigration Statistics:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-december-2020/list-of-tables#asylum-and-resettlement

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her Department's plans are for a new immigration removal centre for women on the former site of Hassockfield Secure Training Centre, County Durham.

The immigration removal estate is kept under ongoing review to ensure that the Home Office has sufficient capacity, in the right places and that it provides value for money.

The Home Office has acquired the former Hassockfield Secure Training Centre in County Durham and will open it as an immigration removal centre for women by the autumn. Initial discussions with the planning authority have taken place and work has commenced at the site. An Equality Impact Assessment will be completed as part of this programme of work.

In order to meet operational needs and demands we will continue to operate the immigration removal estate in a flexible manner.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what penalties are incurred by asylum seeker accommodation providers in the event that they do not meet the requirements of their contracts.

We expect the highest standards from our providers, who are expected to conduct regular checks across the accommodation estate. The Home Office have access to providers’ systems to monitor compliance.

Throughout the pandemic, the ability to inspect accommodation in the usual way has faced some understandable logistical challenges, however we have robust systems in place to monitor and ensure continued accordance with the high standards of service we and those we accommodate expect.

Asylum seekers can also raise specific issues or concerns about their accommodation through the 24/7 Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE) service operated by Migrant Help. The Home Office and our providers receive feedback on complaints raised through our regular dialogue with Migrant Help, which enables attention to be focussed on any areas of concern.

The Asylum Accommodation and Support Services contracts (AASC) have a robust performance management system, against which providers are expected to deliver. Where performance falls short of the required standard, failures are recorded and can result in the award of points and, ultimately, service credits being applied. Providers’ performance is monitored closely by dedicated staff in each contract area, who are in daily contact with them.

This is supplemented by a formal governance process which includes quarterly Strategic Review Management Boards and monthly Contract Management Groups. Service credits and subsequent improvement plans are discussed and monitored as part of this process.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what monitoring and evaluation is conducted on the contracts held by companies providing accommodation to asylum seekers.

We expect the highest standards from our providers, who are expected to conduct regular checks across the accommodation estate. The Home Office have access to providers’ systems to monitor compliance.

Throughout the pandemic, the ability to inspect accommodation in the usual way has faced some understandable logistical challenges, however we have robust systems in place to monitor and ensure continued accordance with the high standards of service we and those we accommodate expect.

Asylum seekers can also raise specific issues or concerns about their accommodation through the 24/7 Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE) service operated by Migrant Help. The Home Office and our providers receive feedback on complaints raised through our regular dialogue with Migrant Help, which enables attention to be focussed on any areas of concern.

The Asylum Accommodation and Support Services contracts (AASC) have a robust performance management system, against which providers are expected to deliver. Where performance falls short of the required standard, failures are recorded and can result in the award of points and, ultimately, service credits being applied. Providers’ performance is monitored closely by dedicated staff in each contract area, who are in daily contact with them.

This is supplemented by a formal governance process which includes quarterly Strategic Review Management Boards and monthly Contract Management Groups. Service credits and subsequent improvement plans are discussed and monitored as part of this process.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Government's response to recommendation 17 of the Windrush Lessons Learned Review as set out in the Comprehensive Improvement Plan, whether the ethical decision making model has been produced.

A draft ethical decision-making model has been produced and this is now being tested with different teams across the Home Office.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what process her Department uses to assess asylum seekers to determine whether they have particular vulnerabilities which mean they cannot be housed in either Penally or Napier Barracks.

The sites at Penally and Napier are being used to accommodate single, adult males. All asylum seekers are subject to an initial screening process by UK Visas and Immigration, which includes security and safeguarding checks and we are taking great care to ensure that those with identified vulnerabilities are moved to appropriate accommodation. We will also take swift action in relation to any new safeguarding issues that emerge (for example the identification of previously unknown vulnerabilities).

Further checks are made, to confirm suitability for transfer to the accommodation, before individuals are moved to sites and asylum seekers will be briefed by the accommodation provider in advance of their move.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many unaccompanied child asylum seekers were granted refugee status or humanitarian protection in (a) 2019 and (b) 2020.

The Home Office publishes data on asylum applications in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’. Data on the number of asylum applications and initial decisions on applications are published in table Asy_D01 and Asy_D02 of the asylum and resettlement detailed datasets, which include a breakdown on unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) and year of application or initial decision.

Information on how to use the dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data relate up to September 2020. Additionally, the Home Office publishes a high-level overview of the data in the ‘summary tables’. The ‘contents’ sheet contains an overview of all available data on asylum and resettlement.

Immigration Statistics will be updated on February 25th 2021 which will include data up to December 2020.

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

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether an Independent Complaints Examiner for the Borders, Immigration and Citizenship complaints procedure has been appointed.

In line with Wendy Williams’ recommendation, the Home Office has commissioned the Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA) to undertake an independent review of the Home Office complaints system and provide advice on improvements.

The Home Office is also looking at the roles of Independent Complaints Examiners in other government departments. We will provide an update on next steps in due course.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether her Department plans to appoint a Migrants' Commissioner.

As outlined in the Comprehensive Improvement Plan on 30 September 2020, the Home Office is consulting with the Windrush Cross-Government Working Group on how best to advance this recommendation to ensure the function works independently and effectively.

The Windrush Cross-Government Working Group brings together key stakeholders and community leaders with representatives from a number of government departments.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
14th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, by which process the public can contribute to the statutory review and consultation on safe and legal routes for refugees.

This Government has made it clear that we are embarking on an ambitious programme to fix our broken asylum system to make it firm and fair. As the Home Secretary said in her Conservative Party Conference speech, we will seek to stop abuse of the system while ensuring it is compassionate towards those who need our help, welcoming people through safe and legal routes.

Section 3 of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Act 2020 (the Act) sets out a statutory obligation to review the ways in which protection claimants, including unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC), who are in an EU member state are able to enter the United Kingdom lawfully. As a part of this review, the statutory obligation includes a public consultation on legal routes for UASC in the EU seeking to join family in the UK.

The Act includes a requirement to lay a statement before Parliament by 10 February 2021 providing further details of the review and consultation.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
10th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the process is by which the public can contribute to the statutory review and consultation on safe and legal routes for refugees to come to the UK.

This Government has made it clear that we are embarking on an ambitious programme to fix our broken asylum system to make it firm and fair. As the Home Secretary said in her Conservative Party Conference speech, we will seek to stop abuse of the system while ensuring it is compassionate towards those who need our help, welcoming people through safe and legal routes.

Section 3 of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Act 2020 (the Act) sets out a statutory obligation to review the ways in which protection claimants, including unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC), who are in an EU member state are able to enter the United Kingdom lawfully. As a part of this review, the statutory obligation includes a public consultation on legal routes for UASC in the EU seeking to join family in the UK.

The Act includes a requirement to lay a statement before Parliament by 10 February 2021 providing further details of the review and consultation.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has in place to support non-UK nationals who are experiencing rough sleeping to ensure that they do not face deportation when new rules come into force in December 2020.

The new Immigration Rules make provision for the refusal or cancellation of permission to stay in the UK on the basis of rough sleeping. The new rule will apply on a discretionary basis to non-EEA citizens from 1 December 2020 and to newly arriving EEA citizens from 1 January 2021. The provision will be used sparingly and only where individuals have repeatedly refused support offers such as accommodation and are engaged in persistent anti-social behaviour.

A person is expected to leave the UK if their leave is cancelled or refused. If they do not choose to leave voluntarily we may enforce their removal. They will not be subject to deportation action which is reserved for foreign national offenders with serious and persistent criminality as well as for reasons of national security.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 5 November 2020 to Question 109252 on Asylum: Legal Aid Scheme, what guidance she has issued to Migrant Help on advising asylum seekers housed at the (a) Napier Barracks in Folkestone and (b) Pengally Training Camp in Pembrokeshire on where they can access legally aided immigration advice.

The Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE) service, operated by Migrant Help is a single integrated and national service for asylum seekers.

The AIRE service will provide advice and guidance to service users on the asylum process, their rights and signposting different services.

It will also provide asylum seekers with a single point of contact, independent from the accommodation providers and the Home Office, to report issues.

AIRE are contracted to provide information on the availability of legal advice and representation and signposting of Service User’s to the Legal Aid Agency, where appropriate upon induction into temporary accommodation.

We are working with Migrant Help to pilot additional measures for legal aid signposting in temporary accommodation, including Napier and Penally.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure non-UK nationals who are experiencing rough sleeping will not face deportation.

The new Immigration Rules make provision for the refusal or cancellation of permission to stay in the UK on the basis of rough sleeping. The new rule will apply on a discretionary basis to non-EEA citizens from 1 December 2020 and to newly arriving EEA citizens from 1 January 2021. The provision will be used sparingly and only where individuals have repeatedly refused support offers such as accommodation and are engaged in persistent anti-social behaviour.

A person is expected to leave the UK if their leave is cancelled or refused. If they do not choose to leave voluntarily we may enforce their removal. They will not be subject to deportation action which is reserved for foreign national offenders with serious and persistent criminality as well as for reasons of national security.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions her Department has had with external stakeholders on the role of the proposed Migrants' Commissioner.

As outlined in the Comprehensive Improvement Plan on 30 September 2020, the Home Office will be consulting with the Windrush Cross-Government Working Group on how to take forward the Migrants’ Commissioner role.

The Working Group brings together key stakeholders and community leaders with representatives from a number of government departments, to support the delivery of solutions for the Windrush generation.

Priti Patel
Home Secretary
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to her Department's proof of concept pilot on the outsourcing of asylum interviews, what comparative assessment her Department plans to make of the (a) timeliness and (b) quality of asylum interviews conducted by outsourced staff and by staff of her Department.

The Home Office is exploring many options to reduce the number of outstanding asylum claims. Alongside seeking temporary resource from within the Home Office and other government departments, we are also exploring with third-party suppliers, through a proof of concept, to test the viability of whether they can deliver the support required as a temporary, short term measure. Asylum interviews have not been outsourced.

At this stage we are only exploring the potential feasibility of using third party resource to support asylum interviewing, however the name of the third-party supplier who is assisting with the proof of concept is commercially sensitive at this stage.

Any future service, beyond a proof of concept, would be subject to an appropriate commercial process subject to any recommendations being agreed to do so. Any future service would increase interview throughput, help rebalance the system, but also speed up decision making, reduce the number of outstanding cases and support costs.

The Home Office will evaluate the success of the proof of concept pilot by conducting an evaluation once we have completed the proof of concept exercise. The evaluation will include a lessons learnt exercise, inform findings and conclusions on any future service requirement.

To ensure external suppliers are suitably equipped to carry out the role, third-party interviewing officers will complete a bespoke training package, delivered by the qualified asylum operations training team, that has been designed specifically to meet their needs. Anyone who conducts asylum interviews receives thorough training to ensure they are fully equipped for the role. The Home Office is not planning to disclose to a claimant if they have been interviewed by a third party rather than a Home Office employee as we expect the experience to equal the existing high standards already in place.

To guarantee governance and accountability, mechanisms are in place for the oversight of third-party interviews, the department has a quality assurance process which assesses the quality of decisions, interviews and the application of Home Office policy.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to her Department's proof of concept pilot on the outsourcing of asylum interviews, whether asylum claimants interviewed under that proof of concept pilot will be informed that they are being interviewed by a third party rather than an employee of her Department.

The Home Office is exploring many options to reduce the number of outstanding asylum claims. Alongside seeking temporary resource from within the Home Office and other government departments, we are also exploring with third-party suppliers, through a proof of concept, to test the viability of whether they can deliver the support required as a temporary, short term measure. Asylum interviews have not been outsourced.

At this stage we are only exploring the potential feasibility of using third party resource to support asylum interviewing, however the name of the third-party supplier who is assisting with the proof of concept is commercially sensitive at this stage.

Any future service, beyond a proof of concept, would be subject to an appropriate commercial process subject to any recommendations being agreed to do so. Any future service would increase interview throughput, help rebalance the system, but also speed up decision making, reduce the number of outstanding cases and support costs.

The Home Office will evaluate the success of the proof of concept pilot by conducting an evaluation once we have completed the proof of concept exercise. The evaluation will include a lessons learnt exercise, inform findings and conclusions on any future service requirement.

To ensure external suppliers are suitably equipped to carry out the role, third-party interviewing officers will complete a bespoke training package, delivered by the qualified asylum operations training team, that has been designed specifically to meet their needs. Anyone who conducts asylum interviews receives thorough training to ensure they are fully equipped for the role. The Home Office is not planning to disclose to a claimant if they have been interviewed by a third party rather than a Home Office employee as we expect the experience to equal the existing high standards already in place.

To guarantee governance and accountability, mechanisms are in place for the oversight of third-party interviews, the department has a quality assurance process which assesses the quality of decisions, interviews and the application of Home Office policy.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of access to legal aid immigration advice by asylum seekers housed at the (a) Napier Barracks in Folkestone and (b) Penally Training Camp in Pembrokeshire; and if she will make a statement.

All asylum seekers have access at all times to Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE), a single, integrated service provided for the Home Office by Migrant Help.

The AIRE service provides advice and guidance to asylum seekers on the asylum process, their rights and signposts different services.

This includes information on the availability of legal advice and representation, including legal aid, upon induction into temporary accommodation.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, which external supplier is providing staff to deliver her Department's proof of concept pilot for the outsourcing of asylum interviews.

The Home Office is exploring many options to reduce the number of outstanding asylum claims. Alongside seeking temporary resource from within the Home Office and other government departments, we are also exploring with third-party suppliers, through a proof of concept, to test the viability of whether they can deliver the support required as a temporary, short term measure. Asylum interviews have not been outsourced.

At this stage we are only exploring the potential feasibility of using third party resource to support asylum interviewing, however the name of the third-party supplier who is assisting with the proof of concept is commercially sensitive at this stage.

Any future service, beyond a proof of concept, would be subject to an appropriate commercial process subject to any recommendations being agreed to do so. Any future service would increase interview throughput, help rebalance the system, but also speed up decision making, reduce the number of outstanding cases and support costs.

The Home Office will evaluate the success of the proof of concept pilot by conducting an evaluation once we have completed the proof of concept exercise. The evaluation will include a lessons learnt exercise, inform findings and conclusions on any future service requirement.

To ensure external suppliers are suitably equipped to carry out the role, third-party interviewing officers will complete a bespoke training package, delivered by the qualified asylum operations training team, that has been designed specifically to meet their needs. Anyone who conducts asylum interviews receives thorough training to ensure they are fully equipped for the role. The Home Office is not planning to disclose to a claimant if they have been interviewed by a third party rather than a Home Office employee as we expect the experience to equal the existing high standards already in place.

To guarantee governance and accountability, mechanisms are in place for the oversight of third-party interviews, the department has a quality assurance process which assesses the quality of decisions, interviews and the application of Home Office policy.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what criteria will be applied to evaluate the success of the proof of concept pilot for the outsourcing of asylum interviews.

The Home Office is exploring many options to reduce the number of outstanding asylum claims. Alongside seeking temporary resource from within the Home Office and other government departments, we are also exploring with third-party suppliers, through a proof of concept, to test the viability of whether they can deliver the support required as a temporary, short term measure. Asylum interviews have not been outsourced.

At this stage we are only exploring the potential feasibility of using third party resource to support asylum interviewing, however the name of the third-party supplier who is assisting with the proof of concept is commercially sensitive at this stage.

Any future service, beyond a proof of concept, would be subject to an appropriate commercial process subject to any recommendations being agreed to do so. Any future service would increase interview throughput, help rebalance the system, but also speed up decision making, reduce the number of outstanding cases and support costs.

The Home Office will evaluate the success of the proof of concept pilot by conducting an evaluation once we have completed the proof of concept exercise. The evaluation will include a lessons learnt exercise, inform findings and conclusions on any future service requirement.

To ensure external suppliers are suitably equipped to carry out the role, third-party interviewing officers will complete a bespoke training package, delivered by the qualified asylum operations training team, that has been designed specifically to meet their needs. Anyone who conducts asylum interviews receives thorough training to ensure they are fully equipped for the role. The Home Office is not planning to disclose to a claimant if they have been interviewed by a third party rather than a Home Office employee as we expect the experience to equal the existing high standards already in place.

To guarantee governance and accountability, mechanisms are in place for the oversight of third-party interviews, the department has a quality assurance process which assesses the quality of decisions, interviews and the application of Home Office policy.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make permanent the change introduced as a result of the covid-19 outbreak which permits new asylum claims to be submitted electronically.

To help reduce the potential spread of Covid 19, in March 2020 the Home Office placed a temporary suspension on the long-standing requirement for fresh asylum claims to be submitted in person in Liverpool. The suspension was brought in as a measure to reduce travel and direct contacts between applicants and officials. It was permitted instead for evidence relating to a fresh claim to be submitted electronically or through the post.

There are no current plans to make the suspension on in-person appointments for fresh asylum claims a permanent arrangement. The situation is kept under regular review, though it is not expected that in-person appointments will resume in the near future.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she make permanent the change introduced in response to the covid-19 outbreak which permits the registration of in-country initial asylum claims in six regional locations.

We take the wellbeing of asylum claimants extremely seriously and have put in place a range of measures to register asylum claims in a safe way for claimants and officials in response to COVID 19.

Asylum in the UK should continue to be sought at the first available opportunity, this means on arrival, at a port of entry. For those who have failed to claim on arrival, or whose circumstances have changed since arrival, can lodge a claim at an in-country location – this is usually by appointment at the Asylum Intake Unit (AIU) in Croydon.

The asylum registration process requires the enrolment of biometrics (photographs and fingerprints) to complete immigration and security checks against Home Office systems. This process requires attendance in person and cannot be undertaken remotely.

The AIU in Croydon has continued operate throughout the COVID 19 pandemic, however in line with Government COVID 19 guidance and restrictions, additional regional locations have been temporarily introduced to ensure asylum seekers are able to safely register their claims. The asylum screening and registration process has been temporarily abridged to minimise in person contact and limit travel required but remains under ongoing review. The AIU and the regional registration locations all facilitate social distancing for the safety of claimants and officials.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 13 October 2020 to Question 100340 on Asylum: Employment, when she plans to (a) complete and (b) publish the review on asylum seeker right to work.

Asylum seeker right to work is a complex issue. A review of the policy is ongoing, and we are considering the evidence put forward on the issue. The findings of the review will be announced once the work has been completed.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if the electronic submission of accompanying evidence for asylum applications electronically will continue following the covid-19 outbreak.

Covid-19 has created both challenges and the opportunity to explore new working practices for the Home Office. Whilst certain documents have been accepted electronically, we consider it is likely we will still need to see certain original document where appropriate in the future.

However, business practices are kept under review and new ways of working which have been implemented to cope with current restrictions, where they have been successful, may be continued beyond the current Covid-19 related restrictions.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the use of digital signatures on domestic violence concession applications will continue after the covid-19 outbreak.

There are no plans to change the current application process for Destitute Domestic Violence Concession cases.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the electronic submission of accompanying evidence for asylum applications electronically will continue at the conclusion of the covid-19 outbreak.

Covid-19 has created both challenges and the opportunity to explore new working practices for the Home Office. Whilst certain documents have been accepted electronically, we consider it is likely we will still need to see certain original document where appropriate in the future. However, business practices are kept under review and new ways of working which have been implemented to cope with current restrictions, where they have been successful, may be continued beyond the current Covid-19 related restrictions.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if the decision to allow biometric information submitted as part of a person’s previous immigration application to be reused in further applications will continue following the covid-19 outbreak.

The Home Office has begun to reuse previously enrolled biometrics in limited circumstances where they are suitable for such use. This includes some students who apply for visas under the new points-based immigration system, to manage the specific demand placed on our resources and to free up biometric enrolment facilities for other applicants. We will consider how best to widen our use of previously enrolled biometrics in due course.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 29 September 2020 to Question 92763 on Asylum: Employment, if she will publish the evidence that granting asylum seekers the right to work could act as an incentive for asylum seekers to come to the UK.

There is already published, independent evidence showing that good economic conditions and essential services can create an incentive for people to choose to go to a particular country illegally. This is because it is easier to work under such conditions – and we cannot ignore that access to the labour market is among the reasons that so many people choose to come to the UK illegally, rather than remain in any of the countries through which they transit.

That is why it is important to distinguish between those who need protection and those seeking to work here, who can apply for a work visa under the Immigration Rules. Our wider policy could be undermined if migrants bypassed work visa Rules by lodging unfounded asylum claims here.

Asylum seeker right to work is a complex issue. This is under review; it is crucial we take the time to get this right and we are listening carefully to the arguments and considering the evidence put forward on the issue. The Home Office will be happy to discuss the content of the review once it has been completed.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
7th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to Answer of 29 September to Question 92763 on the right to work for asylum seekers, what is the evidential basis for the policy that granting asylum seekers the right to work would cause migrants to bypass work visa rules by lodging asylum claims.

There is already published, independent evidence showing that good economic conditions and essential services can create an incentive for people to choose to go to a particular country illegally. This is because it is easier to work under such conditions – and we cannot ignore that access to the labour market is among the reasons that so many people choose to come to the UK illegally, rather than remain in any of the countries through which they transit.

That is why it is important to distinguish between those who need protection and those seeking to work here, who can apply for a work visa under the Immigration Rules. Our wider policy could be undermined if migrants bypassed work visa Rules by lodging unfounded asylum claims here.

Asylum seeker right to work is a complex issue. This is under review; it is crucial we take the time to get this right and we are listening carefully to the arguments and considering the evidence put forward on the issue. The Home Office will be happy to discuss the content of the review once it has been completed.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the timetable is for the publication of the report by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration on Refugee Family Reunion for which evidence was called for in June 2019.

The Home Secretary is considering the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s report on Family Reunion Applications and it will be laid in Parliament as soon as possible.

ICIBI reports can only be laid before Parliament when both houses are sitting.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what has been the (a) shortest, (b) longest and (c) average time taken by her Department to process a refund of the NHS immigration health surcharge.

The information requested is not held in a reportable format and could therefore only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the cost to the public purse has been of processing refunds in relation to the immigration health surcharge paid on immigration applications by (a) NHS workers and (b) health and social care staff since 21 May 2020.

The information requested is not held in a reportable format and could therefore only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of enabling people to apply for asylum at Regional Intake Units.

We take the wellbeing of asylum seekers extremely seriously.

As part of our response to COVID-19, we have introduced regional intake units to allow asylum claims to be registered in a safe way that adheres to social distancing guidance and minimises travel.

The introduction of the regional intake units in Glasgow, Belfast, Liverpool, Leeds, Solihull and Cardiff, is a temporary measure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and these changes do not represent a new operating model. These are contingency measures put in place to allow asylum claims to be registered in a safe manner and ensure those that are at immediate risk of destitution can access support.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make it her policy to end enforced room sharing between non-related persons in asylum support accommodation.

Room sharing take place in a number of sectors and is not limited to supported asylum seekers.

There asylum accommodation contracts set out clearly when room sharing can take place and the numbers of people sharing rooms is minimal.

There are currently no plans to end room sharing for unrelated asylum seeking adults.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will extend the suspension of evictions from asylum accommodation beyond the 30 June 2020 deadline.

The decision to suspend the cessation of support will be reviewed before the end of June.

A comprehensive cessation plan, on how to recommence support cessations and evictions is being worked through with discussions with Local Authorities, Other Government Departments and Stakeholders, which included members of the voluntary and community sector.

Generally, upon receipt of a “positive” cessation a person is given 28 days’ notice and is referred to the Department of Work and Pensions to apply for benefits if they require them and to Local Authorities for housing assistance. During the Covid 19 crisis newly granted refugees have been continuing to receive support and accommodation while their applications to mainstream benefits have been considered.

All people currently accommodated within our accommodation can receive advice on asylum support and have access to our Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE) provider, Migrant Help. They can contact Migrant Help 24 hours a day on a freephone number if they need assistance or guidance.

We remain committed to working closely with the accommodation providers and communicating with local authorities to relieve pressure and capacity as much as possible and ensure that health guidance is being followed.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions her Department has had with representatives from (a) civil society and (b) faith organisations on the next phase of support for people in the asylum system during the covid-19 outbreak.

The decision to suspend the cessation of support will be reviewed before the end of June.

A comprehensive cessation plan, on how to recommence support cessations and evictions is being worked through with discussions with Local Authorities, Other Government Departments and Stakeholders, which included members of the voluntary and community sector.

Generally, upon receipt of a “positive” cessation a person is given 28 days’ notice and is referred to the Department of Work and Pensions to apply for benefits if they require them and to Local Authorities for housing assistance. During the Covid 19 crisis newly granted refugees have been continuing to receive support and accommodation while their applications to mainstream benefits have been considered.

All people currently accommodated within our accommodation can receive advice on asylum support and have access to our Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE) provider, Migrant Help. They can contact Migrant Help 24 hours a day on a freephone number if they need assistance or guidance.

We remain committed to working closely with the accommodation providers and communicating with local authorities to relieve pressure and capacity as much as possible and ensure that health guidance is being followed.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what support her Department provides to help people granted refugee status access mainstream (a) welfare benefits and (b) accommodation during the covid-19 outbreak.

The decision to suspend the cessation of support will be reviewed before the end of June.

A comprehensive cessation plan, on how to recommence support cessations and evictions is being worked through with discussions with Local Authorities, Other Government Departments and Stakeholders, which included members of the voluntary and community sector.

Generally, upon receipt of a “positive” cessation a person is given 28 days’ notice and is referred to the Department of Work and Pensions to apply for benefits if they require them and to Local Authorities for housing assistance. During the Covid 19 crisis newly granted refugees have been continuing to receive support and accommodation while their applications to mainstream benefits have been considered.

All people currently accommodated within our accommodation can receive advice on asylum support and have access to our Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE) provider, Migrant Help. They can contact Migrant Help 24 hours a day on a freephone number if they need assistance or guidance.

We remain committed to working closely with the accommodation providers and communicating with local authorities to relieve pressure and capacity as much as possible and ensure that health guidance is being followed.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on ensuring that people that are (a) homeless and (b) destitute are able to access support from local authorities irrespective of their immigration status.

The Home Office and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) are in touch regularly about these issues and are keeping the situation under review to consider if further measures are needed.

The Government has provided £1.6 billion of additional funding to local authorities to enable them to respond to Covid-19 pressures across all the services they deliver, including stepping up support for the adult social care workforce and for services helping the most vulnerable.

Using the General Power of Competence set out in s.1 Localism Act 2011, local authorities may provide support to a person who is ineligible for assistance due to immigration status.

Additionally, the Home Office has confirmed in light of the pandemic, anyone who would normally cease to be eligible for accommodation because their asylum claim and any appeal has been resolved, is being allowed to remain in their current accommodation for at least the next three months. This applies both to those who have been refused asylum and granted asylum.

All people in asylum accommodation have been provided with guidance and advice on Covid-19 in a language they understand to help them self-isolate, including spotting the symptoms and hygiene guidance.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the effect of the covid-19 outbreak on applicants being able to access timely legal advice on their asylum cases, if her Department will temporarily suspend the issuing of decisions to refuse asylum applications.

Asylum Operations have put in place the appropriate measures to safeguard our people and those using our services against the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. We are continuing to make decisions on cases where we have already interviewed the claimant, or we have sufficient information to allow us to make a decision.

We remain committed to ensuring that all asylum seekers are given the opportunity to consult a legal representative, so that those who are seeking protection, can access good quality immigration advice from qualified legal representatives, to ensure their asylum claim is presented properly and in a timely manner.

We will continue to review the situation in light of COVID-19 and our approach may change as things develop further. Asylum Operations may have to limit the services provided, but will seek to ensure the most vulnerable are protected and prioritised.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
23rd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that people can continue to access the asylum system.

The Home Office is updating guidance and processes in accordance with Public Health England advice in relation to the Covid-19 outbreak to ensure people can continue to access essential systems.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
19th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she plans to take to protect migrants unable to attend (a) reporting appointments, (b) court dates and (c) interviews self-isolating during the covid-19 outbreak from being penalised.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 16 March, and Public Health England (PHE) advice in relation to COVID-19, Home Office Immigration Enforcement are reviewing the frequency with which people need to report. While this goes ahead, we have temporarily deferred reporting.

We will continue to contact all those who report via SMS text message with details of their future reporting dates and will keep this under review in light of the ongoing situation.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her timescale is for Emergency Services Network and Extended Area Service masts in (a) Kentmere, (b) Longsleddale and (c) Langdale becoming operational.

The Extended Area Service (EAS) is a critical part of the new Emergency Services Network (ESN). It will ensure that there is ESN coverage in the most rural and remote parts of Great Britain. The EAS programme consists of 292 masts and delivery is well under way. The EAS network is already being built, where possible, to support commercial operators, and we agree that this proposal is a valuable opportunity to enhance the benefit of Government programmes to deliver improved connectivity across the country.

In respect of the EAS sites in question I can give the following updates:

a. The site in Kentmere is currently in the preliminary build stage. There are existing high voltage overhead power lines in close proximity to the site so we are currently working to divert those prior to start of construction.

The current forecast date for completion of build is August 2020.

b. The site Longsleddale is currently in build and we are forecasting completion by end the of March 2020 with power on site forecasted to be June 2020.

c. The site in Langdale is at a National Trust campsite in Great Langdale and is currently at the acquisition stage. The current build completion forecast is March 2021, providing negotiations around the acquisition of the site remain are completed in good time.

The Home Office is focusing efforts on getting the infrastructure builds completed as quickly as possible. The sites are expected to be activated for ESN purposes closer to the time at which they are required, given that significant operational costs are incurred once the sites are live.

The site in Kentmere will be a lattice structure and will be capable of housing Mobile Network Operators equipment to offer a commercial service once built, however, it is a matter for EE whether they elect to offer a commercial service from the site. The Sites in Longsleddale and Langdale will be monopole structures, due to planning restrictions, and will only offer a commercial service to Mobile Network Operator EE should they wish to activate it.

The primary purpose of the ESN infrastructure planned for Kentmere, Longsleddale and Langdale is that it will ensure that Britain’s Emergency Services have reliable communications coverage in these areas. However, once the infrastructure has been delivered, we will seek wherever possible to make it available to the mobile operators to offer a commercial service. As a result, the areas of Kentmere, Longsleddale and Langdale may benefit from improved commercial mobile coverage.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment the Government has made of the (a) reliability and (b) adequacy of emergency services access to mobile coverage in (i) Kentmere, (ii) Longsleddale and (iii) Langdale.

The Extended Area Service (EAS) is a critical part of the new Emergency Services Network (ESN). It will ensure that there is ESN coverage in the most rural and remote parts of Great Britain. The EAS programme consists of 292 masts and delivery is well under way. The EAS network is already being built, where possible, to support commercial operators, and we agree that this proposal is a valuable opportunity to enhance the benefit of Government programmes to deliver improved connectivity across the country.

In respect of the EAS sites in question I can give the following updates:

a. The site in Kentmere is currently in the preliminary build stage. There are existing high voltage overhead power lines in close proximity to the site so we are currently working to divert those prior to start of construction.

The current forecast date for completion of build is August 2020.

b. The site Longsleddale is currently in build and we are forecasting completion by end the of March 2020 with power on site forecasted to be June 2020.

c. The site in Langdale is at a National Trust campsite in Great Langdale and is currently at the acquisition stage. The current build completion forecast is March 2021, providing negotiations around the acquisition of the site remain are completed in good time.

The Home Office is focusing efforts on getting the infrastructure builds completed as quickly as possible. The sites are expected to be activated for ESN purposes closer to the time at which they are required, given that significant operational costs are incurred once the sites are live.

The site in Kentmere will be a lattice structure and will be capable of housing Mobile Network Operators equipment to offer a commercial service once built, however, it is a matter for EE whether they elect to offer a commercial service from the site. The Sites in Longsleddale and Langdale will be monopole structures, due to planning restrictions, and will only offer a commercial service to Mobile Network Operator EE should they wish to activate it.

The primary purpose of the ESN infrastructure planned for Kentmere, Longsleddale and Langdale is that it will ensure that Britain’s Emergency Services have reliable communications coverage in these areas. However, once the infrastructure has been delivered, we will seek wherever possible to make it available to the mobile operators to offer a commercial service. As a result, the areas of Kentmere, Longsleddale and Langdale may benefit from improved commercial mobile coverage.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
27th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans she has to consult with businesses on the potential effect of the Offensive Weapons Act 2019 prior to its implementation.

We held a public consultation on the draft statutory guidance on measures in the Offensive Weapons Act, which included the sale and delivery of bladed articles, bladed products and corrosives from the 15th August 2019 to the 9th October 2019. The responses to that consultation have been considered and we will shortly be publishing the Government response alongside final statutory guidance ahead of commencement of the measures in the Act.

Victoria Atkins
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to inform employers of the entitlement to work of people with pre-settled status.

We have a comprehensive and ongoing programme of engagement with businesses of all sizes, across the UK, to ensure they fully understand their obligations as employers of EU nationals.

We have made it clear there is no requirement for employers to differentiate between those with settled and pre-settled status. EU citizens continue to be able to use their passport or national identity card to evidence their right to work and this will not change until 30 June 2021.

Employers must not discriminate between those who have been granted a status under the EU Settlement Scheme and those who have not.

Further guidance on right to work checks after 30 June 2021 will be issued in due course.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to continue beyond 2020-21 her Department's plan to resettle 5,000–6,000 refugees in that year.

On 17 June 2019, the former Home Secretary reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to refugee resettlement by announcing a new, global scheme, which will begin in 2020 and aims to resettle in the region of 5,000 refugees in its first year of operation. It is right that we continue to offer safe and legal routes to the UK for the most vulnerable refugees, for whom resettlement is the only durable solution. Detailed plans for resettlement in future years have not yet been confirmed.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many substantive asylum interviews were conducted (a) in total and (b) by video conference in 2019.

The Home Office are unable to provide the number of substantive asylum interviews that were conducted in total and by video conference in 2019, as this information is not held in a reportable format and could only be obtained at disproportionate costs.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress her Department has made on circulating information on the EU Settled Status Scheme to EU citizens and communities in rural and other hard to reach areas of the UK.

In order to ensure that resident EEA nationals and their family members understand how and by when to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, the Home Office has put in place a comprehensive communications and engagement plan, using all available channels to reach our audiences – such as marketing, presentations, email updates, toolkits and webinars.

The Home Office has delivered a £4 million marketing campaign to encourage resident EEA nationals to apply and further campaign activity is planned. Alongside this campaign activity, we have also undertaken extensive engagement and outreach with stake-holder groups, including employers, local authorities and community organisations. No-one will be left behind, which is why we are working in partnership with representatives of vulnerable groups and other experts to make sure everyone knows what they need to do and has the right level of support.

Brandon Lewis
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what his planned timetable is for publication of the results of his Department's consultation on local authority remote meetings.

The Department is reviewing the responses to the consultation and will respond in due course. However, any permanent change would require legislation, and would depend upon Parliamentary time being available.

21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether covid-19 guidance for places of worship will be updated to allow congregations to sing with masks on, similar to those provisions made in the Welsh Government's new covid-19 guidance, from 21 June 2021 as covid-19 restrictions are eased.

Places of worship play an important role in providing spiritual leadership and bringing communities together, however their communal nature makes them particularly vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus.

Congregational singing is under restrictions due to the increased risk of transmission through small droplets and aerosols. This means that those partaking in these activities are at higher risk of transmitting the virus and thus, spreading infection even if the individual is vaccinated.

On 17 May we entered step 3 on the Prime Minister’s roadmap, reintroducing indoor singing in a place of worship for a performance or rehearsal, for a group up to 6 amateur signers. This is in line with all amateur choirs and singing groups. Outdoors, the congregation may join in with singing in multiple groups of up to 30. Congregation members should continue to follow social distancing rules.

Public health is a devolved matter in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and so many of the health measures implemented across the UK in response to Covid-19 fall within the competence of the devolved administrations. There are currently no plans to allow congregational singing with masks on to resume before Step 4 of the roadmap in England, which would be no earlier than 19 July.

Eddie Hughes
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department made of the potential merits of using ONS 2014-based Household Projections data to calculate standard method housing targets, rather than 2018-based Household Projections.

Following consultation last year on the standard method for assessing local housing need, and after a year of uncertainty due to COVID-19, it became apparent that it was particularly important to provide stability and certainty for plan-making and decision-making. This is so that local areas can get on and plan based on a method and level of ambition that they are familiar with.

The Government therefore carefully considered whether to use the 2018-based household projections and concluded that, in the interests of stability for local planning and for local communities, it will continue to expect only the use of the 2014-based household projections. This gives local areas the best possible chance of meeting the deadline of December 2023, the date by which all authorities are expected to have up-to-date plans.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent progress he has made on the Business rates treatment of self-catering accommodation consultation.

The Government is grateful to those who responded to the consultation, and is considering how to address the questions raised.

This includes considering the impact on local authorities’ income and the Exchequer, the deliverability of possible reforms, and the impact of coronavirus on the UK’s tourism industry.

The Government will set out its next steps in due course.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what his plans are for the proposed Woodhouse Colliery coal mine in Cumbria.

On 2 October, Cumbria County Council resolved to grant planning permission for the revised application for the proposed Woodhouse Colliery coal mine. An Article 31 holding Direction has been placed on the application to allow the Secretary of State time to consider whether call in is warranted, following requests from yourself and environmental groups. The application is currently being assessed and the Secretary of State will issue his decision, whereupon relevant parties will be notified.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effect of local government reorganisations planned for 2021 on the ability of local government bodies to support their communities during the covid-19 outbreak.

Government has invited unitarisation proposals from Cumbria, Somerset and North Yorkshire; councils in these areas have been developing ideas about restructuring local government in their areas for some time, and had requested such invitations. It is right that they should now have the opportunity to make proposals for new unitary councils. If Parliament approves the implementation of any such proposal, it is likely that the new unitary councils would be established from 1 April 2023, and hence most of the implementation work councils will be undertaking will be in 2022/23.

Any reform of an area’s local government is most effectively achieved through locally led proposals, put forward by those who best know the area and who are best placed to assess the benefits, including savings as well as resource and implementation requirements.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to provide local authorities with additional resources to enable them to continue to support their communities during the covid-19 outbreak in the event that they are also required to be subject to local government reorganisation at the same time.

Government has invited unitarisation proposals from Cumbria, Somerset and North Yorkshire; councils in these areas have been developing ideas about restructuring local government in their areas for some time, and had requested such invitations. It is right that they should now have the opportunity to make proposals for new unitary councils. If Parliament approves the implementation of any such proposal, it is likely that the new unitary councils would be established from 1 April 2023, and hence most of the implementation work councils will be undertaking will be in 2022/23.

Any reform of an area’s local government is most effectively achieved through locally led proposals, put forward by those who best know the area and who are best placed to assess the benefits, including savings as well as resource and implementation requirements.

23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what his policy is on eviction for private rental tenants in (a) Tier 1, (b) Tier 2 and (c) Tier 3 local covid-19 alert areas.

Bailiffs have been asked not to enforce evictions across England whilst the new, toughened national restrictions apply from 5th November. The only exceptions to this will be the most egregious cases, including cases of illegal occupation, fraud, where tenants have demonstrated anti-social behaviour or are the perpetrator of domestic abuse in social housing and where a property is unoccupied following the death of a tenant. We also intend to introduce an exemption for extreme pre-Covid rent arrears and will provide more detail in due course.

Together with the pause on evictions starting in December, this means that evictions will not be enforced in England until the 11 January at the earliest, except in the most serious circumstances. We believe this strikes the right balance between prioritising public health and supporting the most vulnerable renters, whilst ensuring landlords can access and exercise their right to justice for the most serious cases.

To further protect renters over winter, we legislated in August to increase notice periods to 6 months in all but the most serious circumstances. This means that most tenants served notice now would not be asked to leave until at least May 2021.

We have worked closely with the judiciary on new court arrangements to ensure appropriate support to all parties as the courts restart possession proceedings. These arrangements include new court rules which require landlords to set out any information they are aware of in relation to how their tenant, or any dependent of their tenant, has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic when bringing a possession claim to court. Landlords are also required to notify the court and their tenant where they wish to continue pursuing a possession claim that was already in the system before 3 August. These new arrangements apply in all courts across all tiers.

The listing of the cases is a matter for the judiciary, but they will be prioritising the most serious cases, including anti-social behaviour, domestic abuse, and extreme rent arrears. Again, this will apply across all tiers of local COVID alert areas.

Prior to the introduction of national restrictions, the Government had announced additional surge funding to support areas moving into the second alert level as well as the third. Areas moving into the Tier 2 (alert level ‘high’) will receive £3 per person, with a further £5 per person (totalling £8 per person) provided for areas moving into Tier 3 (alert level ‘very high’).

In addition to this, on Thursday 22 October the Government announced details of the further £1 billion of financial support for local authorities to support their communities through this pandemic. This further support reaffirms the Government’s continued support to councils during this unprecedented time. Over £900 million will be provided in an un-ringfenced grant in line with previous tranches of funding, recognising local authorities are best placed to decide how to meet the major COVID-19 service pressures in their local area – including supporting renters.

This brings the total funding given directly to councils during the pandemic, so far, to £6.4 billion. This includes £4.6 billion in un-ringfenced funding, £1.1 billion from the Infection Control Fund, and £300 million to support Test and Trace, as well as funding allocated to councils from the new Local Alert Level system and a number of grants to support communities and vulnerable people.

These measures build on the Government’s major economic package of support to help renters continue to meet their housing costs. This includes the Chancellor’s recent announcement to extend the Job Retention Scheme to March 2021 and over £9 billion boost to the welfare system, including an extra £1 billion to increase Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates so that they cover the lowest 30 per cent of market rents.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
23rd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of requiring landlords to register eviction notices at the point of delivery, so that his Department would obtain accurate records of all evictions including those which do not proceed to court.

There are no plans to require landlords to record eviction notices at the point of delivery; this information is not collected centrally by the government and we have made no assessment of the merits of increasing data collection in this way.

To further protect renters, the measures in the Coronavirus Act 2020 mean that landlords must now give 6 months’ notice except in the most serious cases.

To gather data, we work closely with the Ministry of Justice and HM Courts and Tribunal Service to monitor possession proceedings. The Ministry of Justice publishes national statistics on possession actions in county courts by private and social landlords. This includes statistics on claims, orders, warrants and possessions.

The Department also conducts regular surveys such as the annual English Housing Survey and the English Private Landlord Survey to gather data. These include questions regarding ending a tenancy and the reasons for it, and both the English Housing Survey and English Private Landlord survey will be published next year.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of properties given zero valuations as a result of being unable to prove EWS1 certification.

Some lenders do not require an EWS1 form, and others seek them for a greater range of buildings than the process was designed for. It is not a Government policy or regulatory requirement and the department does not hold data on its use.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to (a) narrow the scope of the EWS1 process and (b) review his Department's policies and advice to lenders on that process.

The External Wall System (EWS1) and process is designed by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) with mortgage lenders to assist with valuation of high-rise residential buildings. Some lenders do not require an EWS1 form, and others seek them for a greater range of buildings than the process was designed for. It is not a Government policy or regulatory requirement. The Government does not support the blanket use of EWS1, especially for lower rise blocks. We are encouraging lenders to accept a broader range of evidence to assure themselves of a building’s safety. This could include a fire risk assessment that includes external walls, a recent building control certificate, or other assurances of the building’s safety the building owner can provide.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of EWS1 on the ability of leaseholders to (a) sell or (b) re-mortgage properties.

Some lenders do not require an EWS1 form, and others seek them for a greater range of buildings than the process was designed for. It is not a Government policy or regulatory requirement and the department does not hold data on its use.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent discussions he has had with leaseholders who are unable to (a) sell or (b) re-mortgage their properties as a result of not having an EWS1 certificate.

Ministers and officials had recent meetings with leaseholder groups and Housing Associations to explore these challenges.

The EWS1 process is not a Government policy or regulatory requirement and the Government does not support a blanket approach in EWS1 use for lower risk properties. Some lenders do not require an EWS1 form, and others seek them for a greater range of buildings than the process was designed for. We are encouraging lenders to accept a broader range of evidence to assure themselves of a building’s safety. This could include a fire risk assessment that includes external walls, a recent building control certificate, or other assurances of the building’s safety the building owner can provide.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of buildings that will require a new ESW1 certification assessment every 5 years.

The EWS1 process is not a Government policy or regulatory requirement and the Government does not support a blanket approach in EWS1 use for lower risk properties. Some lenders do not require an EWS1 form, and others seek them for a greater range of buildings than the process was designed for. EWS1 assessments are commissioned by individual building owners, the department does not hold data on their use.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of Section 21 eviction notices served since the Government consultation on removing Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 on 12 October 2019.

The Department does not routinely collect data on the number of Section 21 notices served by landlords. The service of a Section 21 notice precedes the court process for possession and does not necessarily lead to any action in court.

The Ministry of Justice publishes national statistics on possession actions in county courts by private and social landlords at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/mortgage-and-landlord-possession-statistics-april-to-june-2020. This includes statistics on claims, orders, warrants and possessions.

We have changed the requirements on notice periods in response to the Coronavirus pandemic so that Section 21 notices issued on or after the 29th August must provide tenants with six months’ notice before a landlord can lodge a claim for possession in court.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate he has made of the number of section 21 eviction notices served from 12 October 2019 to 12 October 2020.

The Department does not routinely collect data on the number of Section 21 notices served by landlords. The service of a Section 21 notice precedes the court process for possession and does not necessarily lead to any action in court.

The Ministry of Justice publishes national statistics on possession actions in county courts by private and social landlords at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/mortgage-and-landlord-possession-statistics-april-to-june-2020. This includes statistics on claims, orders, warrants and possessions.

We have changed the requirements on notice periods in response to the Coronavirus pandemic so that Section 21 notices issued on or after the 29th August must provide tenants with six months’ notice before a landlord can lodge a claim for possession in court.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
29th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the availability of winter night shelter provision during the covid-19 restrictions.

The current advice remains that night shelters should remain closed for now – and providers should continue to explore alternative options for self-contained accommodation.

However, we recognise that the sector needs clarity on provision as winter approaches. We are working with the sector and health experts to consider operating principles shelters would need to follow so that they can be reopened as safely as possible, when self-contained accommodation cannot be made available. We will be setting out further advice on this as soon as possible.

On 17 September we announced local authority allocations for the short-term funding aspect of Next Steps Accommodation Programme (NSAP). £91.5 million was allocated to 274 councils in England to help vulnerable people housed during the pandemic. The remaining £13.5 million of funding will be used to support local authorities to tackle new and emerging challenges over the winter.

We are also funding significant longer-term accommodation for rough sleepers via the NSAP – 3,300 homes this year alone – and tailored support so as few people as possible housed in emergency accommodation return to life on the streets.

24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Accelerator Cities project in increasing low carbon home retrofit activity.

We welcome all initiatives in this area but my Department does not collect this information.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the proposed National Infrastructure Levy for increasing the delivery of on-site (a) social and (b) affordable housing.

We intend to reform the current approach to developer contributions by creating a new, single system, the Infrastructure Levy. This new Levy would be a flat rate, value based charge, set nationally, at either a single rate, or at area specific rates, and charged on the final value of a development. The new Levy would be able to fund both affordable housing and supporting infrastructure. We will aim for the new Levy to raise more revenue than under the current system of developer contributions, and deliver at least as much – if not more – on-site affordable housing as at present. Our proposals are set out in our White Paper ‘Planning for the Future’ which was published on 6 August and is out to consultation until 29th October. The consultation responses will support the assessment of the proposals, and detailed design.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the proposed National Infrastructure Levy on the flexibility of affordable housing policies in high-value areas.

We intend to reform the current approach to developer contributions by creating a new, single system, the Infrastructure Levy. This new Levy would be a flat rate, value based charge, set nationally, at either a single rate, or at area specific rates, and charged on the final value of a development. The new Levy would be able to fund both affordable housing and supporting infrastructure. We will aim for the new Levy to raise more revenue than under the current system of developer contributions, and deliver at least as much – if not more – on-site affordable housing as at present. Our proposals are set out in our White Paper ‘Planning for the Future’ which was published on 6 August and is out to consultation until 29th October. The consultation responses will support the assessment of the proposals, and detailed design.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of potential effect of the proposed National Infrastructure Levy on local authorities' prioritisation of the delivery of social and affordable housing.

We intend to reform the current approach to developer contributions by creating a new, single system, the Infrastructure Levy. This new Levy would be a flat rate, value based charge, set nationally, at either a single rate, or at area specific rates, and charged on the final value of a development. The new Levy would be able to fund both affordable housing and supporting infrastructure. We will aim for the new Levy to raise more revenue than under the current system of developer contributions, and deliver at least as much – if not more – on-site affordable housing as at present. Our proposals are set out in our White Paper ‘Planning for the Future’ which was published on 6 August and is out to consultation until 29th October. The consultation responses will support the assessment of the proposals, and detailed design.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps his Department is taking to analyse the extent of the use of options agreements in the English land market in order to understand how a shift to a zonal planning system will increase the amounts of land being made available to small and medium sized developers.

My Department is currently consulting on options for increasing the transparency of contractual controls, including options agreements, used to exercise control over land. The consultation can be found at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/907213/Call_for_evidence_on_Contractual_Controls.pdf. It closes on 30 October 2020.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
16th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish modelling undertaken by his Department on the potential effect of the proposed expansion of the Small Sites Exemption Policy on (a) the number of sites likely to be exempted and (b) the delivery of social and affordable housing.

The Government is currently consulting on this matter. Details of the impact are set out in the consultation document: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/changes-to-the-current-planning-system.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department plans to issue updated guidance to local authorities on the reopening of public toilets as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

The Government has made clear through Covid-19 guidance, which is updated regularly, that public toilets, portable toilets and toilets inside premises should be kept open and carefully managed to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19. This includes, for example, guidance on Safer Public Places - Urban Centres and Green Spaces and Working safely during Coronavirus.

To help everyone maintain good hygiene, consideration should be given to configuration of toilets facilities to ensure they are kept clean, with social distancing achieved as far as possible and with best practice handwashing followed.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, which local authorities (a) have and (b) have not reopened public toilets as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

MHCLG does not collect this data.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what funding his Department has allocated to local authorities to reopen public toilets in compliance with covid-secure guidelines.

We have allocated £4.3 billion to local authorities so they can address the pressures they are facing in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, including £3.7 billion in unringfenced grant and the £600m Infection Control Fund. This unringfenced funding can be used to address local priorities, including reopening public toilets in compliance with covid-secure guidelines.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
21st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether the Government plans to issue updated guidance to local authorities on the reopening of disabled toilets as the covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased.

Government has made clear through Covid-19 guidance, which is updated regularly, that public toilets, portable toilets and toilets inside premises should be kept open and carefully managed to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19.

To help everyone maintain good hygiene, consideration should be given to configuration of toilets facilities to ensure they are kept clean, with social distancing achieved as far as possible and with best practice handwashing followed.

The impacts of measures on the disabled and other groups needs to be kept under consideration. Local authorities are subject to the Equality Act and the Public Sector Equality duty will apply to decisions relating to these measures.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish details of (a) meetings and (b) correspondence he has had with representatives, employees or associates of (i) WCM and (ii) Banks Group.

The Secretary of State has not had any meetings with representatives, employees or associates of West Cumbria Mining or Banks Group.

Correspondence received on behalf of West Cumbria Mining and Banks Group relate to live planning decisions. As such it would not be appropriate to publish it before the decisions are issued in these cases.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with reference to the Prime Minister's speech of 30 June 2020, what plans his Department has to publish the results of the review into the quality of homes delivered through permitted development rights before he introduces the new permitted development rights outlined in documents accompanying Prime Minister's speech.

We have said that we would review the quality standard of homes delivered through permitted development rights for the change of use. The report will be published in due course.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish the letter sent from the Minister for Homelessness to local authorities on 28 May 2020 on the moving on phase of accommodating rough sleepers who have been offered emergency accommodation as part of the covid-19 response; and if he will publish the Government’s advice to councils on their duties to provide emergency accommodation to rough sleepers and those becoming homeless during that outbreak.

The letter sent from the Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing to local authorities on 28 May 2020 can be accessed via the following link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-letter-sent-on-28-may-2020-to-councils-about-accommodating-rough-sleepers

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government will continue to work collaboratively across government, and with councils, health providers and charities, to ensure rough sleepers can move into safe accommodation once the immediate crisis is over.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether his Department plans to publish further guidance to local authorities on how they should be accommodating (a) rough sleepers and (b) homeless people and families as part of the Government's response to the covid-19 outbreak.

MHCLG and our team of Expert Advisers are working closely with local authorities to inform and co-produce their ‘next steps’ plans, identifying local solutions for those individuals currently in hotels and other emergency accommodation. We have recently announced new funding, set out below, to help to resource these ‘next steps’ efforts and we will shortly be publishing detailed guidance to support local authorities to develop and bring forward proposals to the fund.

On 24 June, we announced that we are providing local authorities with a further £105 million to enable them to best support the c15,000 people placed into emergency accommodation during the COVID-19 pandemic. This commitment will help to ensure that as few of these people as possible return to the streets, by helping to secure tenancies, as well as provide short-term housing while plans for long-term homes continue at pace for those accommodated throughout the pandemic. The funding will cover a range of interventions, from moves into the private rented sector, to?extending?or procuring interim accommodation, such as hotels or student accommodation, and supporting individuals to reconnect with friends or family.

This funding is on top of the £433m that we announced on 24 May to provide thousands of additional long-term homes for vulnerable rough sleepers. Homes England, in partnership with MHCLG, have pledged to work hand in hand with leading Housing Associations and local authorities to deliver this. Further detailed information on the process to allocate this funding is being co-produced with partners and will be published in due course.

There are no current plans to change the statutory homelessness duties, beyond the extension of automatic priority need to domestic abuse victims, which the Secretary of State announced on 2 May. Local authorities’ duties include those under the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 to seek to prevent and relieve homelessness for all eligible households, as well as responsibilities under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996 to provide suitable accommodation for homeless households that are eligible, have a priority need for accommodation and are not homeless intentionally.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, whether he plans to allocate additional funding to local housing authorities to help those authorities procure accommodation for (a) rough sleepers and (b) homeless people and families as part of the Government's response to the covid-19 outbreak.

On 24 May we announced radical plans to provide thousands of long-term, safe homes for vulnerable rough sleepers taken off the streets during this pandemic. This commitment will be backed by £160 million this year through accelerating plans for the £381 million announced for rough sleeping services at Budget, bringing the total to £433 million over the lifetime of this parliament. The Government is increasing the revenue support of the total programme by 37 per cent to make sure that the rough sleepers have the support they need to stay off the streets for good. This funding will support up to 6,000 rough sleepers into longer term accommodation, with 3,300 units of this accommodation becoming available in the next 12 months. Homes England, in partnership with MHCLG, have pledged to work hand-in-hand with leading housing associations and local authorities to deliver this.

On 24 June an additional £105 million was announced for local authorities to enable them to best support the c15,000 people placed into emergency accommodation during the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding is on top of the £433 million announced on the 24 May. Together, these funding streams will enable us to deliver a comprehensive Next Steps and Recover Strategy which will support thousands of individuals to stay safe during the pandemic and ultimately to turn their lives around. Further detailed information on the process to allocate funding is being co-produced with partners and will be published in due course.

Both before and during the pandemic the Government has also put in place significant funding to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping over 2020/21, including:

  • £112 million was allocated this year for the Rough Sleeping Initiative (RSI), an increase of £26 million on 2019/20 funding. We will work with areas to consider how the RSI work will change to reflect the different levels of need and response needed as a result of COVID-19.
  • £3.2 billion has been provided to support councils to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, which includes providing support for vulnerable rough sleepers.
  • This is in addition to £3.2 million in targeted funding for councils to support vulnerable rough sleepers.

For those who require additional support, Discretionary Housing Payments are available.?There is already £180 million in Discretionary Housing Payments available for local authorities to distribute for supporting renters with housing costs in 2020/21 including an additional £40 million to tackle affordability pressures in the private rented sector. We have increased the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants so that they are set at the 30th percentile of market rents. This is an important policy that will benefit 1.6 million people.

22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what estimate his Department has made of the (a) potential number and (b) redundancies to date in the residential construction sector due to the reduction in housebuilding during the covid-19 outbreak.

The ONS publishes survey data on a fortnightly basis on the proportion of the construction workforce that has been furloughed, off sick owing to coronavirus, or made redundant. Data for the housing construction subsector is not available.

https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/economicoutputandproductivity/output/datasets/businessimpactofcovid19surveybicsresults

The Government has put in place a number of measures to support the construction industry during the response to COVID-19. Many construction firms have made use of the Job Retention Scheme for their employees and apprentices, alongside Government-backed loans and tax holidays.

It remains as important as ever to invest in the skilled workforce to build the homes this country needs. My department is working with the Department for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy, the Department for Education, and the Construction Industry Training Board to support the industry to continue to recruit and train during this time.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment his Department has made of the potential contribution of the construction of social housing to the economic recovery of the UK after the covid-19 outbreak.

The delivery of new social housing will contribute to economic recovery, in particular by supporting construction activity. The Government is committed to increasing the supply of social housing in view of the social and economic benefits this will generate. We have made £9 billion available through the Affordable Homes Programme to March 2022 to deliver approximately 250,000 new affordable homes in a wide range of tenures, including Social Rent, Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy. We announced at Budget that we will invest £12 billion to build affordable homes between 2021/22 and 2025/26 – the biggest cash investment in affordable housing for a decade.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has for the funding of the Affordable Homes Programme.

The Government is committed to increasing the supply of social housing and has made £9 billion available through the Affordable Homes Programme to March 2022 to deliver approximately 250,000 new affordable homes in a wide range of tenures, including Social Rent, Shared Ownership and Rent to Buy.

Building on this, we announced at Budget 2020 that we are investing £12 billion to build affordable homes between 2021/22 and 2025/26. This will be the biggest cash investment in affordable housing for a decade.

This new 5-year investment will deliver additional affordable housing, help people to own their own home, and build social rent homes to help families and those most at risk of homelessness in areas of the country where affordability pressure is acute. A mix of different tenures is vital to meet the needs of a wide range of people, and to allow the sector to build the right homes in the right places.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
15th Jun 2020
What discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the provision of covid-19 testing facilities for homelessness accommodation providers.

We are working closely with the DHSC and are committed to the safety of homelessness accommodation. Anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19 can access testing and symptomatic frontline homelessness staff can be tested as a priority, so they can continue their important work.

27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the financial effect on local authorities of income lost from car parking charges as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government recognises the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic is having on local authorities’ finances and capacity. On 28 April the Secretary of State announced allocations to individual local authorities of the additional £1.6 billion of funding to support councils in delivering essential front line services that was announced on 18 April. The grant will be paid in May as an un-ringfenced amount, recognising local authorities are best placed to decide how to meet the additional Covid-19 service pressures in their area. This funding is in addition to the £1.6 billion announced on 19 March.

The Government has asked local authorities to monitor changes in their income and expenditure as a result of Covid-19, including car parking income, through a data collection exercise. We are at the beginning of analysing what those returns tell us, and will continue to work with councils over the coming weeks to ensure they are managing as the pandemic progresses.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how much income he estimates local authorities have lost since the beginning of the covid-19 lockdown due to a reduction in income received from car parking charges.

The Government recognises the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic is having on local authorities’ finances and capacity. On 28 April the Secretary of State announced allocations to individual local authorities of the additional £1.6 billion of funding to support councils in delivering essential front line services that was announced on 18 April. The grant will be paid in May as an un-ringfenced amount, recognising local authorities are best placed to decide how to meet the additional Covid-19 service pressures in their area. This funding is in addition to the £1.6 billion announced on 19 March.

The Government has asked local authorities to monitor changes in their income and expenditure as a result of Covid-19, including car parking income, through a data collection exercise. We are at the beginning of analysing what those returns tell us, and will continue to work with councils over the coming weeks to ensure they are managing as the pandemic progresses.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
24th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the planned period of cover is for the funding allocated to local authorities for increased costs during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government has pledged over £3.2 billion to support local authorities to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. This support demonstrates the Government’s commitment to making sure local authorities have the resources they need to support their communities through this challenging time. We continue to work closely with the sector to understand the financial impact of Covid-19.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will take steps to ensure that tenants who are unable to pay rent as a result of covid-19 related financial losses cannot be evicted immediately after the current protections from eviction are lifted.

The Government, along with the courts service, has delivered unprecedented support to reduce the risk of rent arrears and has taken legislative and procedural steps to protect tenants.

We have also been clear in guidance that there is a need for landlords to offer support and understanding to tenants – and any guarantor – who may see their income fluctuate. This could include reaching a temporary agreement not to seek possession action for a period of time and instead, pause payments or accept a lower level of rent, or agree a plan to pay off arrears at a later date.

To support this, the Secretary of State for Housing has committed work with the Master of the Rolls to explore how the existing Pre-Action Protocol for possession claims by social landlords can be strengthened and widened to include Private Landlords.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to publish a comprehensive summary of the financial support the Government is making available to local authorities for the duration of 2020 in response to the increased costs local authorities will incur as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

On 18 April the Government announced a further £1.6 billion to support councils in delivering essential front line services. This funding recognises the additional costs and pressures which councils are facing as they respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

This package of support takes the total given to councils to help their communities through this crisis to over £3.2 billion, an unprecedented level of additional financial?support in recent times.

Earlier this week the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government wrote to council leaders in England with a full summary of the significant funding and cashflow measures that the Government have announced to support local authorities in their vital work with businesses, communities and vulnerable individuals in the fight against coronavirus.

A full record of the financial support made available to local authorities can be found at gov.uk: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-local-government.

Simon Clarke
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
12th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many Airbnbs in Cumbria are located in properties that were previously socially rented homes.

The Department does not hold this information.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
13th Jan 2020
What recent assessment the Government has made of the effect on local communities of second home owners using council tax avoidance schemes.

The Government has removed the requirement to offer a council tax discount on second homes and 95 percent are charged the full rate.

We are considering consultation responses on the criteria under which a property is treated as a holiday let and becomes liable for business rates rather than council tax.

21st Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether the lodging of applications to the (a) Upper Tribunal, (b) Court of Appeal and (c) Administrative Court online will continue after the covid-19 outbreak.

All existing methods for applicants to submit cases for lodgement in the Upper Tribunal, Court of Appeal and Administrative Court will continue both during and after the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
22nd Sep 2020
What steps he is taking to tackle the backlog of family court hearings accrued during the covid-19 outbreak.

The protection of vulnerable children is a top priority, and I am extremely grateful for the dedication of family justice professionals at this unprecedented time.

At the start of the pandemic the family courts quickly prioritised the most urgent cases, and moved to hear the majority of cases remotely. More court rooms are reopening, and a record number of sitting days were sat in June and July.

I recognise there is more to do. We are working with the judiciary and operational partners to agree further measures for the sustained recovery of the family justice system, building on the robust actions already taken, to meet the challenges we continue to face.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many prosecutions have been made under Section 66 of the Serious Crime Act 2015.

Section 66 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 clarifies, updates and modernises some of the language in section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933, which provides for the offence of child cruelty.

Data on offence level prosecutions up to the year ending 31 December 2019, are available in the ‘Principal offence proceedings and outcomes by Home Office offence code data tool’, at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/888344/HO-code-tool-principal-offence-2019.xlsx

To identify prosecutions, convictions and sentences for the child cruelty offence, filter ‘Offence code’ to ‘01103’ for ‘Cruelty to or Neglect of Children’. The number of individuals prosecuted in each of the last seven years can be found in row 31.

Alex Chalk
Solicitor General (Attorney General's Office)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he has taken to protect (a) prison staff and (b) prisoners who are unable to socially distance.

Social distancing has been used in prisons since 24 March through the implementation of a restricted regime and is promoted through regular communications.

Situations where social distancing is not possible are controlled through safe operating procedures developed in line with public health advice. Safe operating procedures identify the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items required in each situation and the method of use. There is currently adequate stock and forward supply of all PPE items in accordance with public health advice.

Basic hygiene is also a key part of tackling the virus and hand-washing facilities are available to all prisoners and staff, and we have worked closely with suppliers to ensure adequate supply of soap and other cleaning materials.

These measures form part of our comprehensive approach to supporting the health and safety of our staff and prisoners in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, also encompassing our compartmentalisation strategy for prisoners to protect the sick, shield the vulnerable and quarantine new arrivals as well as boost the resilience of staffing at the frontline and roll-out of further testing.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department has taken to protect the health and safety of prison staff during the covid-19 outbreak.

Social distancing has been used in prisons since 24 March through the implementation of a restricted regime and is promoted through regular communications.

Situations where social distancing is not possible are controlled through safe operating procedures developed in line with public health advice. Safe operating procedures identify the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items required in each situation and the method of use. There is currently adequate stock and forward supply of all PPE items in accordance with public health advice.

Basic hygiene is also a key part of tackling the virus and hand-washing facilities are available to all prisoners and staff, and we have worked closely with suppliers to ensure adequate supply of soap and other cleaning materials.

These measures form part of our comprehensive approach to supporting the health and safety of our staff and prisoners in response to the Covid-19 outbreak, also encompassing our compartmentalisation strategy for prisoners to protect the sick, shield the vulnerable and quarantine new arrivals as well as boost the resilience of staffing at the frontline and roll-out of further testing.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
26th May 2021
To ask the Leader of the House, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Trade on facilitating parliamentary scrutiny of proposed trade deals with other countries before they are signed.

I have regular discussions with members of the Cabinet. The Government has put a number of arrangements in place to allow for proper scrutiny of proposed trade deals with other countries by Parliament. This includes publishing negotiating objectives and economic scoping assessments before starting negotiations; regular statements to Parliament and briefings with Members and relevant Parliamentary Committees during negotiations.

At the conclusion of negotiations, there will be opportunity for scrutiny of a final deal and Parliament can resolve against ratification of a treaty under the scrutiny processes set out under the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. Any legislative changes required to give effect to a Free Trade Agreement will need to be scrutinised and passed by Parliament in the usual way before ratification of the agreement can take place.

Jacob Rees-Mogg
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons