Wendy Chamberlain Portrait

Wendy Chamberlain

Liberal Democrat - North East Fife

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Wales)

(since January 2020)

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland)

(since January 2020)

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip

(since September 2020)

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Work and Pensions)

(since September 2020)
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Development)
6th Jan 2020 - 7th Sep 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)
6th Jan 2020 - 7th Sep 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
6th Jan 2020 - 7th Sep 2020


Select Committee Meeting
Tuesday 18th January 2022
10:10
Scottish Affairs Committee - Oral evidence
Subject: Storm Arwen
18 Jan 2022, 10:10 a.m.
At 10.30am: Oral evidence
Jim Savege - Chief Executive at Aberdeenshire Council
Mark Rough - Director of Customer Operations at SSEN
Peter Farrer - Chief Operating Officer at Scottish Water
Guy Jefferson - Chief Operating Officer at Scottish Power Energy Networks
At 11.30am: Oral evidence
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP - Secretary of State at Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Mark Prouse - Deputy Director, Energy Development and Resilience Department at Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
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Oral Question
Wednesday 19th January 2022
12:00
Cabinet Office
Oral Question No. 1
If he will list his official engagements for Wednesday 19 January.
Department Event
Wednesday 2nd February 2022
11:30
Scotland Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
2 Feb 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Scotland
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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 7th February 2022
14:30
Department for Work and Pensions
Oral questions - Main Chamber
7 Feb 2022, 2:30 p.m.
Work and Pensions (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
Wednesday 9th February 2022
11:30
Wales Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
9 Feb 2022, 11:30 a.m.
Wales
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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
Monday 17th January 2022
Elections Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 12 Liberal Democrat Aye votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat No votes
Tally: Ayes - 234 Noes - 328
Speeches
Friday 14th January 2022
Prayers
On a point of order, Mr Speaker. Many Members will have been shocked to see the newspaper headlines this morning, …
Written Answers
Thursday 13th January 2022
Exhibitions: Costs
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether there was a cost to the public …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 5th January 2022
Winner of the Slow Food Person of the Year Award 2021 and BBC's Food Innovation Award 2021
That this House congratulates Andrew Whitely on being named UK Person of the Year in the Slow Food Awards 2021; …
Bills
Monday 21st June 2021
Public Bodies (Representation from Devolved Nations) Bill 2021-22
A Bill to require the Government to have regard to the desirability of boards of public bodies including at least …
MP Financial Interests
Tuesday 4th January 2022
1. Employment and earnings
Payments from Ipsos MORI, 3 Thomas More Square, London E1W 1YW, for surveys. All fees paid direct to local charities:
EDM signed
Monday 17th January 2022
Human rights in Bahrain
That this House is concerned by continuing serious human rights violations in Bahrain, including the ongoing arbitrary detention and inhumane …
Supported Legislation
Tuesday 3rd March 2020
School Toilets (Access During Lessons) Bill 2019-21
A Bill to require the Secretary of State to publish guidance for state-funded schools on allowing pupil access to toilets …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Wendy Chamberlain has voted in 333 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Wendy Chamberlain 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
Priti Patel (Conservative)
Home Secretary
(12 debate interactions)
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(11 debate interactions)
Nigel Adams (Conservative)
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
(10 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Cabinet Office
(39 debate contributions)
Department for Work and Pensions
(30 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(28 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Wendy Chamberlain's debates

North East Fife Petitions

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

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

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

Petition Debates Contributed

Weddings take months and even years of intricate planning. Myself and many others believe the maximum number of guests authorised at wedding ceremonies should be increased. The number of guests permitted at weddings should be calculated according to venue capacity.

Extend funding to nightclubs, dance music events and festivals as part of the £1.57bn support package announced by the government for Britain's arts and culture sector to survive the hit from the pandemic. #LetUSDance


Latest EDMs signed by Wendy Chamberlain

11th January 2022
Wendy Chamberlain signed this EDM on Monday 17th January 2022

Human rights in Bahrain

Tabled by: Margaret Ferrier (Independent - Rutherglen and Hamilton West)
That this House is concerned by continuing serious human rights violations in Bahrain, including the ongoing arbitrary detention and inhumane treatment of prisoners of conscience, including Abduljalil al-Singace, Hassan Mushaima, Abdulwahab Hussain, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and Sheikh Ali Salman; notes that Freedom House in its 2021 report rated Bahrain as not …
41 signatures
(Most recent: 17 Jan 2022)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 15
Labour: 8
Liberal Democrat: 5
Independent: 4
Democratic Unionist Party: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Conservative: 1
Alba Party: 1
Green Party: 1
13th January 2022
Wendy Chamberlain signed this EDM as a sponsor on Thursday 13th January 2022

No confidence in the Prime Minister

Tabled by: Ed Davey (Liberal Democrat - Kingston and Surbiton)
That this House has no confidence in the Prime Minister because he has broken the covid-19 lockdown laws his Government introduced, misled both Parliament and the public about it, and disastrously undermined public confidence in the midst of a pandemic.
22 signatures
(Most recent: 17 Jan 2022)
Signatures by party:
Liberal Democrat: 13
Plaid Cymru: 3
Labour: 3
Alliance: 1
Green Party: 1
Independent: 1
View All Wendy Chamberlain's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Wendy Chamberlain, 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.


Wendy Chamberlain has not been granted any Urgent Questions

3 Adjournment Debates led by Wendy Chamberlain

Tuesday 15th June 2021
Wednesday 27th January 2021
Monday 8th June 2020

3 Bills introduced by Wendy Chamberlain


A Bill to require the Government to have regard to the desirability of boards of public bodies including at least one person with relevant experience in at least one of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Monday 21st June 2021
Next Event - 2nd Reading (Commons)
Friday 14th January 2022

A Bill to require a Minister to move a motion in the House of Commons seeking to establish a select committee to monitor Overseas Development Assistance expenditure by government departments.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 16th September 2020

A Bill to require the Secretary of State to report on the use of official development assistance to increase the availability of women’s sanitary products; and for connected purposes.


Last Event - 1st Reading (Commons)
Wednesday 4th March 2020

235 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
8 Other Department Questions
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, pursuant to the Answer of 23 September 2021 to Question 51854 on Visual Impairment: Voting Methods, what recourse would a blind or partially sighted person have in the event that a tactile voting device was not available in their polling station should a Returning Officer decide that the provision of that device was not reasonable.

It is integral to our democracy that everybody is able to make their voice heard and that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote.

This is why, for the first time in electoral law, through the Elections Bill, we are putting in place a requirement for Returning Officers to consider the needs of all disabled voters when providing equipment for polling stations.

This will allow Returning Officers to tailor the package of equipment they offer to their voters and to take into account developments in equipment and technology, in order to best meet the needs of people with disabilities including those who have sight loss.

Clear guidance will be issued to Returning Officers by the Electoral Commission, which will be produced in partnership with the Government's expert Accessibility of Elections Working Group, which includes a wide range of stakeholders including the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

We will also work with the group and wider stakeholder networks to publicise the support available and help ensure people get the right support for them.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, in the context of the reintroduction of enforcement on Gender Pay Gap reporting requirements in October, what estimate she has made of the proportion of employers that have put in place plans to tackle their pay gaps.

Over nine thousand employers reported their gender pay gap data for 2020/21, having been given an additional six months before enforcement action began in October, to reflect the impact of the pandemic on businesses. Many took the additional step of producing an action plan detailing how they intend to close their gap.

As there is no mandatory requirement to publish an action plan, not every employer who has one will have noted this on the Government reporting portal, making it difficult to establish an accurate estimate of how many have a plan to tackle their pay gap.

The reporting regulations have helped to motivate employers to take action, and the UK’s gender pay gap currently stands at a record low of 15.5%.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, when successful applications to the UK Community Renewal Fund will be announced; when funds will be released to local authorities in Great Britain and to projects in Northern Ireland; for what projects funding has not been released according to the timeline set out in his Department's prospectus; and whether the deadline for completing projects under the Community Renewal Fund will be extended in response to that delay.

I understand that lead local authorities and applicants are eager to hear investment decisions and begin delivery of UK Community Renewal Fund projects. We have received a fantastic response to the launch of the Community Renewal Fund, and also to the Levelling Up Fund and Community Ownership Fund. Given the significant level of interest my officials are continuing to assess UK Community Renewal Fund bids in line with the published assessment process.

My officials will shortly provide further guidance to enable lead local authorities to plan for the delivery phase of the Community Renewal Fund. This guidance will include confirmation of the timeline for project delivery, grant funding agreements and publication of the monitoring and evaluation framework. This combined with direct local support provided by the Cities and Local Growth Unit, will I hope alleviate any challenges faced by successful projects.

Neil O'Brien
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities)
21st Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what assessment he has made of the effect of provisions in the Elections Bill on supporting (a) blind and partially sighted people and (b) people with other disabilities.

It is integral to our democracy that everybody is able to make their voice heard and that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote.

This is why, for the first time in electoral law, through the Elections Bill, we are putting in place a requirement for Returning Officers to consider the needs of all disabled voters when providing equipment for polling stations.

This will allow Returning Officers to tailor the package of equipment they offer to their voters to take into account developments in equipment and technology, in order to best meet the needs of people with disabilities including those who have sight loss.

Clear guidance will be issued to Returning Officers by the Electoral Commission, which will be produced in partnership with the Government's expert Accessibility of Elections Working Group, which includes a wide range of stakeholders such as the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

This change has arisen following the Government's Call for Evidence on the Access to Elections. Responses from disabled people and organisations that represent their interests made clear that the current approach of requiring Returning Officers to solely provide at the polling station, a prescribed device for voters with sight loss, was not the best approach to meet the varied needs of disabled electors. Our new proposals will seek to meet those needs.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, with reference to the Elections Bill, what assessment his Department has made of the potential impact on a blind or partially sighted voter of a decision by a Returning Officer that a tactile voting device is not reasonable to provide in a polling station.

It is integral to our democracy that everybody is able to make their voice heard and that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote.

This is why, for the first time in electoral law, through the Elections Bill, we are putting in place a requirement for Returning Officers to consider the needs of all disabled voters when providing equipment for polling stations.

This will allow Returning Officers to tailor the package of equipment they offer to their voters to take into account developments in equipment and technology, in order to best meet the needs of people with disabilities. The tactile voting device is a well-established element of the support in place for voters with disabilities and Returning Officers will be well-placed to understand how it can be deployed to best effect to support voters in their areas.

Clear guidance will be issued to Returning Officers by the Electoral Commission, which will be produced in partnership with the Government's expert Accessibility of Elections Working Group, which includes a wide range of stakeholders such as the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

Kemi Badenoch
Minister for Equalities
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, what discussions (a) he, (b) his advisers and (d) Departmental officials have had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and his (i) advisers and (ii) Departmental officials on the Westferry Printworks development.

I refer the Hon. Member to my answer of 3 June 2020 to Questions 52440, 52441, 52442, 52443, and my answers of 3 June 2020, Official Report, Col 843 and of 17 June 2020, Official Report, Col 802.

Neither I nor No10 officials have had contact with the applicant or his representatives in relation to this planning application or appeal.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Prime Minister, whether (a) he, (b) his advisers or (c) his Departmental officials have had a discussion with a representative of Thorncliffe Communications on the Westferry Printworks development project.

I refer the Hon. Member to my answer of 3 June 2020 to Questions 52440, 52441, 52442, 52443, and my answers of 3 June 2020, Official Report, Col 843 and of 17 June 2020, Official Report, Col 802.

Neither I nor No10 officials have had contact with the applicant or his representatives in relation to this planning application or appeal.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury, Minister for the Civil Service, and Minister for the Union
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many additional people will form part of the electorate following the extension of the franchise to citizens who have been living overseas for more than 15 years.

The Government intends to legislate to extend the franchise for UK Parliamentary General Elections to all British citizens living overseas who have been previously registered or previously resident in the UK.

These measures will be included in the Elections Bill, and we will shortly be publishing further information on the impact on the overseas franchise as part of this process.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the Government's timetable is for the formation of the Commission on the Constitution, Democracy and Human Rights.

I refer the Hon. member to the answer given to PQs 1274-1279 on 13 January 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how the membership of the Commission on the Constitution, Democracy and Human Rights will be determined.

I refer the Hon. member to the answer given to PQs 1274-1279 on 13 January 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the planned scope is of the Commission on the Constitution, Democracy and Human Rights.

I refer the Hon. member to the answer given to PQs 1274-1279 on 13 January 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many times the Union Policy Implementation Committee has met in each of the last three years.

It is a long-established precedent that information about the discussions that have taken place in Cabinet and its Committees, and how often they have met, is not normally shared publicly.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether EU citizens (a) with pre-settled or settled status and (b) without such status will be eligible to (i) stand as candidates in and (ii) vote in local government elections in England and Wales in 2021, including the London Assembly election.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answers given to PQ 38882 on 27 April 2020 and to PQ 1802 on 29 January 2020.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st May 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Government has taken to mitigate the risks identified in the National Risk Registers of Civil Emergencies, published on 14 September 2017.

Departments are responsible for addressing their portfolio of risks as identified in the National Risk Register, working with a wide range of stakeholders to coordinate, enact and test appropriate plans.

Penny Mordaunt
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
28th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Government has used the powers under section 52(1A) of the Representation of the People Act 1983 to require local authorities to keep electoral registers in a standardised digital format.

The Government has not issued a ministerial direction to require local authorities to keep electoral registers in a standardised digital format. However, the issue of a common standard for electoral register data has been discussed previously at meetings between the Parliamentary Parties Panel and Cabinet Office officials.

This Panel is run by the Electoral Commission and gives representatives of the main political parties a forum to discuss issues affecting them. More information can be found at: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/who-we-are-and-what-we-do/who-we-are/how-we-make-decisions/party-panels

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if he will bring forward legislative proposals to require that digital copies of the electoral register be supplied to candidates and political parties in a standardised format consistent across all local authorities.

The Government has not issued a ministerial direction to require local authorities to keep electoral registers in a standardised digital format. However, the issue of a common standard for electoral register data has been discussed previously at meetings of the Parliamentary Parties Panel.

This Panel is run by the Electoral Commission and gives representatives of the main political parties a forum to discuss issues affecting them. More information can be found at: https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/who-we-are-and-what-we-do/who-we-are/how-we-make-decisions/party-panels

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what the cost to the public purse of renovation works to Chequers has been in each the last five years up to and including February 2020.

Chequers is run and managed by an independent trust. Details of any renovation works are a matter for the Chequers Trust.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what estimate he has made of the rates of theft of catalytic converters from automobiles in each of the last five years.

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

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, at what time his officials found out that the addresses of recipients of honours in the 2020 New Year Honours list had been published.

I refer the Hon Member to the written Ministerial Statement laid on Tuesday 7 January 2020, HCWS21, available on the Parliament website.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps his Department is taking to investigate how the addresses of recipients of honours in the 2020 New Year Honours list were published in error; and whether the results of that investigation will be made public.

I refer the Hon Member to the written Ministerial Statement laid on Tuesday 7 January 2020, HCWS21, available on the Parliament website, which lays out the action taken by the Cabinet Office to limit the impact of the breach and to ensure it does not happen again.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what proportion of people whose addresses were published in the 2020 New Year Honours List his Department has contacted to date.

I refer the Hon Member to the written Ministerial Statement laid on Tuesday 7 January 2020, HCWS21, available on the Parliament website, which lays out the action taken by the Cabinet Office to limit the impact of the breach and to ensure it does not happen again.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether EU citizens (a) with pre-settled or settled status and (b) without it will be eligible to (i) stand as candidates in and (ii) vote in local government elections in England and Wales in 2020, including the London Assembly election.

The UK Government has been clear that the issue of local voting rights of EU citizens living in the UK needs to be considered alongside the rights and interests of British expats living abroad.

The rights of EU citizens to vote and stand in local elections will not immediately change on exit from the EU. We are seeking reciprocal bilateral agreements to maintain this right. The Government has already signed reciprocal bilateral agreements with Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg to guarantee local voting and candidacy rights for UK nationals in those states. Together these three voting rights treaties protect the rights of a third of UK nationals living in EU Member States.

In that context the Government can confirm that resident EU citizens will be able to vote and stand in the May 2020 local elections in England (including London Assembly elections) and the May 2020 Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales. Those elected to office will be able to serve their full term and this will also apply to those elected before 2020.

The National Assembly for Wales is responsible for the franchise in local elections in Wales and elections to the Nationals Assembly for Wales. The UK Government is responsible for the franchise in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what assessment he has made of the potential for legal action to be taken against his Department in connection to publishing the addresses of recipients of honours in the 2020 New Year Honours list.

It is not appropriate to comment on any legal advice the Government receives. The Cabinet Office is cooperating fully with the Information Commissioner, to which it reported itself.

Jeremy Quin
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, when a statutory entitlement to carer's leave will be introduced.

The Government response to the consultation on carer’s leave, published in September 2021, confirmed the Government’s intention to deliver on the manifesto commitment to introduce a new entitlement to one week of leave for unpaid carers.

This will be a day 1 right, available to all employees who are providing care for a dependant with a long-term care need. Eligible employees will be entitled to 5 days of unpaid leave per year, which will be available to take flexibly in individual or half days.

Legislation to introduce carer’s leave will be brought forward when parliamentary time allows.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what risk assessment he has carried out on bilateral deals with pharmaceutical companies for covid-19 vaccine candidates on the effect on availability of covid-19 vaccine candidates for healthcare workers and vulnerable groups throughout the world.

The UK’s bilateral deals with pharmaceutical companies for covid-19 vaccines include funding for research and development, investment in manufacturing and vaccine trials. This investment supports the global scale up of vaccine production and therefore the quantity of vaccines available for healthcare workers and vulnerable groups globally. The UK is a strong supporter of the multilateral Covid-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX) initiative as a means to both get vaccines for the UK population and ensure equitable global access. The UK announced that it will contribute up to £500 million for the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment, which will give lower and middle-income countries equitable access to vaccines that are developed.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish the terms of agreement between Oxford and AstraZeneca for their covid-19 vaccine.

We are not able to disclose details of this agreement because of the commercially confidential nature of the contracts between the Government and vaccine manufacturers while commercial negotiations are ongoing.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he has taken to ensure that any covid-19 vaccines are sold at cost and are accessible to (a) low-income and (b) middle-income countries.

The UK’s bilateral deals with pharmaceutical companies for covid-19 vaccines include funding for research and development, investment in manufacturing and vaccine trials. This investment supports the global scale up of vaccine production and therefore the quantity of vaccines available for low and middle-income countries. The UK is a strong supporter of the multilateral Covid-19 Global Vaccine Access Facility (COVAX) initiative as a means to both get vaccines for the UK population and ensure equitable global access. The UK announced that it will contribute up to £500 million for the COVAX Advanced Market Commitment, which will give lower and middle-income countries equitable access to vaccines that are developed.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of the veracity of reports that (a) AstraZeneca's no profit pricing commitment for the covid-19 vaccine will expire when that company declares the pandemic is over and (b) that company's contract for vaccine development permits declaration of the end of the covid-19 pandemic in July 2021.

The timings or nature of any commitments regarding vaccine pricing are for the parties involved.

The World Health Organisation declared a coronavirus pandemic on 11 March 2020, and we would expect it in due course to declare a move to a post-pandemic period as it has done previously for the H1N1 pandemic in 2010.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether there was a cost to the public purse of developing proposals for a potential Great Exhibition.

The Great Exhibition 2.0 is a project led by the Royal Albert Hall. The government is not involved in its planning or development, and no government funding has been provided.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment he has made of the level of online gambling advertising on television during the covid-19 lockdown.

Gambling advertising is subject to strict controls set out in the advertising codes of practice issued by the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) and the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP). Rules on content mean that these adverts must never seek to exploit or appeal to children or vulnerable people, and rules on placement mean that they must never be targeted at these groups. Both the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) – as the independent advertising regulator – and the Gambling Commission can take action where gambling advertising is found to be in breach of these rules.

The Advertising Standards Authority received 82 complaints about gambling advertising in March this year, and a further 97 complaints between 1 and 28 April. This is compared to 79 complaints received in January, and 71 received in February. Of the 179 complaints received between 1 March and 28 April, 109 related to TV advertising, 8 to radio advertising and the rest to online and non-broadcast media. The ASA does not record what proportion of these adverts were promoting online gambling sites. It did not find any of the adverts complained about to be in breach of the codes for gambling advertising but did take enforcement action where a gambling advert was found to be misleading and therefore in breach of the wider advertising codes.

Between 23 March and 28 April, the Gambling Commission identified a total of 11 online adverts for online gambling products that were in breach of the rules on advertising that relate to the protection of vulnerable adults. Gambling Commission intervention with the operators involved ensured that these adverts were removed or altered. During that period it did not find any adverts to be in breach of rules requiring adverts not to be targeted at children or of particular appeal to them.

The government, Gambling Commission and the ASA do not hold information about the volume of broadcast advertising promoting online gambling. The Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage has written to operators to urge them to increase the prominence of safer gambling messaging adverts across all channels during the current period. In addition, the ASA has warned operators that they must continue to abide by existing rules and must not look to exploit the current situation. Industry group the Betting and Gaming Council announced on 27 April that in response to public concern its members would replace adverts for online slot, casino and bingo products on TV and radio with safer gambling adverts, or donate the slots to charity, for an initial period of six weeks.

Nigel Huddleston
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 22 February 2021 to Question 152653 on the Turing Scheme, what estimate he has made of student demand for the Turing Scheme in the 2021-22 academic year.

Funding distributed under the Turing scheme will be demand-led, based on the bids that UK universities, colleges, training providers and schools will make to the scheme, and upon the demand for international mobilities for the academic year 2021-22 they have from their students.

The Turing Scheme provides funding for approximately 20,000 higher education students, 10,000 further education and vocational training students and 5,000 school pupils, a similar number as under Erasmus+. These numbers are subject to the above-mentioned demand.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much funding (a) projects and (b) institutions in Scotland have received through Erasmus+ in each year since 2015.

The Turing scheme will be backed by £110 million for the 2021-22 academic year, providing funding for similar numbers of UK students to travel abroad as under Erasmus+, which is approximately 20,000 higher education (HE) students, 10,000 further education and vocational training students and 5,000 school pupils, subject to demand.

Widening participation and levelling up is a core aim of the Turing Scheme. That is why we plan the following, to widen access to mobilities for disadvantaged groups with additional grants for living costs and living expenses:

  • When bidding, providers will need to demonstrate how their project will support widening access. The assessment criteria will be heavily weighted towards this criterion.
  • Maintaining parity with Erasmus+ grant rates and existing student finance support, but provide additional financial support for those from disadvantaged backgrounds by reimbursing travel-related costs.
  • We will actively target and promote the scheme in those geographical areas of disadvantage, helping to level up the country.
  • We have reduced the minimum HE duration of outward mobilities from a minimum of one term to 4 weeks.

Adult education mobilities under Erasmus+ were for staff rather than students. In considering which elements of the Erasmus+ programme we would immediately replicate under the Turing Scheme, we prioritised ensuring that as many students, learners and pupils as possible have access to life-changing mobilities to support them in developing the skills that will help them to thrive.

Youth and sport are policy responsibilities of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Erasmus+ Sport is a very small part of the programme, representing only 1.8% of the overall budget. DCMS estimates that UK organisations have, on average, benefited by less than £1.5 million a year from Erasmus+ Sport.

We do not need to create a specific programme to replace Erasmus+ Sport activities. We are already investing significant sums of money in sport programmes that align with Erasmus+ Sport themes and objectives. For example, through Sport England, we are investing more than £1.2 billion between 2016-21 on grassroots sport and physical activity programmes.

The National Agency collect and publish data on projects funded as part of Erasmus+, including for broken down by England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which can be found here: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/statistics.

The table below shows the value of Erasmus+ projects funded in Scotland from call year 2015 to 2017 (the call year is the year in which applications can be made). This is the latest data available, and it can be found in table 11 at the following link: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/file/14125/download.

Value of Erasmus+ projects funded in Scotland (in euros)

2015 Call

2016 Call

2017 Call

Total value of projects funded

€14,719,965

€15,617,009

€21,436,222

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of not including (a) adult educational institutions, (b) youth groups and (c) sporting bodies in the Turing Scheme on the Government's levelling up agenda.

The Turing scheme will be backed by £110 million for the 2021-22 academic year, providing funding for similar numbers of UK students to travel abroad as under Erasmus+, which is approximately 20,000 higher education (HE) students, 10,000 further education and vocational training students and 5,000 school pupils, subject to demand.

Widening participation and levelling up is a core aim of the Turing Scheme. That is why we plan the following, to widen access to mobilities for disadvantaged groups with additional grants for living costs and living expenses:

  • When bidding, providers will need to demonstrate how their project will support widening access. The assessment criteria will be heavily weighted towards this criterion.
  • Maintaining parity with Erasmus+ grant rates and existing student finance support, but provide additional financial support for those from disadvantaged backgrounds by reimbursing travel-related costs.
  • We will actively target and promote the scheme in those geographical areas of disadvantage, helping to level up the country.
  • We have reduced the minimum HE duration of outward mobilities from a minimum of one term to 4 weeks.

Adult education mobilities under Erasmus+ were for staff rather than students. In considering which elements of the Erasmus+ programme we would immediately replicate under the Turing Scheme, we prioritised ensuring that as many students, learners and pupils as possible have access to life-changing mobilities to support them in developing the skills that will help them to thrive.

Youth and sport are policy responsibilities of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Erasmus+ Sport is a very small part of the programme, representing only 1.8% of the overall budget. DCMS estimates that UK organisations have, on average, benefited by less than £1.5 million a year from Erasmus+ Sport.

We do not need to create a specific programme to replace Erasmus+ Sport activities. We are already investing significant sums of money in sport programmes that align with Erasmus+ Sport themes and objectives. For example, through Sport England, we are investing more than £1.2 billion between 2016-21 on grassroots sport and physical activity programmes.

The National Agency collect and publish data on projects funded as part of Erasmus+, including for broken down by England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which can be found here: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/statistics.

The table below shows the value of Erasmus+ projects funded in Scotland from call year 2015 to 2017 (the call year is the year in which applications can be made). This is the latest data available, and it can be found in table 11 at the following link: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/file/14125/download.

Value of Erasmus+ projects funded in Scotland (in euros)

2015 Call

2016 Call

2017 Call

Total value of projects funded

€14,719,965

€15,617,009

€21,436,222

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of students who will take part in the Turing Scheme in the 2021-22 academic year.

The Turing scheme will be backed by £110 million for the 2021-22 academic year, providing funding for similar numbers of UK students to travel abroad as under Erasmus+, which is approximately 20,000 higher education (HE) students, 10,000 further education and vocational training students and 5,000 school pupils, subject to demand.

Widening participation and levelling up is a core aim of the Turing Scheme. That is why we plan the following, to widen access to mobilities for disadvantaged groups with additional grants for living costs and living expenses:

  • When bidding, providers will need to demonstrate how their project will support widening access. The assessment criteria will be heavily weighted towards this criterion.
  • Maintaining parity with Erasmus+ grant rates and existing student finance support, but provide additional financial support for those from disadvantaged backgrounds by reimbursing travel-related costs.
  • We will actively target and promote the scheme in those geographical areas of disadvantage, helping to level up the country.
  • We have reduced the minimum HE duration of outward mobilities from a minimum of one term to 4 weeks.

Adult education mobilities under Erasmus+ were for staff rather than students. In considering which elements of the Erasmus+ programme we would immediately replicate under the Turing Scheme, we prioritised ensuring that as many students, learners and pupils as possible have access to life-changing mobilities to support them in developing the skills that will help them to thrive.

Youth and sport are policy responsibilities of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

Erasmus+ Sport is a very small part of the programme, representing only 1.8% of the overall budget. DCMS estimates that UK organisations have, on average, benefited by less than £1.5 million a year from Erasmus+ Sport.

We do not need to create a specific programme to replace Erasmus+ Sport activities. We are already investing significant sums of money in sport programmes that align with Erasmus+ Sport themes and objectives. For example, through Sport England, we are investing more than £1.2 billion between 2016-21 on grassroots sport and physical activity programmes.

The National Agency collect and publish data on projects funded as part of Erasmus+, including for broken down by England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which can be found here: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/statistics.

The table below shows the value of Erasmus+ projects funded in Scotland from call year 2015 to 2017 (the call year is the year in which applications can be made). This is the latest data available, and it can be found in table 11 at the following link: https://www.erasmusplus.org.uk/file/14125/download.

Value of Erasmus+ projects funded in Scotland (in euros)

2015 Call

2016 Call

2017 Call

Total value of projects funded

€14,719,965

€15,617,009

€21,436,222

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect of the UK's withdrawal from the Erasmus scheme on the number of modern foreign language teachers in the UK.

The Department does not collect or hold information on the proportion of qualified modern foreign language (MFL) teachers in England that have taken part in the Erasmus+ scheme.

The Turing scheme, which replaces the UK’s participation in Erasmus+, will be backed by at least £100 million, providing funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges, and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas, starting in September 2021. The scheme will be global and not limited to the European Union. The Turing scheme will be available to students of all subjects, including those studying degrees in MFL. Further details of the scheme will be published shortly.

Alongside the Turing scheme, the Government remains committed to ensuring pupils have access to high quality languages provision and that we continue to attract, retain, and develop the high quality languages teachers we need. To support MFL teacher recruitment, we are offering a £10,000 bursary for MFL trainees starting initial teacher training (ITT) in the 2021/22 academic year. We have also confirmed that ITT providers will be able to offer subject knowledge enhancement (SKE) courses to support MFL candidates for the academic year 2020/21 from April 2021. SKE courses are designed to help ITT applicants gain the depth of subject knowledge they need to train to teach their chosen subject.

5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the amount of funding made available for the disabled students premium in 2020-21.

The Disabled Students’ Premium is allocated by the Office for Students (OfS) each year.

The budget for the disabled students premium in academic year 2020/21 is £39.7 million.

In his strategic guidance letter to the OfS in January this year, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, asked the OfS to continue to prioritise allocations for the student premium.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when his Department plans to publish its evaluation of the Seasonal Workers Pilot scheme.

The first-year evaluation information on the Seasonal Workers Pilot scheme will be published later this year.

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 discussions he has had with representatives of the Gangmasters Labour Abuse Authority on the Seasonal Workers Pilots scheme.

Defra works closely with the Home Office and the Gangmasters Labour and Abuse Authority to monitor and evaluate the Seasonal Workers Pilot against its stated aims and ensure that its rules and regulations are being adhered to.

The Government takes the safety and wellbeing of seasonal workers extremely seriously. The Home Office sponsor licencing system places clear and binding requirements and obligations on the operators of the Seasonal Workers Pilot to safeguard seasonal workers.

The Seasonal Workers Pilot requires the operators to ensure all seasonal workers have a safe working environment, are treated fairly and paid properly, and robust systems are in place for the reporting of concerns and rapid action. A prerequisite for becoming an operator is that each organisation must hold and maintain licencing from the Gangmasters Labour and Abuse Authority. Defra would be notified should an operator or farm not be meeting the required standards and appropriate action taken.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the UK-EU trade deal on travel (a) to the EU and b) to Northern Ireland for assistance dogs and their owners.

The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement does not include provisions relating to the movement of pet animals and assistance dogs. These movements are separately governed under the EU’s Pet Travel Scheme, and for Great Britain to continue to take advantage of eased pet and assistance dog movements we applied to become a ‘Part 1’ listed third country specifically for these movements. This was a technical process that was separate to the wider negotiations.

On 3 December 2020 the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF) of the EU voted in favour of giving the United Kingdom “Part 2” listed status for the purposes of non-commercial pet travel after the Transition Period, and this has now been formally adopted. A Part 2 listed status means similar health requirements for assistance dogs travelling to the EU, but new documentation and rules on points of entry. These rules also now apply for movements from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to obtain Part 1 Listed Status under the Pet Passport scheme for assistance dogs and their owners.

The Department previously submitted an application to the European Commission to become a 'Part 1' listed third country in relation to non-commercial movement of pet dogs, cats and ferrets. On 3 December 2020 the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed of the EU voted in favour of, and has now adopted, the UK as a ‘Part 2’ listed status third country for the non-commercial movement of pet dogs, cats and ferrets. The rules that govern pet travel also apply to assistance dogs.

We are clear we meet all the animal health requirements to become a Part 1 listed third country and have one of the most rigorous pet checking regimes in Europe to protect our biosecurity. Our disease risk has not changed, and we recognise the challenges that ‘Part 2’ listed status pose for assistance dog users. We will continue to press the EU Commission on securing Part 1 listed status.

Victoria Prentis
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
6th Feb 2020
What plans the Government has to reduce food waste by 20 per cent as recommended in the Committee on Climate Change's January 2020 report, Land use: Policies for a Net Zero UK.

Waste is a devolved matter. Data recently published by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) shows UK food waste fell by almost 15% since 2007 – enough to fill Wembley Stadium three times. However, I know there is more to do everywhere. The Resources and Waste Strategy which covers England only sets out a range of policy actions to reduce food waste further including a £15 million food waste fund, a consultation on mandatory reporting of food waste by businesses, and continued support of cross-sector collaboration through the Courtauld Commitment 2025 to achieve a 20% reduction.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 7 July 2020 Question 67776 on Department for International Development: Public Expenditure, when her Department's Annual Report and Accounts 2019 to 2020 will be published.

DFID’s Annual Report and Accounts 2019-20 will be laid in Parliament and published on gov.uk on 21 July 2020.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 7 July 2020 to Question 67777 on Overseas Aid, what the value is of the allocations that have been made from the £200 million un-allocated component of the ODA Crisis Reserve in 2020-21 so far; to what programmes that funding has been allocated; and whether any of the £300 million re-deployable component of the ODA Crisis Reserve has been redeployed.

The UK ODA Crisis Reserve is an annual allocation of £500 million. This consists of a £200 million un-allocated reserve and a £300 million re-deployable reserve.

We used initial the £200 million to respond to COVID-19. We have now replenished this through using the redeployable element of the reserve. To date DFID Secretary of State has approved a total of £5 million from the 2020/21 ODA Crisis Reserve. The £5 million was approved by DFID SoS in February 2020 to the World Health Organisation to provide resilience to vulnerable countries in response to the global pandemic (£10 million approved from 19/20 crisis reserve and £5 million from 20/21 crisis reserve).

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the value of promissory notes her Department planned to issue in 2020-21 was for (a) each institution at the Main Estimate stage in 2020 by date to each institution; and the planned value of promissory note issuance is by institution for the remainder of the calendar year 2020.

DFID uses promissory notes with organisations such as international development banks. A promissory note allows that organisation to commit to an activity in full, in advance of funding being transferred.

DFID’s made no adjustment at Main Estimates 2020-21 to the Net Cash Requirement as a result of Promissory Notes.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department plans to allocate the match funding to her Department's partners in compliance with the Aid Match agreements that have been agreed.

All government departments are working through how their plans will need to change in light of the risk of a significant recession this year. DFID is no exception. The Government’s 0.7% GNI target is directly linked to the performance of the UK economy. No decision has been taken, but we are considering the full range of our work. In the short term, we have paused new financial arrangements while we agree our future work in close cooperation with other aid spending Departments.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the planned level of promissory note issuance was to each institution in (a) calendar year 2020 and (b) financial year 2020-21 in the Main Estimates.

DFID uses promissory notes with organisations such as international development banks. A promissory note allows that organisation to commit to an activity in full, in advance of funding being transferred.

DFID’s made no adjustment at Main Estimates 2020-21 to the Net Cash Requirement as a result of Promissory Notes.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the (a) current position and (b) provisional outcome is of her Department’s gold, silver and bronze grading of projects in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

All government departments are considering how their plans need to change in light of the risk of a recession linked to the impact of COVID-19. DFID is working with the FCO and other ODA spending departments to assess how to manage the 0.7% commitment this year. No decision has been taken, but we are considering the full range of our work.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what budget (a) reprofiling, (b) repurposing and (c) additional allocations for 2020-21 have already taken place in relation to each regional programme in each country office.

DFID’s Annual Report and Accounts is due to be published on 14 July and will set out baseline programme budgets for 2020/21 spend by DFID spending unit.

DFID is working with the FCO and other ODA spending departments to assess how to manage the 0.7% commitment this year, in light of the risk of a fall in Gross National Income. No decision has been taken, but we are considering the full range of our work.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the most recent funding allocations are for the (a) central contingency and (b) portfolio components of the 2020-21 Crisis Reserve.

DFID do not hold a central contingency budget and have not requested any funding from the central exchequer reserve held by HM Treasury.

The UK ODA Crisis Reserve is an annual allocation of £500 million. This consists of a £200 million un-allocated reserve and a £300 million re-deployable reserve. This enables ?exible, quick and effective cross government responses to crises as they happen as set out in the UK Aid Strategy published in 2015. We do not report on expenditure drawn down from the ODA Crisis Reserve.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what her Department’s 2020-21 programme plans were at the start of that financial year; and what changes in internal funding allocations have been made since the Main Estimates.

Since the Main Estimates were published in May this year, HMG has had to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated risks to the UK economy. All government departments are considering how their plans need to change in light of COVID-19.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 15th June to Question 57377, (a) what percentage of the £764 million of UK AID is going to UN agencies and WHO, and (b) which countries have so far benefitted from UK AID funding to combat covid-19.

We have committed up to £764 million of UK Aid to combat COVID-19 and reinforce the global effort to find a vaccine. We are using UK aid to its full effect to counter the health, humanitarian, and economic risks and impact of this pandemic in the developing world.

The UK has committed £145 million, roughly 19% of the £764 million, to the UN Global Humanitarian Response Plan. Details of which countries are included in the GHRP can be found here.

We have also adapted over one hundred existing bilateral health and humanitarian programmes, and close to two hundred existing social protection, economic, governance, conflict and other programmes, across 35 countries and regions relevant to the COVID-19 response.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 15th June to Question 57377, (a) how much UK aid to combat covid-19 has been allocated to the Democratic Republic of Congo; and (b) what percentage of UK aid designated to combat covid-19-19 in DRC is allocated to UN agencies and WHO.

At the forefront of global efforts to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak, the UK has provided £764 million of UK aid toward ending the pandemic as quickly as possible. This includes funding to vulnerable countries, like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and to global organisations like the WHO, and investment in rapid diagnostics and vaccines.

Within DRC, UK programmes are supporting health facilities to respond to the virus and support the most vulnerable to maintain access to food. Existing humanitarian, health and economic development programmes are also addressing needs arising from the impact of COVID-19. This includes support to UNICEF.

18th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, following lessons learned during the recent West Africa Ebola epidemic, how is the UK Government working with faith leaders in developing countries to maximise the effectiveness of the covid-19 response.

I recognise both the important place that religious belief has for many people around the world affected by COVID-19 and the role that faith leaders are playing in the response.

The Ebola Crisis has shown that faith groups are amongst the first to respond and can play an effective role in the behaviour change essential to slow the spread, reduce infection, illness and death of epidemics.

Faith groups are key policy and delivery partners for DFID. We are committed to working with and alongside faith-based actors to meet the challenges posed to both the UK and internationally by COVID-19.

DFID is taking forward a structured approach to working with UK and international civil society organisations, including faith-based actors. This is incorporating strategic and technical discussions to help inform the sector’s response to the pandemic. Specifically, Baroness Sugg has chaired round table discussions with the Chief Executive Officers from key civil society organisations, including faith-based organisations. This has been to update the sector on DFID’s COVID-19 response to date, engage with concerns across the sector, and explore how to mitigate the threats posed by COVID-19 to sector resilience.

Lord Ahmad also hosted a round table with faith leaders and faith-based development organisations on 8 June to discuss how we can work together more effectively on the response to COVID-19.

DFID has pledged new funding for civil society organisations, including faith-based organisations, to support the response. This includes £20 million through the Rapid Response Facility, which includes funding for Christian Aid; up to £30 million of new grants through the next round of the UK Aid Direct programme, and significant funding through the DFID Unilever COVID-19 Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition.

Faith-based organisations can receive funding through multilateral organisations, as downstream partners as part of the UK’s response, and through our country office network.

We have been reviewing our programme portfolio in light of the COVID-19 response, enabling us to identify existing activities which can already support the response and others that can be adapted or scaled up, such as our support to health systems and humanitarian crises.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Cabinet Office) (Minister without Portfolio)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of the merger of her Department with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The Government will implement these changes in the most cost effective way possible. While we anticipate there may be cost savings in the long term as a result of using our resources more effectively and efficiently, it is not the primary goal of the merger of these two Departments. This is primarily about bringing together our international efforts so we can maximise the UK’s influence around the world. By aligning our efforts, the merger will maximise our influence and expertise and ensure we are in the best position to confront the challenges that lie ahead. This will strengthen our ability to lead the world’s efforts to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and allow us to seize the opportunities ahead, as we prepare to take on the G7 presidency and host COP26 next year.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the effect of the merger of her Department with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the number of staff employed by her Department.

Merging the departments will bring together the best of what we do in aid and diplomacy, and create new opportunities for staff. The ambition, vision and expertise of DFID staff will be at the heart of the new department – taking forward the work of UK aid, which will remain central to our mission. There will be no compulsory redundancies.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the effect of the merger of her Department with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the number of staff employed by her Department in East Kilbride.

Merging the departments will bring together the best of what we do in aid and diplomacy, and create new opportunities for staff. There are no plans to close DFID’s office in Scotland, where staff play a vital role in ensuring UK aid delivers results for the world’s poorest and represents value for money for UK taxpayers.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade
9th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to support developing countries to increase the number of ventilators available during the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK is at the forefront of the global response to COVID-19. We are using UK aid to its full effect to counter the health, humanitarian, and economic risks and impact of this pandemic in the developing world. We have committed up to £764 million of UK Aid to combat COVID-19 and reinforce the global effort to find a vaccine.

Our funding is supporting a range of initiatives and partners to ensure it can reach those who need it the most. This includes £75 million for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to help lead international efforts to stop the spread of the virus and access critical medical supplies; £55 million to International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement appeals to provide medical supplies and equipment to hospitals and clinics, and build quarantine areas and disinfection facilities; and a range of support to NGOs.

The WHO and UNICEF are working with governments to identify requirements and ensure that supplies, including the critical medical equipment for oxygen therapy, reach those in need.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the purpose is of the £20 million of UK aid that has been allocated to tackle the covid-19 pandemic through UNICEF; when that funding will be spent; how that funding will be spent; and what guidance she has (a) issued and (b) received on the proportion of that funding which will be allocated to NGOs and civil society organisations.

The UK Government’s funding to UNICEF is in support of its global COVID-19 appeal. Through the appeal, UNICEF will contribute to both outbreak control and mitigation of the collateral impacts of the pandemic, including interruptions to water and sanitation, health, nutrition, education, protection and essential social services for children, women and vulnerable populations.

It is anticipated that all funding received from both the UK Government and other donors will be fully utilised by 31 December 2020, in line with the current appeal. In providing these funds to UNICEF, DFID did not require that a specific amount be channelled to NGOs. However, DFID welcomes the vital role that NGOs will continue to play in service delivery through multilaterals, and we are pleased that some UN agencies, such as UNICEF, are seeking to simplify their processes for NGO partners to help ensure funding reaches them more swiftly. We will be working with the UN and DFID’s country offices to increasingly better understand and track eventual flows to NGOs in-country.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much and what proportion of Official Development Assistance has been spent on projects tackling gender inequality in each financial year since 2009-10.

All of DFID’s aid activities reported to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) are screened against the gender equality policy marker. This is a measurement of the proportion of aid that supports gender equality and women’s empowerment. An activity can be marked as ‘principal’ if gender equality is the main objective of the programme, or as a ‘significant’ if gender equality is an important and deliberate objective, but not the principal reason for undertaking the programme.

DFID’s spend on bilateral allocable activities targeting gender equality is made publicly available through the OECD statistics portal. For example, in 2018 £4.2 billion of DFID’s total bilateral spend was marked principal or significant (66%).

These world-leading investments are delivering results at scale. Between 2015 and 2019, DFID reached 50.6 million women of childbearing age, children under 5 and adolescent girls through our nutrition-relevant programmes and supported 5.8 million girls gain access to a decent education. Last year, UK aid helped 23.5 million of the world’s poorest women and girls access to vital, voluntary family planning.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, which charities and NGOs have received Official Development Assistance to help tackle covid-19 in the global south; what funding each of those charities and NGOs received; and what facility they received it through.

NGOs are key policy and delivery partners for DFID and we are committed to working with the sector to meet the challenges posed by COVID-19. CSOs including NGOs and charities deliver roughly one quarter of DFID programmes around the world. A total of 40 charities and NGOs are receiving funding from the Department for International Development’s (DFID) £20 million humanitarian support package, announced in April, or the £100 million global hygiene partnership with Unilever, unveiled in March.

DFID is providing £24.4 million as part of our Unilever partnership to Action Aid, The African Medical and Research Foundation, PSI, Save the Children, Oxfam, WaterAid, International Rescue Committee, World Vision, Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor.

Through DFID’s Rapid Response Facility, £18 million of DFID funding is supporting Action Against Hunger, CARE, Christian Aid, GOAL, Humanity & Inclusion and Norwegian Refugee Council to provide healthcare, water and sanitation, food and shelter to meet the basic needs of some of the world’s most vulnerable people during the COVID-19 crisis.

Through the Humanitarian 2 Humanitarian network and its host Danish Refugee Council, £2 million of DFID funding will support 14 partners to manage information on the virus and share this with global partners, and to communicate facts to communities across Africa, the Middle East and beyond. These partners are: Fondation Hirondelle, Ground Truth Solutions, the New Humanitarian, CDAC Network, ACAPS, CartONG, Humanitarian OpenStreetMap, Map Action, Evidence Aid, Sphere, Red R UK, Humanitarian Academy for Development, Atlas Logistique and Insecurity Insight.

In country a significant proportion of existing DFID programmes are implemented directly through NGO partners and we expect NGOs will play a significant role in our country level COVID response. Many NGOs will also receive funding as part of DFID’s significant investment in the multilateral response to COVID-19. Collating the full list of organisations in receipt of funding for COVID-19 work from existing programmes or as downstream partners would take a disproportionate amount of time to extract.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what additional budget allocations her Department has made to individual country offices since March 2020 to support the covid-19 response; and what proportion of that additional funding has been allocated to (a) local and (b) international NGOs, by country.

Since March 2020 there have been no additional budget allocations to individual country offices, but we have adapted over one hundred existing bilateral health and humanitarian programmes, and close to two hundred existing social protection, economic, governance, conflict and other programmes, across 35 countries and regions relevant to the COVID-19 response. For some programmes this included moving funding from programme components less relevant to the COVID-19 response to increase funding to those that are most in need. Many of these programmes are delivered in part or wholly through NGOs.

We have committed up to £764 million of UK aid to combat COVID-19 and to reinforce the global effort to find a vaccine. £296 million of this has been provided to support the global health response and vulnerable countries. This includes support to UK charities and international organisations to help reduce mass infections in developing countries.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the purpose is of the £65 million of UK aid that has been allocated to tackle the covid-19 pandemic through the World Health Organization; when that funding will be spent; how that funding will be spent; and what guidance she has (a) issued and (b) received on the proportion of that funding which will be allocated to NGOs and civil society organisations.

The UK is a key donor to the World Health Organisation (WHO) and have already contributed £75 million to help the organisation lead international efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and end the pandemic, including: global coordination; planning for country level preparedness and response; global procurement and supply; the science and research and development agenda; and communications. This £75 million is going towards the WHO’s COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) and includes £10 million to the flash WHO appeal announced in February and March 2020 and a further £65 million for the SPRP was announced in April 2020. The SPRP outlines the public health measures that need to be taken to support countries to prepare for and respond to COVID-19. Funding that is provided to countries is allocated to NGOs when and as needed based on the individual country context. This funding will be spent this calendar year. The UK’s funding for the WHO is based on our assessment of the organisation’s needs and we continue to keep this under review.

Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and civil society organisations are key partners for DFID in responding to the unprecedented challenges arising from COVID-19. We know that in many places NGOs will be best placed to meet the needs of those most vulnerable and at risk. CSO including NGOs and charities deliver roughly one quarter of DFID programmes around the world. A total of 40 charities and NGOs will receive funding from DFID’s £20 million humanitarian support package or the £100 million global hygiene partnership with Unilever. NGOs are also receiving £24 million of extra funding through the DFID COVID-19 Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the purpose is of the £20 million of UK aid that has been allocated to tackle the covid-19 pandemic through the UN Refugee Agency; when that funding will be spent; how that funding will be spent; and what guidance she has (a) issued and (b) received on the proportion of that funding which will be allocated to NGOs and civil society organisations.

The UK Government’s funding to UNHCR is in support of its global COVID-19 appeal. Through the appeal, UNHCR will support refugees and IDPs, through scaling up of health and water, sanitation and hygiene preparedness, and response interventions.

It is anticipated that all funding received from both the UK Government and other donors will be fully utilised by 31 December 2020, in line with the current appeal. Given the global nature of this pandemic, UK funding to UNHCR’s appeal is pooled with that of other donors and is therefore not earmarked for any specific implementing partner whether they be NGOs, local government etc. Given UNHCR’s presence in over 130 countries, it is best placed to determine the specific needs in each country, as well as which implementing partner is best placed to deliver these needs.

However, given the important role that NGOs and civil society organisations can play in tackling COVID-19, UNHCR has undertaken a review of its existing procedures related to partnership management and issued additional internal guidance to simplify and expedite collaboration where appropriate.

My officials continue to liaise with UNHCR on all aspects of its COVID-19 response, including its work with NGOs and civil society organisations.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the purpose is of the £15 million of UK aid that has been allocated to tackle the covid-19 pandemic through the World Food Programme; when that funding will be spent; how that funding will be spent; and what guidance she has (a) issued and (b) received on the proportion of that funding which will be allocated to NGOs and civil society organisations.

The UK Government’s funding to the World Food Programme (WFP), is in support of its global COVID-19 appeal. WFP is setting up a platform of services to enable the health and humanitarian communities (including NGOs) to deliver support to the most vulnerable populations. So far, 39 NGOs have used WFP’s cargo and passenger services.

WFP has established eight international strategic consolidation hubs to support global movement of cargo. These hubs will be connected to regional staging areas in East, West and Central Africa, Central America, Asia and the Middle East.

WFP is setting up air transport links between strategic hubs and regional staging areas to ensure the predictable and sustained movement of life-saving humanitarian and medical cargo.

WFP operates passenger air services to ensure that humanitarian and medical staff are not restricted by commercial transport closures and can reach the areas where they are most needed.

Due to the increased risk of exposure to COVID-19, worldwide movement restrictions and the grounding of commercial transport systems, WFP also set up global medical evacuation services for the whole humanitarian community.

The WFP appeal is for USD $965 million; this is 9% funded with $85 million in confirmed contributions, of which the UK has contributed 22%.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the purpose is of the £15 million of UK aid that has been allocated to tackle the covid-19 pandemic through the UN Population Fund; when that funding will be spent; how that funding will be spent; and what guidance she has (a) issued and (b) received on the proportion of that funding which will be allocated to NGOs and civil society organisations.

The UK Government has committed £10 million of UK aid to UNFPA in support of its global COVID-19 appeal, through the Global Humanitarian Response Plan. Through the appeal, UNFPA will address the needs of women and girls impacted by COVID-19, including strengthening health systems to deliver sexual and reproductive health and gender-based violence services, and plugging gaps in the availability of SRH supplies caused by coronavirus.

It is anticipated that all funding received from both the UK Government and other donors will be fully utilised by 31 December 2020, in line with the current appeal. DFID welcomes the vital role that NGOs will continue to play in service delivery through multilaterals, and we are pleased that some UN agencies, such as UNFPA, are seeking to simplify their processes for NGO partners to help ensure funding reaches them more swiftly. We will be working with the UN and DFID’s country offices to understand, improve and track eventual flows to NGOs in-country.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will publish the funding her Department has allocated to each programme responding to the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK is at the forefront of the global response and has publicly committed up to £744 million of UK aid so far to support the global efforts to combat the outbreak of COVID-19. This is split across three areas 1) £276 million to support UN, NGOs and Red Cross efforts to build resilience in vulnerable countries 2) £318 million to find a vaccine, new drugs and therapeutics and 3) £150 million to support countries facing the economic shock of COVID-19.

This is on top of our work to pivot much of our existing activity to provide health, humanitarian and economic support where it is needed most. This ongoing exercise includes close collaboration with our existing partners on their ability to operate and adapt their programmes during the pandemic.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to establish a £320 million stabilisation fund to ensure that UK charities working internationally can continue to operate during the covid-19 pandemic.

Civil society organisations (CSOs) are key partners for DFID in our response to COVID-19 and we have pledged new funding specifically for CSOs to support our work to tackle the virus. This includes funding allocated through the Rapid Response Facility and significant funding through the DFID Unilever COVID-19 Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition. In addition, International Non-Government Organisations will receive funding through multilateral organisations as downstream partners as part of the UK’s response. As DFID’s country network adapts programming to respond to COVID-19, country teams are considering how they can do this through partners, including through CSOs. For example, in Sudan and Nepal, preparedness and response plans will support both UN and CSO operations.

We are working flexibly with existing civil society partners to respond to the pandemic, maintain delivery of essential programmes and manage the impacts on organisations and staff. DFID is also offering support to all suppliers, including civil society, in line with the provisions of the Cabinet Office Procurement Policy Note and associated guidance for grants, which allows for relief on services and goods provided in the UK, to DFID aid programmes as a last resort and on a case-by-case basis for DFID contracts and grants. UK-based CSOs are also eligible for the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether she plans to introduce greater flexibility for existing donor funds for UK NGOs to support the covid-19 response.

The expertise, resilience and flexibility of our supply partners, both in the private sector and civil society, is vital to deliver UK aid to protect the most vulnerable in the world’s poorest countries.

DFID is currently reviewing its entire portfolio and assessing the expected impact of COVID-19 on our programmes, both in-country and centrally, and prioritising (in this order) the health and humanitarian response; livelihoods, social protection, and support to the governments of vulnerable countries. Many of these programmes are delivered in part or wholly through NGOs. We are assessing each of our programmes to evaluate their contribution to these objectives and for opportunities to adapt them to support the COVID-19 response.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what plans she has to increase the Rapid Response Facility for covid-19 to help support a rapid humanitarian response.

Decisions on allocating funds through the Rapid Response Facility (RRF) are being made in relation to the wider DFID COVID19 response. We will keep the funding under review as we do with all our humanitarian interventions. DFID is also adapting its programmes across its country network to respond to COVID-19 and has committed significant new funding through the multilateral system. We expect NGOs to play a key role in delivery through both these channels, and indeed recognise that in many places NGOs will be best placed to meet the needs of those most vulnerable, at risk and hard to reach. In addition, extra funding has been allocated to NGOs through the DFID Unilever COVID-19 Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to support civil society organisations in receipt of grants and contracts from her Department during the covid-19 pandemic.

DFID is engaging with supply partners to address the challenges posed to them and DFID-funded projects by COVID-19. We will work collaboratively with supply partners to find pragmatic solutions to support both our partners and continuation of our programmes where appropriate.

DFID is offering support to suppliers and partners where this is appropriate, in line with the UK government position and will apply the provisions of the Cabinet Office Procurement Policy Note and associated guidance for grants, which allows for relief on services and goods provided in the UK, to DFID aid programmes as a last resort and on a case-by-case basis for DFID contracts and grants.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to support UK civil society organisations not currently in receipt of her Department's (a) grants and (b) contracts during the covid-19 pandemic.

Civil society organisations (CSOs) are key partners for DFID in our response to COVID-19. We have pledged new funding specifically for civil society, including UK-based CSOs, to support the international COVID-19 response, including £20 million, the majority of which will be allocated through the Rapid Response Facility, and funding through the DFID Unilever COVID-19 Hygiene and Behaviour Change Coalition. The Small Charities Challenge Fund is open for grant applications from small UK-based development charities.

Aside from new opportunities to gain funding through grants and contracts, there are no plans for DFID to support organisations it does not fund. UK-based CSOs are also eligible for the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
28th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to support local civil society organisations providing front line services in the Global South to tackle the (a) spread and (b) consequences of the covid-19 pandemic.

Civil society organisations (CSOs) in the global south are key partners for DFID. Many of DFID’s programmes support local CSOs in order to deliver humanitarian and development outcomes, including providing humanitarian support to tackle the spread and consequences of COVID-19. As DFID’s country network adapts programming to respond to COVID-19, country teams are considering how they can do this through partners, including local CSOs.

In addition to direct funding from DFID, there are funds available through our global multilateral support, with southern-based CSOs acting as delivery partners. A key funding avenue is the Country-Based Pooled Funds, to which DFID is a major donor. CSOs receive significant funding through these. COVID-19 allocations have been made through these funds, including in Myanmar, Afghanistan and Sudan so far. We expect further allocations soon.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what plans she has to discuss the development of the health strengthening systems position paper with representatives of third-sector non-governmental organisations.

The UK government’s manifesto committed to build on existing efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children by 2030. Our support for the poorest countries to strengthen their health systems, scale up quality health services and achieve universal health coverage is central to this commitment. We will continue to discuss plans for publication of the health system strengthening position paper with our civil society colleagues, who have contributed valuable feedback to earlier drafts.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
13th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, in which month her Department plans to publish its health systems strengthening position paper.

Our support for low-income countries to scale up quality health services and achieve universal health coverage is central to the UK government’s manifesto commitment to build on existing efforts to end preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children by 2030. Publication of the health systems strengthening position paper must therefore be coordinated with other information on how the UK government will deliver this manifesto commitment. We are committed to publishing the health systems strengthening position paper but the exact month cannot be determined until this other information is available.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much and what proportion of Official Development Assistance has been allocated to (a) healthcare, (b) physical health and (c) mental health in each of the last ten years.

Details of the UK’s Official Development Assistance spend on health are published in Statistics on International Development. Our reporting is based on internationally agreed Organisation for Co-operation and Development - Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC) codes, as part of our commitment to transparent reporting of development assistance in a way that permits international comparisons. We do not currently collect the information disaggregated between physical and mental health as these are not categories within the OECD-DAC codes.

We are focused on ending the preventable deaths of mothers, new-born babies and children. We work to strengthen countries’ health systems, including for both physical and mental health, towards achieving Universal Health Coverage by 2030, which will enable us to lead the way in helping countries to tackle diseases such as malaria and Ebola.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much and what proportion of his Department's budget was allocated to food costs for the UK-Africa investment summit 2020.

As with all such Government events, the full costing will be available in due course. 2020 UK ODA spend, including for this Summit, will be reported in Statistics on International Development, published by DFID in Autumn 2021.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much and what proportion of his departmental budget was allocated to funding accommodation for attendees of the UK-Africa investment summit 2020.

As with all such Government events, the full costing will be available in due course. 2020 UK ODA spend, including for this Summit, will be reported in Statistics on International Development, published by DFID in Autumn 2021.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
10th Jun 2021
What progress she has made towards a free trade agreement with the US.

I am in close contact with Katherine Tai, the US Trade Representative. I am pleased the US has lifted tariffs on Whisky, and I am working to lift Airbus Boeing dispute. We are continuing to make progress in Free Trade Agreement (FTA) discussions as well as working together on our broader trade agenda.

Elizabeth Truss
Minister for Women and Equalities
3rd Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether riot gear sold to the US has been used against peaceful protestors.

I refer the Honourable Lady to the answer I gave on 23rd November (UIN: 117290).

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether she has discussed the role of the proposed Office for the Internal Market with her foreign counterparts as part of trade talks.

There have been no discussions with foreign counterparts about the Office for the Internal Market (OIM) as set out in the United Kingdom Internal Market Bill. HM Government has been clear that the purpose of the OIM is to support the effective operation of the United Kingdom internal market by providing non-binding advice and reporting.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether the Government supports the World Trade Organisation proposed waiver for covid-19 intellectual property.

The Government has long-supported affordable and equitable access to medicines, including in developing countries. A robust and fair intellectual property system is essential to drive innovation, allow economic growth and enable society to benefit from knowledge sharing. There are flexibilities within the Agreement for the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and World Trade Organisation (WTO) Members can use these to ensure access to medicines. The Department for International Trade welcomes initiatives such as Diatropix launched this week in Dakar – where British and Senegalese partners will share technology to produce COVID-19 antibody tests, making 10 million available across west Africa by the end of March 2021. This initiative, supported by development funding from the UK and elsewhere, will make a practical difference in the fight against COVID-19.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what effect the plans set out in the Integrated Rail Plan published on 18 November 2021 will have on transport connectivity within Wales.

The Integrated Rail Plan confirms that HS2 will be built from Crewe to Manchester, enabling improved onward connectivity to Wales. Crewe Northern Connection would improve connections from North Wales to the HS2 network, potentially bringing many passengers within 2 hours 15 minutes of London. Work to progress options on completing the Midlands Rail Hub could also give passengers from South Wales easy access to the HS2 network at Birmingham Curzon Street.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the implementation of the Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands, published on 18 November 2021, on transport connectivity within Scotland.

The core pipeline set out in the Integrated Rail Plan, which includes completing HS2 Phases One and 2a and completing HS2 Phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester, including the link to the West Coast Main Line, will help reduce journey times between England and Scotland. Birmingham and London to Glasgow and Edinburgh could be cut by between 40 and 50 minutes compared to today. In addition, the package of upgrades to the East Coast Main Line will separately improve journey times for services to Edinburgh from London King’s Cross. Journey times could be cut by 25 minutes compared to today depending on stopping patterns. The recent Union Connectivity Review also considered the reduction of rail journey times to Scotland.

Andrew Stephenson
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Answer of 11 January 2021 to Question 129986 on Vehicle Number Plates, if he will compensate people who purchased new GB vehicle number plates after his announcement in January 2021 and communications with the UN in June 2021 to change the distinguishing sign for display on vehicles for international travel from GB to UK.

From 1 January 2021, regulations prohibited the display of the European Union symbol on new number plates fitted to vehicles from that date. Since then, the Government has decided that the appropriate distinguishing sign for vehicles registered in the United Kingdom should be the letters UK. This reflects the four nations of our union and is consistent with the sign used on other motoring documentation including driving licences of UK nationals.

From 28 September the UK distinguishing sign should be displayed on vehicles travelling internationally but there has been no change to legislation which permits a range of letters and flags to be incorporated in vehicle number plates. Any vehicle displaying these markings (or the European Union symbol if attached prior to 1 January 2021) may continue to do so but when driving abroad they must display the UK identifier which can be a sticker on the rear of the vehicle. Compensation is not available for those who choose to purchase new number plates.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to tackle the backlog of driving theory tests (a) in Scotland and (b) the UK.

The theory test centre estate and service for England, Scotland and Wales, which is currently delivered by a sole supplier, is changing. From 6 September 2021, the contract for running theory test centres is to be split into three regions and the number of theory test centres in Great Britain will increase from 180 to 202.

As part of its service recovery, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has extended theory test centre opening hours in England and Wales, where conditions allow, creating 300,000 extra theory test appointments. It has also opened 10 temporary theory test super centres in England, which will create a minimum of 120,000 extra appointments each month.

In Scotland, the DVSA has increased opening hours and run tests on extra days, where possible. When theory tests resumed in Scotland on 26 April, the Scottish Government made the decision to keep the two-metre physical distancing restrictions in place. Due to this, the DVSA was unable to increase the number of desks for theory tests, which reduced capacity at most theory test sites in Scotland by 50%. The recent relaxing of physical distancing rules will provide additional testing capacity at theory test centres in Scotland.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the current waiting period is for receipt of a renewed driving licence; and what steps his Department is taking to reduce that waiting period.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency’s (DVLA) online services are the quickest and easiest way to renew a driving licence. There are no delays in successful online applications and customers should receive their driving licence within a few days.

However, many people still choose or have to make a paper application for a driving licence. The DVLA receives around 60,000 items of mail every day which must be dealt with in person. Ongoing industrial action by members of the Public and Commercial Services union is leading to delays for customers who make paper applications.

Currently, paper applications are likely to take between six and ten weeks to process. There may be additional delays in processing more complex transactions, for example, if medical investigations are needed as part of a driving licence application. The latest information on turnaround times for paper driving licence applications can be found here.

The DVLA has leased an additional building to accommodate more operational staff and has reconfigured its accommodation to safely maximise the number of staff on site and is working hard to process applications as quickly as possible. The DVLA has accelerated the development of additional online services to reduce the number of paper applications and supported their take up through a publicity campaign. Further digital service enhancements are underway.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the change in the level of haulage through-traffic from the Republic of Ireland to the EU via Great Britain since the end of the transition period.

No formal assessment has been made. The Department for Transport does not directly hold data on the level of haulage through-traffic from the Republic of Ireland to the EU via Great Britain since the end of the transition period. The government keeps the flow of goods in and out of Great Britain and the UK under review.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of direct ferry links for haulage from France to the Republic of Ireland on UK businesses.

No formal assessment has been made. It is too early to assess the overall effect of recent increases in the services available, but we do not foresee a significant impact on UK businesses.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what assessment he has made of the effect of direct ferry links for haulage from France to the Republic of Ireland on the Welsh economy.

No formal assessment has been made. It is too early to assess the overall effect of recent increases in the services available, but we do not foresee a significant impact on the Welsh economy. Welsh ports will continue to offer essential and attractive routes between the Republic of Ireland and the Continent.

Robert Courts
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what meetings she has had with disabled people on the design of the reforms proposed in the Health and Disability Green Paper.

For the 18 months prior to the formal launch of the consultation underpinning the Green Paper, we ran a significant stakeholder engagement programme to ensure the views of disabled people and their representatives shaped the content.

During the consultation period, we delivered a wide-ranging programme of more than 40 events to promote the Green Paper and hear people’s views on the proposals. These included face-to-face and virtual public events, events with the Regional Stakeholder Networks, and a forum of disabled people from minority ethnic backgrounds.

Whilst the formal consultation period has now ended, we continue to engage stakeholders regularly, particularly on the broader aspects of the paper that focus on future reform.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potential impact of ending the £20 uplift to universal credit on levels of foodbank use in the UK.

The uplift to Universal Credit was a temporary measure, that is why an assessment has not been completed on its withdrawal.

Foodbanks are independent, charitable organisations and the Department for Work and Pensions does not have any role in their operation. There is no consistent and accurate measure of food bank usage at a constituency or national level. We understand the data limitations in this area, and thus from April 2021 we introduced a set of questions into the Family Resources Survey (FRS) to measure and track food bank usage. The first results of these questions are due to be published in March 2023 subject to usual quality assurance. These questions will allow us to gauge where people in food security are seeking help and over time will allow us to build a time series on the scale of food bank usage.

This Government is wholly committed to supporting low-income families, including through spending over £110 billion on welfare support for people of working age in 2021/22 and by increasing the National Living Wage by 6.6% to £9.50 from April 2022.

With the success of the vaccine rollout and record job vacancies, our focus now is on continuing to support people into and to progress in work. Our multi-billion-pound Plan for Jobs, which has recently been expanded by £500 million, will help people across the UK to find work and to boost their wages and prospects.

In addition, Universal Credit recipients in work will soon benefit from a reduction in the Universal Credit taper rate from 63% to 55%, while eligible in-work claimants will also benefit from changes to the Work Allowance. These measures represent, for the lowest paid in society, an effective tax cut of around £2.2 Billion in 2022-23, and will benefit almost two million of the lowest paid workers by £1000 a year on average.

We recognise that some people may require extra support over the winter as we enter the final stages of recovery, which is why vulnerable households across the country will now be able to access a new £500 million support fund to help them with essentials. The Household Support Fund will provide £421 million to help vulnerable people in England with the cost of food, utilities and wider essentials. The Barnett Formula will apply in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million (£41m for the Scottish Government, £25m for the Welsh Government and £14m for the NI Executive), for a total of £500 million.

To support low income families further we have also increased the value of Healthy Start Food Vouchers from £3.10 to £4.25, helping eligible low income households buy basic foods like milk, fruit and vitamins, and we are investing over £200m a year from 2022 to continue our Holiday Activities and Food programme, which is already providing enriching activities and healthy meals to children in all Local Authorities in England.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the announcement of 8 November 2021 on preventing pension scams, what estimate she has made of the impact on the number of referrals to MoneyHelper for mandatory guidance once the new rules come into force; and whether additional resources have been allocated to MoneyHelper for that purpose.

The legislation will fully come into force on the 30 November. We anticipate that accurate data will become available after this point. It is the Departments intention to monitor the volumes of referrals to MoneyHelper and include this in the review of the regulations I have committed to carry out within 18 months of them coming into force having worked closely with the Money and Pension Service.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what definition her Department uses to classify social security claimants as vulnerable; what method is used to identify those claimants; and how that information is recorded.

The Department does not identify or record claimants as ‘vulnerable’ or ‘not vulnerable’. However, we often need to consider a customer’s particular circumstances to provide the right service or ensure appropriate support. Where a staff member recognises that a customer has particular needs which should be flagged within their case file, they can do this by recording relevant information on the appropriate customer profile record. For example, in Universal Credit, complex needs information is recorded in profile notes within the claimant history.

In 2019 we created a central team in the Customer Experience Directorate who focus on supporting customers who require advanced support. We have also appointed over 30 regional Advanced Customer Support Senior Leaders across Great Britain; their role is to provide targeted support to customers who most need it.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the National Audit Office report entitled Investigation into underpayment of State Pensions published on 22 September 2021, if she will set up a task force to target and prioritise assistance for pensioners who are most in need of support as a result of the underpayment of State Pension.

The Legal Entitlements and Administrative Practice (LEAP) exercise to correct State Pension underpayments began in January 2021. We are prioritising older cases and those who we believe are the most vulnerable. The Department will write to affected individuals to inform them of the changes to their State Pension amount and of any arrears payment they will receive in accordance with the law.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association's (PLSA) consultation paper entitled Responsible Investment Quality Mark: Consultation on Standards, published in June 2021, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of PLSA’s proposal to develop a quality mark to recognise good practice of pension schemes on responsible investment.

The Secretary of State will consider the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association's proposals in the usual way. DWP officials look forward to discussing stakeholder responses with their PLSA counterparts in due course. 

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an estimate of the proportion of employees automatically enrolled in a workplace pension scheme who are likely to reach a moderate lifestyle in retirement as defined by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association's Retirement Living Standards.

This Government is focussed on its goal of expanding the benefits of automatic enrolment in the mid-2020s, increasing the overall amounts being saved by working people, and extending the benefits of workplace pensions to younger workers. I welcome the PLSA standards as a contribution to the debate.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 13 September 2021 to Question 45271 on State Retirement Pensions: Administrative Delays, if she will provide statistical information on the (a) average processing time for a new state pension claim and (b) average processing time 12 months ago; and how many unprocessed claims for new state pensions her Department holds.

DWP is aware that a small number of new State Pension claims have been subject to delays in receiving payment.

The Department is working hard to clear the current backlog, many of which have accrued since the Covid Pandemic.

We are prioritising overdue payments and payments that are imminent within the next few weeks. Normal service will be resumed by the end of October 2021.

Claimants don’t need to act, we have identified the cases and will process them as soon as possible.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
8th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the average processing time is for a new state pension claim; what the average processing time was 12 months ago; how many unprocessed claims for new state pensions her Department holds; what steps she is taking to tackle delays in processing new state pension claims; and if she will make a statement.

DWP is aware that a small number of new State Pension claims have been subject to delays in receiving payment.

The Department is working hard to clear the current backlog, many of which have accrued since the Covid Pandemic.

We are prioritising overdue payments and payments that are imminent within the next few weeks. Normal service will be resumed by the end of October 2021.

Claimants don’t need to act, we have identified the cases and will process them as soon as possible.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
7th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress she has made on establishing an Extra Costs Taskforce.

As set out in the National Disability Strategy, published on 28 July, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Cabinet Office will set up an Extra Costs Taskforce, bringing together disabled people, regulators and businesses, to better understand the extra costs faced by disabled people, including how this breaks down for different impairments – by summer 2022.

Officials are currently developing proposals for the taskforce and its terms of reference and membership. Insight from disabled people and organisations will inform the development of the Taskforce.

6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of allowing people in receipt of contracted provision such as the Work and Health Programme to transfer to the Kickstart scheme.

The Kickstart scheme is part of the wider package available for young people aged between 16 and 24 years old. Prior to any referral to other provision, including Work and Health Programme, DWP Work Coaches will assess if Kickstart is the most suitable support to improve the employment prospects for the young person.

Once a young person has completed a contracted intervention they can be referred to apply for a Kickstart job. The Department is currently reviewing under which circumstances it is appropriate for a young person to benefit from both a contracted employment intervention and the Kickstart Scheme at the same time.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of enabling disabled people over the age of 24 to access the Kickstart scheme.

The Kickstart Scheme is a COVID19 response to support young people aged between 16 and 24 years who are at risk of long term unemployment. All young people on Universal Credit including those with a disability can take up the offer of a Kickstart Scheme job.

Kickstart is a part of the government’s Plan for Jobs. Young jobseekers with a disability have a number of different routes and support offers available to them alongside Kickstart, including Access to Work, dedicated Disability Employment Advisors, and opportunities through the Work and Health programme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when the Government will launch its consultation on workforce reporting on disability for large employers.

As set out in the National Disability Strategy, published on 28 July, the Cabinet Office will consult later this year on workforce reporting on disability for large employers, exploring voluntary and mandated workplace transparency, before publishing next steps.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to ensure a wide range of disabled people and their families are involved in the Extra Costs Taskforce; and if she will make it her policy to work with disability charities and organisations to ensure as many experiences as possible are included.

As set out in the National Disability Strategy, published on 28 July, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Cabinet Office will set up an Extra Costs Taskforce, bringing together disabled people, regulators and businesses, to better understand the extra costs faced by disabled people, including how this breaks down for different impairments – by summer 2022.

Officials are currently developing proposals for the taskforce and its terms of reference and membership. Insight from disabled people and organisations will inform the development of the Taskforce.

3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many participants in the Kickstart scheme are single claimants and have declared that they are looking after a child under the age of 16.

An initial assessment of the first 50,000 claimants starting a Kickstart job found that around 1,700 young people on the Kickstart scheme were single person claimants responsible for a dependent child under the age of 16. This equates to 2% of all participants during this period. This compares to 3% of UC claimants in the Intensive Work Search group aged 16-24 who made a claim during the same time period above.

The Department will be monitoring and evaluating the Kickstart scheme throughout its implementation, and will continue to evaluate the longer term outcomes for Kickstart participants after they have completed their six-month jobs. This will include an examination of the demographic make-up of participants, including family type.

Although care is taken when processing and analysing Kickstart applications, referrals and starts, the data collected might be subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large-scale recording system which has been developed quickly. The management information presented here has not been subjected to the usual standard of quality assurance associated with official statistics, but is provided in the interests of transparency. Work is ongoing to improve the quality of information available for the programme.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the case of K v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions CO/4263/2020, on whose authority staff in her Department were acting when contacting benefits claimants to make offers of payments lower than their statutory entitlement; and whether her Department has plans to compensate those benefits claimants in that case.

The Department’s aim is to ensure that claimants are paid the correct amount of benefit at the earliest opportunity. Accordingly, if new evidence or information becomes available after an appeal has been lodged, it is right that decisions are reviewed and claimants put in the best position where they can choose either to continue with their appeal, or have the decision revised. To this end decision makers, acting on behalf of the Secretary of State under section 8 of the Social Security Act 1998, were authorised to contact affected claimants about the changed outcome.

These claimants have, and have always had, a right of appeal against the revised decision, and to have their payments fully backdated if successful at appeal. Claimants are notified of this right of appeal in their revised decision letter.

21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the adequacy of employment support available to people who (a) claim Employment and Support Allowance and (b) want to move into employment.

No recent assessment has been made. We have recently restarted our employment support for people claiming ESA following a pause due to Covid-19. We adopt a personalised approach for every claimant, supporting them to undertake tailored activities designed to move them towards and into employment, if and when they are able.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to promote the Restart scheme to disabled people.

There are no current plans to extend the eligibility criteria of the Kickstart Scheme or the Restart Scheme beyond Universal Credit claimants.

Disabled people, including those on Employment Support Allowance, who require more intensive employment support would also have access to both the Work and Health Programme (WHP) and Intensive Personalised Employment Support (IPES) and can volunteer for this support at any time irrespective of benefit claimed or no benefit. The WHP predominantly helps people with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions to enter into and stay in work, and is suited to those who expect to find work within 12 months. IPES is an intensive, highly personalised voluntary support package that is flexible to participants’ needs. It supports disabled people with complex barriers to work who are more than 12 months from the labour market without the benefit of IPES support.

The department will be monitoring the characteristics of people who participate in employment programmes, including which benefit conditionality group they are from. We will be evaluating the Kickstart Scheme and Restart Scheme to explore the delivery and outcomes from the programmes. This will include capturing the experiences of a range of participants, including disabled participants.

Universal Credit claimants are supported by a Work Coach who will seek to recommend and refer to the most appropriate provision for the individual.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to record the number of disabled people who participate in the Restart scheme.

There are no current plans to extend the eligibility criteria of the Kickstart Scheme or the Restart Scheme beyond Universal Credit claimants.

Disabled people, including those on Employment Support Allowance, who require more intensive employment support would also have access to both the Work and Health Programme (WHP) and Intensive Personalised Employment Support (IPES) and can volunteer for this support at any time irrespective of benefit claimed or no benefit. The WHP predominantly helps people with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions to enter into and stay in work, and is suited to those who expect to find work within 12 months. IPES is an intensive, highly personalised voluntary support package that is flexible to participants’ needs. It supports disabled people with complex barriers to work who are more than 12 months from the labour market without the benefit of IPES support.

The department will be monitoring the characteristics of people who participate in employment programmes, including which benefit conditionality group they are from. We will be evaluating the Kickstart Scheme and Restart Scheme to explore the delivery and outcomes from the programmes. This will include capturing the experiences of a range of participants, including disabled participants.

Universal Credit claimants are supported by a Work Coach who will seek to recommend and refer to the most appropriate provision for the individual.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of extending the eligibility criteria for the (a) Kickstart and (b) Restart schemes to include people claiming Employment and Support Allowance.

There are no current plans to extend the eligibility criteria of the Kickstart Scheme or the Restart Scheme beyond Universal Credit claimants.

Disabled people, including those on Employment Support Allowance, who require more intensive employment support would also have access to both the Work and Health Programme (WHP) and Intensive Personalised Employment Support (IPES) and can volunteer for this support at any time irrespective of benefit claimed or no benefit. The WHP predominantly helps people with a wide range of disabilities and health conditions to enter into and stay in work, and is suited to those who expect to find work within 12 months. IPES is an intensive, highly personalised voluntary support package that is flexible to participants’ needs. It supports disabled people with complex barriers to work who are more than 12 months from the labour market without the benefit of IPES support.

The department will be monitoring the characteristics of people who participate in employment programmes, including which benefit conditionality group they are from. We will be evaluating the Kickstart Scheme and Restart Scheme to explore the delivery and outcomes from the programmes. This will include capturing the experiences of a range of participants, including disabled participants.

Universal Credit claimants are supported by a Work Coach who will seek to recommend and refer to the most appropriate provision for the individual.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 2 June to Question 1397 on National Insurance Contributions, if he will publish for each cell in each table a further breakdown of the data by five year age bands.

The tables below show a breakdown by five-year age bands of how qualifying years were built up for the tax years 2011/12 and 2018/19.

The line ‘No Full Qualifying Year’ refers to those individuals who may have had some contributions or credits recorded, but did not build a qualifying year in the respective years.

The line ‘NI Contributions and Credits’ indicates where a qualifying year includes some periods of contributions and some of credits within the year.

Please note - for 2011/12, the low numbers of qualifying years for women aged 60-64 is because the staged introduction of State Pension ages above 60 was just beginning at that time.

2011/12

Gender & Age

Contributions and NI

Contributions Only

NI Credits only

Total

No Full Qualifying Year

Male 15-19

21,100

315,800

24,900

361,800

595,000

Male 20-24

72,200

1,326,200

91,300

1,489,700

563,500

Male 25-29

55,100

1,686,900

116,400

1,858,400

317,200

Male 30-34

46,900

1,668,300

140,100

1,855,300

203,200

Male 35-39

44,500

1,701,500

181,300

1,927,300

160,800

Male 40-44

42,000

1,828,600

229,500

2,100,100

158,100

Male 45-49

37,900

1,831,900

251,300

2,121,100

135,200

Male 50-54

33,300

1,548,300

243,300

1,824,900

113,700

Male 55-59

24,700

1,214,300

259,200

1,498,200

113,900

Male 60-64

68,000

729,400

815,300

1,612,700

186,000

Female 15-19

20,400

236,300

56,500

313,200

566,200

Female 20-24

118,600

1,161,900

286,200

1,566,700

453,900

Female 25-29

151,000

1,459,900

400,900

2,011,800

172,500

Female 30-34

150,000

1,340,000

439,400

1,929,400

105,100

Female 35-39

143,500

1,351,500

485,700

1,980,700

93,700

Female 40-44

116,400

1,570,000

455,200

2,141,600

117,700

Female 45-49

72,100

1,637,300

342,900

2,052,300

146,800

Female 50-54

40,800

1,374,000

279,300

1,694,100

143,900

Female 55-59

27,300

1,025,900

301,300

1,354,500

144,100

Female 60-64

100

300

100

500

83,600

Total

1,285,900

25,008,300

5,400,100

31,694,300

4,574,100

2018/19

Gender & Age

Contributions and NI

Contributions Only

NI Credits only

Total

No Full Qualifying Year

Male 15-19

300

87,200

24,500

112,000

516,900

Male 20-24

32,100

1,317,300

84,000

1,433,400

446,900

Male 25-29

29,800

1,834,700

105,100

1,969,600

250,600

Male 30-34

29,300

1,841,600

129,400

2,000,300

182,700

Male 35-39

29,800

1,740,500

151,000

1,921,300

142,600

Male 40-44

24,500

1,578,500

167,200

1,770,200

112,600

Male 45-49

23,200

1,715,000

203,100

1,941,300

112,400

Male 50-54

16,900

1,657,700

227,200

1,901,800

110,100

Male 55-59

13,600

1,349,900

228,900

1,592,400

110,600

Male 60-64

10,800

741,000

198,500

950,300

183,500

Female 15-19

700

26,400

45,300

72,400

486,900

Female 20-24

76,500

1,211,100

196,100

1,483,700

413,100

Female 25-29

133,000

1,632,000

322,500

2,087,500

178,500

Female 30-34

144,900

1,590,400

413,700

2,149,000

140,000

Female 35-39

115,500

1,503,700

436,000

2,055,200

106,700

Female 40-44

81,700

1,391,200

366,800

1,839,700

108,700

Female 45-49

57,800

1,575,500

327,800

1,961,100

134,700

Female 50-54

36,200

1,586,900

283,800

1,906,900

147,200

Female 55-59

22,000

1,234,300

278,900

1,535,200

147,700

Female 60-64

14,400

627,300

247,400

889,100

153,600

Total

893,000

26,242,200

4,437,200

31,572,400

4,186,000

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) men and (b) women (i) built up a qualifying year towards the state pension by paying National Insurance Contributions, (ii) built up a qualifying year towards the state pension through National Insurance credits and (iii) did not build up a qualifying year towards the state pension in (A) 2011-12 and (B) the latest year for which figures are available.

We do not have the specific data. However, the Local Labour Market Statistics of 2019 provides us with a 1% sample data. If that was to be scaled to 100% the probability is that the 100% data would show the following:

The tables below show a breakdown of how qualifying years were built up for the tax years 2011/12 and 2018/19.

2011/12

Male

Female

Total

NI Contributions only

13,851,200

11,157,100

25,008,300

NI Credits only

2,352,600

3,047,500

5,400,100

NI Contributions and Credits

445,700

840,200

1,285,900

Total

16,649,500

15,044,800

31,694,300

No full qualifying year

2,546,600

2,027,500

4,574,100

2018/19

Male

Female

Total

NI Contributions only

13,863,400

12,378,800

26,242,200

NI Credits only

1,518,900

2,918,300

4,437,200

NI Contributions and Credits

210,300

682,700

893,000

Total

15,592,600

15,979,800

31,572,400

No full qualifying year

2,168,900

2,017,100

4,186,000

The line ‘NI Contributions and Credits’ indicates where a qualifying year includes some periods of contributions and some of credits within the year.

The line ‘No full qualifying year’ refers to those individuals who may have had some contributions or credits recorded, but did not build a qualifying year in the respective years.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what comparative assessment she has made of the effect on trends in the level of poverty among young parents of those in receipt of (a) universal credit and (b) legacy benefits.

It is not possible to make meaningful comparisons between universal credit and legacy benefit claimants due to differences in the size, and composition of these caseloads.

Anyone on legacy benefits, who feels they would be better off on UC, can make a new claim to UC.

The Government encourages anybody to go on GOV.UK and use one of the independent benefit calculators to check carefully their eligibility, because on applying for Universal Credit, their entitlement to legacy benefits will cease and they will not be able to return to them in the future.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) men and (b) women (i) built up a qualifying year towards the state pension by paying National Insurance Contributions, (ii) built up a qualifying year towards the state pension through National Insurance credits and (iii) did not build up a qualifying year towards the state pension in (A) 2011-12 and (B) the latest year for which figures are available.

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

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, at which jobcentres disability employment advisers are located.

Disability Employment Advisers cover every Jobcentre in England, Scotland and Wales. They work alongside all Work Coaches, specialising in finding the right support to help customers who have a disability or health condition into work.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether she plans to increase the number of disability employment advisers.

The government will boost the number of specialist advisers dedicated to helping disabled jobseekers to secure and stay in work, with an additional 315 Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) roles to be in Jobcentre across the UK by May 2021.

26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many disability employment advisers have been employed by her Department in each of the last five years.

The number of disability employment advisers employed by the department in March:-

2018 was 465

2019 was 441

2020 was 546

2021 was 479

Please note that we only have figures back to March 2018 because around that time we updated our business systems and any figures before this update are no longer available. The demand for DEA’s in March 2020 was 500 and this coming year is 1000 so we will be recruiting extra staff to meet this target by March 2022.

The government will boost the number of specialist advisers dedicated to helping disabled jobseekers to secure and stay in work, with an additional 315 Disability Employment Advisor (DEA) roles to be in jobcentres across the UK by May 2021.

15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many (a) men and (b) women are receiving the new state pension; and how many and what proportion of those people receiving that benefit are receiving an amount in respect of a deceased spouse or civil partner.

At August 2020, there were 1,103,080 men and 483,540 women in receipt of new State Pension (figures rounded to nearest 10).

It is not possible to provide further accurate detail.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
15th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people who are claiming benefits as a result of long covid receive the correct claim.

As research into the long-term health symptoms and impacts of COVID-19 is ongoing, we are collaborating across Government to monitor emerging evidence and consider our response.

People living with a condition arising from exposure to the COVID-19 virus can access the financial support that is available through Statutory Sick Pay, Universal Credit and New Style ESA. They are also able to access Personal Independence Payment in the same way as other people with long-term health conditions or disabilities. Disability benefits do not include or exclude by condition, instead they look at the needs arising from a long-term health condition or disability. People may be able to claim ESA or Pension Credit depending on their individual circumstances.

Claimants are offered additional support where appropriate alongside signposting to independent benefits calculators on GOV.UK. They can also get help through the Government funded Help to Claim scheme as well as the Citizens Advice Bureau and Citizens Advice Scotland to support them in receiving the benefits they are entitled to.

24th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 2 February 2021 to Question 145157 on bereavement benefits, whether the remedial order will be fully retrospective to ensure that those who have already lost their partner will receive the entitlement for themselves and their children that they would have been able to obtain had they been married to their partner at the time of his or her death.

Whilst it is possible for Remedial Orders to make retrospective changes, Orders are subject to detailed consultation and Parliamentary Scrutiny before they become law. The detail of the proposed changes will be set out in the Remedial Order when it is laid before the House.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to relation to the Minister for Welfare Delivery's correspondence of 21 December 2020 to the Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee on automating the identification of affected claimants following the Johnson case at the Court of Appeal, what the cost is of the automated fix; and whether the automated fix will require a full rebuild of the universal credit system.

No estimates have been made for the cost of an automated approach and there are no plans for this as each instance can be complex.

The Universal Credit (Earned Income) Amendment Regulations 2020 were laid in October 2020, so for cases affected by this issue, monthly earnings can be reallocated to another assessment period. To support this, we have designed a tool which interacts with the Universal Credit Service to allow the redistribution of earnings where appropriate, with guidance having been issued to staff to ensure that where an issue is identified, the correct remedial action is taken.

Automated identification of affected claimants is expected to be implemented in early 2021. This will allow us to proactively correct Universal Credit awards before they are paid without the claimant needing to raise the issue.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number or people who will take part in the Job Entry Targeted Support programme in (a) the UK and (b) Scotland over the lifetime of that programme.

The Job Entry Targeted Support programme went live in England and Wales on 5 October 2020 and will run for a period of 18 months, with capacity to support 263,560 participants. The Job Entry Targeted Support programme in Scotland began on 25 January 2021, also has a duration of 18 months, and has capacity to support 22,000 participants

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the proportion of the 13,500 additional work coaches that will be recruited that will be deployed in Scotland.

Circa 7% of the 13,500 work coaches are planned to be deployed in Scotland.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she will allocate funding to implement the Department for Work and Pensions’ proposals on access to benefits for people with a terminal illness.

The Department for Work and Pensions is committed to delivering improvements to the benefit system for claimants that are nearing the end of their lives and is working across Government to bring forward proposals following the evaluation.

3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what progress her Department has made towards appointing 13,500 additional work coaches.

As at 29 January 2021 8,863 Work Coaches have started in the Department.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
1st Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of cases transferred from the Child Support Agency to the Child Maintenance Service where the debt has been written off; and what the value of debt that has been written off is to date.

Information regarding the legacy debt accrued under the Child Support Agency (CSA) that has been written off in cases which were transferred and held on Child Maintenance Service (CMS) systems is available on Gov.UK.

Chapter 2: Main Stories, and bullet point 3 refers.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/child-support-agency-quarterly-summary-of-statistics-september-2020-experimental/child-support-agency-quarterly-summary-of-statistics-data-to-september-2020-experimental

Paragraph 6 refers entitled. ‘CSA debt written off’.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what changes she plans to make to the rules on bereavement benefits following the verdicts reached in the cases of (a) James Jackson and Kevin Simpson in 2020 and (b) Siobhan McLaughlin in 2018.

We are considering the judgement and will bring forward necessary Orders in due course.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
27th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans to publish the Government response to the consultation entitled, Health is everyone’s business: proposals to reduce ill health-related job loss, which closed on 7 October 2019.

The Government is committed to reducing the disability employment gap and supporting disabled people and those with health conditions to thrive at work. We received a good response from a range of stakeholders. The Government is considering the timing of the response in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We anticipate that a response will be available shortly.

14th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to the Answer of 11 January 2021 to Question 1311810 on Pension Schemes Bill powers, by what means she plans to ensure that none of the provisions in Part 3 can be applied retrospectively.

I confirm that Part 3 of the Pension Schemes Bill does not contain any provision which would enable it to have retrospective effect.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate she has made of the value of unclaimed (a) housing benefit and (b) income support and income-related employment support allowance in North East Fife constituency.

The information requested is not available. On 29th October 2020 the Department for Work and Pensions published the report “Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up: financial year 2018 to 2019”. This provided figures on the value of some unclaimed benefits in Great Britain. However, sub-national figures are not published because of small sample sizes.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate her Department has made of the value of unclaimed benefits.

On 29th October 2020 the Department for Work and Pensions published the report “Income-related benefits: estimates of take-up: financial year 2018 to 2019”. The full report is available online.

For Great Britain, the following estimates are available for 2018/19:

Pension Credit: Up to £1.8 billion of available Pension Credit went unclaimed;

Housing Benefit: Up to £3.4 billion of available Housing Benefit went unclaimed;

Income Support / Income-related Employment and Support Allowance: Up to £1.2 billion of available Income Support / Income-related Employment and Support Allowance went unclaimed.

Estimates are not available for other DWP benefits, including Universal Credit.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
19th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate her Department has made of the cost to the public purse of compensating people who had their universal credit payments reduced due to the periodic assessment regulations.

There is no change to the period of assessment for Universal Credit. The Court of Appeal ruled that the way the Department calculated Universal Credit awards involving earnings in an assessment period was a correct application of the regulations, but called on it to consider the impact on the specific cases of those paid calendar monthly who are affected by ‘a non-banking day salary shift’.

The legislation we laid on 20th October, and which came into force on 16th November, revises those arrangements and provides a remedy that satisfies the Court of Appeal Judgment in the case of Johnson and Others. The Court of Appeal’s Judgment affects a small minority of claimants in very specific circumstances and the estimated cost is expected to be minimal.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether people who had their universal credit payments reduced due to the periodic assessment regulations error will receive compensation.

There is no change to the period of assessment for Universal Credit.

The Court of Appeal’s Judgment in the case of Johnson and others affects a small minority of claimants in very specific circumstances and the estimated cost is expected to be minimal. Those affected receive two calendar monthly payments of earnings in one assessment period and may lose out if they are entitled to a work allowance. We know that this issue can occur when a claimant’s monthly pay date and the last day of their assessment period are close together.

The legislation we laid on the 20th October, revises those arrangements and provides a remedy that satisfies the Court of Appeal Judgment in the case of Johnson and Others. This legislation came into force on 16th November and means that in future for cases affected by this issue, monthly earnings will be reallocated to another assessment period, which means that only one set of earnings will be taken into account rather than two, and certain claimants will be able to benefit from any applicable work allowance.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what the estimated cost to the public purse is of the new periodic assessment regulations.

There is no change to the period of assessment for Universal Credit.

The Court of Appeal’s Judgment in the case of Johnson and others affects a small minority of claimants in very specific circumstances and the estimated cost is expected to be minimal. Those affected receive two calendar monthly payments of earnings in one assessment period and may lose out if they are entitled to a work allowance. We know that this issue can occur when a claimant’s monthly pay date and the last day of their assessment period are close together.

The legislation we laid on the 20th October, revises those arrangements and provides a remedy that satisfies the Court of Appeal Judgment in the case of Johnson and Others. This legislation came into force on 16th November and means that in future for cases affected by this issue, monthly earnings will be reallocated to another assessment period, which means that only one set of earnings will be taken into account rather than two, and certain claimants will be able to benefit from any applicable work allowance.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many people's universal credit payments will be affected by the change to periodic assessment regulations.

There is no change to the period of assessment for Universal Credit.

The Court of Appeal’s Judgment in the case of Johnson and others affects a small minority of claimants in very specific circumstances and the estimated cost is expected to be minimal. Those affected receive two calendar monthly payments of earnings in one assessment period and may lose out if they are entitled to a work allowance. We know that this issue can occur when a claimant’s monthly pay date and the last day of their assessment period are close together.

The legislation we laid on the 20th October, revises those arrangements and provides a remedy that satisfies the Court of Appeal Judgment in the case of Johnson and Others. This legislation came into force on 16th November and means that in future for cases affected by this issue, monthly earnings will be reallocated to another assessment period, which means that only one set of earnings will be taken into account rather than two, and certain claimants will be able to benefit from any applicable work allowance.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of people who are entitled to carer's allowance (a) claim and (b) do not claim the benefit.

Information on the number of people (i) receiving a payment for Carer’s Allowance and (ii) have an underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance is published and available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk

Guidance for users is available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/index.html

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of carer's allowance claimants (a) receive an earnings replacement benefit, (b) are eligible for underlying entitlement for carer's allowance and (c) claim for that underlying entitlement.

Information on the number of people (i) receiving a payment for Carer’s Allowance and (ii) have an underlying entitlement to Carer’s Allowance is published and available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk

Guidance for users is available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/index.html

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of changing carer's allowance status from unearned income to earned income for universal credit claimants.

No such estimate has been made.

Carer’s Allowance is taken into account in the calculation of Universal Credit in the same way as the benefits it replaced.

Universal Credit includes an additional amount for carers at the rate of £162.92 per monthly assessment period. This amount recognises the additional contribution and responsibilities associated with caring.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
30th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when the response to the Health is everyone’s business: proposals to reduce ill health-related job loss consultation, closed in July 2019, will be published.

The Government is committed to reducing the disability employment gap and supporting disabled people and those with health conditions to thrive at work. The consultation closed in October 2019. We received a good response from a range of stakeholders and are now considering the timing of the response in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. We anticipate that a response will be available by the end of the year.

Background

The consultation ‘Health is everyone’s business: proposals to reduce ill health-related job loss’ ran between July – October 2019 and included proposals across four major policy areas:

1. Amend the legal framework to encourage early action to support individuals when they are absent from work and to facilitate more conversations to agree effective workplace modifications;

2. Reform of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) so that it is better enforced, more flexible, and support the lowest paid employees;

3. Measures to improve availability of high-quality, cost-effective occupational health (OH) services for employers; and

4. Advice and support from government for employers to understand and act on their responsibilities

We received a good response from a range of stakeholders.

22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether funding from the Shared Prosperity Fund will fund employability and skills programmes to the same level as funding from the European Social Fund after 2020; and if she will make a statement.

The Department continues to work across government on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, decisions about which will be made at the Spending Review.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what her plans are for the funding of employability and skills programmes currently funded by the European Social Fund after 2020; and if she will make a statement.

The Department continues to work across government on the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, decisions about which will be made at the Spending Review.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of jobcentre sites; and what plans she has for the future use of those sites.

There are currently 639 Jobcentres across the UK. DWP is evaluating the existing estates capacity and exploring options for new, temporary, premises to respond to the increased demand for services across the UK. Parliament will be updated once firm decisions are made on any new premises.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what estimate she has made of the number of people who have received Access to Work grants in each of the last five years.

The 2019/20 Access to Work statistics show that over 43,000 people with disabilities and health conditions are receiving tailored and flexible support to do their job.

During this period Access to Work has continued to expand its reach to underrepresented groups including those with Mental Health conditions, seeing the highest ever number of people approved for support: up 95% on the previous year.

Full details of Access to Work expenditure is published here:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/915547/access-to-work-statistics-april-2007-to-march-2020-tables.ods

24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans she has to promote the Access to Work grant scheme.

The Access to Work grant scheme has recently been extended in response to the Coronavirus outbreak, and now includes support for working from home, travel costs where public transport cannot be used, and for personal protective equipment. We’re currently delivering a communications plan to promote the extended flexible Access to Work offer and aim to reach disabled people through various communications channels. We’ve very recently promoted the flexible offer through national DWP/Local JCP social media channels, through a proactive press release, and amongst key stakeholders through newsletters and articles. In addition to these channels, we will continue to communicate through our Disability Confident employer network (18k+ employers), to our employer partnership and job centre plus teams to promote the Access to Work grant scheme available throughout the coronavirus outbreak. We’ll be monitoring the requirement for future communications to promote Access to Work dependent on the demand for grants. This will be ongoing throughout the remainder of this year and into 2021.

24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to ensure that young disabled people are able to access the Kickstart scheme.

We are encouraging employers to create a range of opportunities through the Kickstart Scheme for all young people aged 16 to 24 who are at risk of long–term unemployment including those who have disabilities. Jobcentre Plus Work Coaches will identify those young people most in need of the extra support offered by the Kickstart Scheme. We encourage organisations that work with disabled young people to take part in the Scheme, acting as a Kickstart gateway for their networks of small and medium employers, to encourage and support young people into a number of careers. This will help ensure that there is nothing to exclude young disabled people, or any disadvantaged groups, from accessing the Kickstart Scheme.

DWP also offers a range of support programmes including Access to Work and Disability Confident to advise and support employers looking to take on disabled jobseekers – this support can be accessed through local Jobcentres.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, when she plans implement a policy change in response to the decision of the Court of Appeal of 22 June 2020 in the case Johnson, Woods, Barrett and Stewart vs the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; and if she will make a statement.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
4th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much personal protective equipment (PPE) the Government has purchased that has not been used as a result of being (a) unwanted and (b) unusable since 1 January 2020; what the total cost is of that PPE; and what the daily cost is of storing that PPE.

The personal protective equipment (PPE) programme has ordered over 36.4 billion items since March 2020. Of this, approximately 3.4 billion units are currently identified as potential excess stock. The estimated purchase price for those items is £2.2 billion.

In addition, a total of 6.96 billion items are not currently provided to frontline services. This can be for a variety of reasons, including new stock that has not yet cleared assurance processes or where a different product is preferred. Of these, 1.2 billion items are deemed to be not fit for use. The purchase price for these items was £458 million. Data on the specific storage costs is not held in the format requested. However, on 13 December 2021 weekly storage costs for all stock was £4.5 million.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the Government's criteria by which countries are placed on the red list for covid-19 travel restrictions.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) produces risk assessments in order to inform Ministerial decisions on border measures, including the addition of countries to the ‘red list’. These risk assessments review a range of factors for each country, including assessment of surveillance and sequencing capability, available surveillance and genome sequencing data, evidence of in-country community transmission of COVID-19 variants, evidence of exportation of new variants to the United Kingdom or other countries and travel connectivity with the UK.

Information on the UKHSA’s methodology is published alongside key summary data which is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-risk-assessment-methodology-to-inform-international-travel-traffic-light-system/risk-assessment-methodology-to-inform-international-travel-traffic-light-system

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish any equality impact assessments conducted in the process of placing countries on the red list.

We are unable to provide the information requested as it relates to the formulation or development of ongoing Government policy.

Maggie Throup
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what guidance his Department has issued to Ambulance Services on prioritising call outs; and on what basis the priority of call outs is determined.

The Department has issued no such guidance. The prioritisation of responses to 999 calls is an operational matter for National Health Service ambulance services. The following table shows the ambulance service’s categories for evaluating 999 incidents, with corresponding response time standards.

Category

Headline description

Sub description

Mean response time standard

90th percentile response time standard

1

Life Threatening

A time critical life-threatening event requiring immediate intervention or resuscitation.

7 minutes

15 minutes

2

Emergency

Potentially serious conditions that may require rapid assessment and urgent on-scene intervention and/or urgent transport.

18 minutes

40 minutes

3

Urgent

An urgent problem (not immediately life threatening) that needs treatment to relieve suffering and transport or assessment and management at the scene with referral where needed within a clinically appropriate timeframe.

None

2 hours

4

Less-Urgent

Problems that are less urgent but require assessment and possibly transport within a clinically appropriate timeframe.

None

3 hours

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve the quality of life for those suffering with Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder.

In 2019/20, NHS England and NHS Improvement funded a pilot project to improve access, assessment and treatment for children presenting with Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). Learning from this pilot has been disseminated to community eating disorder teams in England.

In 2020, NHS England and NHS Improvement commissioned the research charity Autistica to produce an ‘ARFID and Autistic People’ briefing paper, based on a systematic review of research literature. This informed two awareness raising webinars for staff from the eating disorders charity BEAT and commissioners, clinicians and providers, to consider how autistic children and young people with ARFID could benefit from eating disorder support and services.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department monitors waiting times for treatment for Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder.

We have established the first waiting time standard to improve access to treatment for children and young people in need of eating disorder treatment in England, including avoidant restrictive food intake disorder, to allow 95% to start treatment within one week if urgent and within four weeks if routine. However, it is not possible to separately identify the different types of eating disorders within this data.

Data on waiting times and demand for adult eating disorder services is not currently collected centrally.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of people waiting for treatment for avoidant restrictive food intake disorder.

No specific estimate has been made.

Gillian Keegan
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what discussions he has had with the devolved administrations on the potential merits of expanding the NHSE&I/NICE innovative subscription model for anti-microbial treatments across the UK.

The Government continues to meet with the devolved administrations to discuss progress of the novel purchasing project being conducted by NHS England and NHS Improvement and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. It is hoped that all parts of the United Kingdom will benefit from the success of the pilot programme when the planned innovative antimicrobial purchasing subscription model is launched in early 2022.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to convene the high-level Joint Government Working Group with Industry on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) to oversee collaboration on the UK five-year AMR Strategy.

The Government will re-launch the Joint Government/Industry Working Group on antimicrobial resistance later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department's policy is on the use of the hormone PMSG in medication.

Pregnant mare’s serum gonadotropin which is also referred to as equine chorionic gonadotropin (PMSG or eCG), is not used in any medicinal products in the United Kingdom. As such, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency do not have a specific policy on PMSG and would assess any authorisation requests for a medicine or products that contain PMSG on a case by case basis.

PMSG may be used in livestock management, which falls under the remit of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
14th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the findings of Marie Curie's Better End of Life report, published on 8 April 2021, and what plans he has to improve the resourcing of palliative and end of life care in the community.

As raised by Marie Curie’s report, the Government recognises the vital role hospices have played in the response to the pandemic and made up to £280 million of additional funding available from March 2020 to March 2021. Within this funding was provision to support 46,500 community contacts per day, which included supporting people at the end of their life within the community. The Government has also either funded directly or committed to reimburse all known personal protective equipment requirements for all end of life and palliative care providers, including hospices, until March 2022.

Clinical commissioning groups commission palliative and end of life care services in response to the needs of their local population to fulfil their core duty to commission high-quality care. NHS England and NHS Improvement have developed Palliative and End of Life Care Strategic Clinical Networks, working closely with local commissioners to develop and implement sustainable commissioning models for palliative and end of life care, including hospice services.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment his Department has made of the implications for its policies of the findings of Marie Curie's Better End of Life report, published on 8 April 2021, and what plans he has to improve the resourcing of palliative and end of life care in the community.

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

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will respond to the finding of Marie Curie’s report of 8 April 2021, Better End of Life Report 2021, that stated there were more deaths at home throughout 2020, not just during the pandemic peaks; and what plans his Department has to investigate the quality of care received by people who died at home during the covid-19 outbreak.

We know that as a result of the pandemic, there was an unprecedented increase in the number of deaths overall in 2020 and an increase in the proportion of those dying at home. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the body with statutory responsibility for monitoring, inspecting and regulating services that provide regulated activities within health and social care, to ensure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety.

Palliative care providers, including those for people at the end of their lives receiving care at home, are routinely inspected by the CQC and assessed on the quality of palliative care they provide. During the pandemic the CQC suspended routine inspections to reduce the pressure on health and social care services but continued to monitor providers using a range of information, including feedback from people that use services and their families. However, if information of significant concern was received the CQC continued to undertake physical inspections to ensure people that use services were safe.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Secretary of State for Justice's oral answer of 8 December 2020, Official Report, column 710, how many and what proportion of (a) prison staff and (b) prisoners have been vaccinated against covid-19; and if he will make a statement.

This information is not held centrally.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 25 November 2020 to Question 116658 on coronavirus: vaccination, where in the UK each of the 58 fridges is located.

Public Health England (PHE) has secured 58 specialised ultra-low temperature freezers for the storage of potential COVID-19 vaccines which require ultra-low temperature storage. The ultra-low temperature freezers are located in two national storage facilities in Great Britain and in Northern Ireland, in readiness for the commencement of a COVID-19 immunisation programme that will support activity across the United Kingdom. This does not include any ultra-low temperature freezers previously announced by the Scottish Government.

At a regional level, the National Health Service has made preparations, including sourcing ultra-low temperature storage to support local delivery.

The location of the facilities is not being disclosed publicly in order to maintain the integrity of the sites.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 25 November 2020 to Question 116658 on coronavirus: vaccination, how many fridges are located in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales and (d) Northern Ireland.

Public Health England (PHE) has secured 58 specialised ultra-low temperature freezers for the storage of potential COVID-19 vaccines which require ultra-low temperature storage. The ultra-low temperature freezers are located in two national storage facilities in Great Britain and in Northern Ireland, in readiness for the commencement of a COVID-19 immunisation programme that will support activity across the United Kingdom. This does not include any ultra-low temperature freezers previously announced by the Scottish Government.

At a regional level, the National Health Service has made preparations, including sourcing ultra-low temperature storage to support local delivery.

The location of the facilities is not being disclosed publicly in order to maintain the integrity of the sites.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 25 November 2020 to Question 116658 on coronavirus: vaccination, how many fridges are located in each English region.

Public Health England (PHE) has secured 58 specialised ultra-low temperature freezers for the storage of potential COVID-19 vaccines which require ultra-low temperature storage. The ultra-low temperature freezers are located in two national storage facilities in Great Britain and in Northern Ireland, in readiness for the commencement of a COVID-19 immunisation programme that will support activity across the United Kingdom. This does not include any ultra-low temperature freezers previously announced by the Scottish Government.

At a regional level, the National Health Service has made preparations, including sourcing ultra-low temperature storage to support local delivery.

The location of the facilities is not being disclosed publicly in order to maintain the integrity of the sites.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
26th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 25 November 2020 to Question 116658 on coronavirus: vaccination, whether the 58 fridges includes the 20 previously announced by the Scottish Government on 10 November 2020.

Public Health England (PHE) has secured 58 specialised ultra-low temperature freezers for the storage of potential COVID-19 vaccines which require ultra-low temperature storage. The ultra-low temperature freezers are located in two national storage facilities in Great Britain and in Northern Ireland, in readiness for the commencement of a COVID-19 immunisation programme that will support activity across the United Kingdom. This does not include any ultra-low temperature freezers previously announced by the Scottish Government.

At a regional level, the National Health Service has made preparations, including sourcing ultra-low temperature storage to support local delivery.

The location of the facilities is not being disclosed publicly in order to maintain the integrity of the sites.

Nadhim Zahawi
Secretary of State for Education
25th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to answer Questions 116658, 116659 and 116660 tabled on 17 November 2020.

I refer the hon. Member to the answers to Questions 116658, 116659 and 116660.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many fridges of which brand or type the Government has ordered for the storage of the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine; and what the (a) cost and (b) arrival date in the UK is of each of those fridges.

Public Health England has secured 58 specialised Twin Guard ultra-low temperature freezers which provide sufficient storage for approximately five million doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines which require ultra-low temperature storage. The cost of the purchase of the ultra-low temperature freezers is commercially sensitive. The ultra-low temperature freezers are in the United Kingdom, fully operational, and located in national storage facilities both in Great Britain and in Northern Ireland, in readiness for the commencement of a COVID-19 immunisation programme. The freezers are not portable.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the capacity of the fridges ordered to store the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine will be in terms of total doses.

Public Health England has secured 58 specialised Twin Guard ultra-low temperature freezers which provide sufficient storage for approximately five million doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines which require ultra-low temperature storage. The cost of the purchase of the ultra-low temperature freezers is commercially sensitive. The ultra-low temperature freezers are in the United Kingdom, fully operational, and located in national storage facilities both in Great Britain and in Northern Ireland, in readiness for the commencement of a COVID-19 immunisation programme. The freezers are not portable.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, where the fridges ordered for the purpose of containing the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine will be located; and whether those fridges will be portable.

Public Health England has secured 58 specialised Twin Guard ultra-low temperature freezers which provide sufficient storage for approximately five million doses of potential COVID-19 vaccines which require ultra-low temperature storage. The cost of the purchase of the ultra-low temperature freezers is commercially sensitive. The ultra-low temperature freezers are in the United Kingdom, fully operational, and located in national storage facilities both in Great Britain and in Northern Ireland, in readiness for the commencement of a COVID-19 immunisation programme. The freezers are not portable.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he has plans to provide an SMS service as part of the covid-19 119 hotline.

The 119 testing line is currently working to introduce an SMS service.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the 119 covid-19 hotline is fully accessible.

The Coronavirus Testing Contact Centre can be contacted on 119 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 0300 303 2713 in Scotland between the hours of 7am – 11pm, seven days a week. The service can be accessed by people with hearing or speech difficulties by calling 18001 119 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland or 18001 0300 303 2713 in Scotland. There is a service for deaf people to speak to the Contact Centre using a sign language interpreter. This operates via a video link. More information on how to access the service is available at the following link:

www.interpreternow.co.uk

There are also pathways for non-digital users to book a test through the Contact Centre.

For those that do not speak English as a first language, the Contact Centre uses the Language Line interpreter service and staff are trained to manage language barriers, including through use of this service.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to publish the findings of Exercise Cygnus.

The Department does not routinely publish reports on exercises.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the availability of the chemical reagents required for covid-19 testing.

The National Health Service and Public Health England’s capacity is predominantly comprised of ‘closed’ platforms, which use proprietary reagents, and the demand for proprietary test kits is significantly greater than global supply leading to world-wide shortages in the United Kingdom and other countries. We have addressed these challenges by increasing global allocation from suppliers, increasing use of open platforms and increasing use of low throughput ‘desk top’ polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines. Through this work we now have test kits for over 100,000 tests a day and are continuing to work with industry and other partners to increase the availability of COVID-19 test kits.

Nadine Dorries
Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
15th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what estimate she has made of the total of UK payments to the International Climate Fund; and whether that level of payments meets the commitments made by the UK at the Copenhagen COP in 2009.

Securing the collective developed country commitment to provide $100 billion per year in climate finance to developing countries, first made in Copenhagen in 2009, has been a core focus of the UK's COP26 Presidency. Under the UK's Presidency, 95 per cent of the largest developed country climate finance providers made new, forward-looking commitments, with many doubling or even quadrupling their support for developing countries to take climate action. These pledges mean that the $100 billion finance goal will be met by developed countries by 2023 at the latest, and it is now likely that $500bn will be mobilised over the period 2021-25. This means more money for developing countries to decarbonise and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Further information can be found here: https://ukcop26.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Climate-Finance-Delivery-Plan-1.pdf

The UK has led by example with our International Climate Finance (ICF). We provided £9.8 billion ICF between April 2011 and March 2021, and are committed to providing a further £11.6 billion between 2021/22 and 2025/26 (a doubling of our ICF spend in the previous five years), with an extra £1 billion in 2025 if the economy grows as forecast.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, (a) what estimate she has made of the average processing time for Academic Technology Approval Scheme certificates; and (b) what steps she has taken to reduce this waiting period.

The Government has increased Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) processing and assessment capacity in the past 12 months. This has helped manage the unprecedented surge in ATAS applications - in part due to course deferrals from 2020 - and ensured that the vast majority of applications are processed within advertised timeframes.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
6th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what discussions he has had with the Zambian High Commissioner on the shooting dead of two civilians by Zambian police in Lusaka on 23 December 2020.

The UK Government is deeply concerned about the fatal shooting of two civilians during an opposition demonstration in Lusaka on 23 December. Our condolences go to the families of the two individuals involved. The Foreign Secretary has not discussed this incident with the Zambian High Commissioner at this time. The UK's High Commissioner to Lusaka publicly expressed his shock at this incident and has called for a full police investigation to establish why these civilians lost their lives.

The UK continues to call on all parties to respect the rights of all Zambians to express their views in a peaceful manner. We continue to raise the importance of free and fair elections and respect for human rights directly with senior government ministers.

14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what plans the Government has to undertake a consultation with (a) civil society and (b) development partners on the development of the Integrated Review.

The Government paused its Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy in April due to the pressing need to focus on COVID-19. We have formally recommenced the Review, building on the work done since February.

Our aim continues to be for an ambitious and bold Integrated Review that is guided by the UK's foreign policy and national security objectives.

We will be engaging with Parliament, the Devolved Administrations, external experts and wider stakeholders with an interest in our nation's security and prosperity. This includes our allies and partners, building on our ongoing dialogue on COVID-19 response and recovery.

The Government will conduct targeted engagement that will bring crucial external voices and expertise to bear in defining our ambition for the UK's role in the world and setting the country on the best possible trajectory to recovery from COVID-19.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that there is appropriate transparency, scrutiny and accountability of the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.

The Integrated Review will report to the Prime Minister, who will be supported by a cross-Whitehall team in the Cabinet Office and a small team in No10. The Cabinet Office will coordinate and drive input from departments across Whitehall, including the Foreign Office, Ministry of Defence, Department for International Development, the Treasury and the Home Office. We will also consult experts inside and outside of the Government, ensuring the UK's best minds are feeding into its conclusions and challenging traditional Whitehall assumptions and thinking as needed. We will keep Parliament fully informed during the process as we deliver a review that is in the best interests of the British people across the United Kingdom.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the contribution of Scotch Whisky distilleries as job creators in rural Scottish communities in each of the last three years.

The Government recognises the important contribution the spirits sector makes to the economy. This is why we announced a freeze on spirit duties at March Budget 2021, making the price of a typical bottle of Scotch whisky 30p lower than it would have been had prices risen with inflation. When added to the cuts and freezes made in the last five years, this means that the price of a typical bottle of Scotch Whisky in 2021 will be £2.15 lower than it otherwise would have been since ending the spirits escalator in 2014.

To further support Scotch, the Chancellor has announced £1 million of additional funding for the promotion of Scottish food and drink products overseas, and £10 million of research and development funding to help the distilling sector transition to net zero emissions.

More broadly, the Government keeps all taxes under review. We are continuing to monitor emerging public health data and will provide further updates on our alcohol duty review in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the impact on the purchasing of alcohol through consumers being charged different amounts of tax per unit of alcohol consumed in line with the Chief Medical Office's guidelines; and what assessment his Department has made of that policy on sales of spirits as the highest taxed category of alcohol.

The Government recognises the important contribution the spirits sector makes to the economy. This is why we announced a freeze on spirit duties at March Budget 2021, making the price of a typical bottle of Scotch whisky 30p lower than it would have been had prices risen with inflation. When added to the cuts and freezes made in the last five years, this means that the price of a typical bottle of Scotch Whisky in 2021 will be £2.15 lower than it otherwise would have been since ending the spirits escalator in 2014.

To further support Scotch, the Chancellor has announced £1 million of additional funding for the promotion of Scottish food and drink products overseas, and £10 million of research and development funding to help the distilling sector transition to net zero emissions.

More broadly, the Government keeps all taxes under review. We are continuing to monitor emerging public health data and will provide further updates on our alcohol duty review in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the contribution of the Scotch Whisky industry to (a) the Scottish and (b) UK economies in the last three years.

The Government recognises the important contribution the spirits sector makes to the economy. This is why we announced a freeze on spirit duties at March Budget 2021, making the price of a typical bottle of Scotch whisky 30p lower than it would have been had prices risen with inflation. When added to the cuts and freezes made in the last five years, this means that the price of a typical bottle of Scotch Whisky in 2021 will be £2.15 lower than it otherwise would have been since ending the spirits escalator in 2014.

To further support Scotch, the Chancellor has announced £1 million of additional funding for the promotion of Scottish food and drink products overseas, and £10 million of research and development funding to help the distilling sector transition to net zero emissions.

More broadly, the Government keeps all taxes under review. We are continuing to monitor emerging public health data and will provide further updates on our alcohol duty review in due course.

Helen Whately
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Aug 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to extend trials of Community Access to Cash pilots; and what the timeframe is to extend the rollout of those pilots to further locations.

The Community Access to Cash Pilots are an industry-led initiative taking place in eight locations across the UK. These pilots are trialling and testing sustainable solutions for ensuring that communities can conveniently withdraw and deposit cash, and identifying ways basic banking services can be better delivered. The pilots include Bank Hubs in Cambuslang and Rochford, which industry estimates have helped over 12,000 customers with access to cash and basic banking needs to date. On 18 August, an extension was announced to the Community Access to Cash Pilots, and the Bank Hub pilots will now continue until April 2023, meanwhile industry has announced that cashback without a purchase will be rolled out to thousands of shops over the coming months.

The Government welcomes industry efforts to develop solutions to support continued access to cash into the future. On the 1 July 2021, the Government published the Access to Cash Consultation, seeking views on proposals for new laws to make sure people only need to travel a reasonable distance to pay in or take out cash. It is important that long-term industry initiatives are compatible with the Government’s legislative approach.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jul 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, for what reason the value of the fifth Self Employment Scheme grant is set as a percentage of three months' profits; and what the evidential basis is for that policy.

The Government announced at Budget 2021 that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will continue until September, with a fourth and a final fifth grant.

The fifth and final SEISS grant, covering May to September, will include a turnover test, known as a ‘Financial Impact Declaration‘(FID) in order to ensure that the most generous support is targeted at those who need it the most. This will determine whether claimants receive a grant worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, and capped at £7,500 or a grant worth 30% and capped at £2,850.

Previous SEISS grants provided support for a period that was subject to restrictive measures across the UK to tackle the virus. As restrictions continue to be lifted, it is right that the government begins to tailor the level of support provided.

10th Jun 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what support the Government plans to provide UK-based investors in German Property Group (formerly Dolphin Trust) who invested directly in the trust without the advice of a third party advisor.

The UK regulatory agencies are aware of the bankruptcy of German Property Group (GPG), formerly known as Dolphin Trust, and the effect on UK-based investors.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published a joint statement with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The statement sets out what UK consumers should do if they invested in GPG via an FCA authorised firm – either a financial adviser firm or a Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) operator – and they believe they were mis-sold. This includes how to complain to the FOS or submit a claim to the FSCS. The statement can be accessed on the FCA’s website (https://www.fca.org.uk/news/statements/gpg-companies-preliminary-bankruptcy-proceedings ).

It is important to note that some consumers will not have invested in GPG via a regulated financial adviser or SIPP operator. GPG is incorporated in Germany and is not, nor has ever been an FCA authorised firm. Unfortunately, in these cases compensation would not be available through the FOS or the FSCS routes. Investors should contact the German insolvency administrator, BBL Brockdorff & Partner. Investors may also choose to press charges or appear as a witness in the German criminal proceedings being led by the German Prosecution Office.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing child benefit to cover the cost of free school meals.

The Government is committed to managing the public finances in a responsible way by targeting support where it is most needed. Child Benefit is not one of the qualifying benefits for Free School Meals. As individuals with an income of up to £60,000 are entitled to Child Benefit, many claimants will not have children who are eligible for Free School Meals and increasing Child Benefit to support this cohort would be poorly targeted. From April 2021 Child Benefit will increase in line with CPI (0.5 percent) to ensure that it retains its value. We will continue to review levels of Child Benefit alongside other benefits annually through the uprating process.

Schools have continued to receive their core funding in full, including for free school meals, during the national lockdown. In addition to this, we are providing extra funding to support schools to work with their school catering team or food provider to supply food parcels or meals to eligible pupils learning at home. Schools can alternatively claim funding to provide local vouchers worth £15 per child per week, giving families the flexibility to use these where it is most convenient for them and on healthy, nutritious items of their choice.  Where schools cannot offer food parcels or use local solutions, a national voucher scheme is in place to ensure that every eligible child can access free school meals.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of households where total earnings are over £50,000 but where each member of the household earns less than £50,000 they are not subject to the High-Income Child Benefit Charge.

The information requested could only be made available at disproportionate cost.

23rd Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether people who have been furloughed during the covid-19 outbreak who were earning the minimum wage and who have turned 21 since being part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will receive an uplift in their furlough rate to the minimum wage rate for people over 21 years of age.

The original policy design of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme aimed to sustain individuals at 80 per cent of their pre-COVID income, up to a maximum grant of £2,500 per month, and the default reference period for the CJRS is that of the pre-COVID period. For the majority of employees and employers, this means that it is not necessary to recalculate the basis of the claim. For newer employees under the extended scheme, it has simply not been possible to extend this default option, hence the reference period is necessarily different for this group. As with all decisions under the CJRS, the Government is balancing the need to support as many employers and individuals as fully as it possibly can, with the need to get the CJRS running quickly and make it easy to use.

The?National Minimum Wage is calculated?on the basis of?hours worked and/or time spent training.?Under flexible furloughing, furloughed workers will be paid National Minimum Wage for any hours the individual spends working. For hours where the employee is furloughed under the CJRS, workers will be paid the lower of 80 per cent of their reference salary, or £2,500. The terms of the scheme do allow for employers to make a top-up payment should they deem this affordable and appropriate.

If workers are required to complete training courses during the hours they are furloughed, then they must be paid at least the appropriate 2020/21 National Minimum Wage for the time spent training, even if this is more than the 80 per cent of their monthly earnings that will be subsidised.

The Chancellor has always been clear that the Government would keep the situation under review, adapting its approach as the context evolved. In January, the Government will review the CJRS policy, taking into account economic circumstances across the UK.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the amount of revenue raised from tax on carer's allowance.

The information requested is not available.

30th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many and what proportion of claimants of carers' allowance pay tax on the benefit.

The information requested is not available.

1st Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the most recent (a) reported and (b) projected 2020 Official Development Assistance spending was in each Department.

We do not publish this information. Official Development Assistance spending fluctuates throughout the year and is monitored regularly by HM Treasury and DFID in order to meet the 0.7% target.

Following the conclusion of each calendar year, DFID publish UK aid spend in Statistics on International Development (SID). Provisional SID's are published in the spring and a final publication is produced in the autumn. The SID series are designated as National Statistics publications. The most recent publication can be found in the link below, on provisional statistics of UK Aid spend in 2019:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-on-international-development-provisional-uk-aid-spend-2019

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate of gross national income he is using to calculate the 2020 Official Development Assistance budget.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is responsible for producing forecasts of the economy and public finances. HM Treasury does not produce forecasts of the economy or public finances. The latest official forecast of Gross National Income (GNI) was published by the OBR on 11 March 2020. The Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment is linked to the size of the economy, so the level of ODA spend is likely to decrease this year.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what the most recent 2020-21 Official Development Assistance allocations are for each ODA-spending Department.

The government will publish this information in due course.

Steve Barclay
Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
11th Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to repeal the International Tax Enforcement (Disclosable Arrangements) Regulations 2020 after the end of the transition period.

The International Tax Enforcement (Disclosable Arrangements) Regulations 2020 implement an EU Directive known as DAC 6. The UK is obliged to implement this Directive during the transition period.

The Government will keep the Regulations under review. Further legislative action may be appropriate in light of the outcome of negotiations with the EU on the future relationship between the UK and the EU.

The Government remains committed to tax transparency and will continue to apply international standards on transparency and exchange of information.

10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many applications were received for the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme for the 2021 season.

The Home Office publishes data on Seasonal Worker visas in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’.

Data on the number of Seasonal Worker visa applications are published in table Vis_D01 of the entry clearance visas applications and outcomes dataset while numbers of decisions can be found in table Vis_D02. Information on how to use the dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook.

The latest data relates to the year ending March 2021.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what additional resources the Government has provided to (a) the EU Settlement Scheme Resolution Centre and (b) relevant grant-funded third sector organisations to ensure that there is sufficient capacity to deal with people applying for the EU Settlement Scheme ahead of the 30 June 2021 deadline.

Resource for the EUSS Resolution Centre is kept under close review and additional resource is made available as required.

Regarding grant funded organisations we have already awarded £17 million of funding to a network of now 72 organisations, including charities and community organisations across the UK, to ensure important information and assistance gets through to those who are hardest to reach, and no one is left behind. These organisations have helped more than 250,000 vulnerable people to apply to the EUSS already.

In addition, we recently announced a further £4.5 million for the Grant Funded Network so it can continue to provide a wide range of invaluable support across the UK, including after the 30 June deadline, ensuring those most at-risk continue to get the help they need.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she plans to take in response to the findings of the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration's inspection on contingency asylum accommodation.

Penally has provided emergency capacity in response to pressures put on the asylum estate during the pandemic. As those pressures have eased, we have decided not to extend emergency planning permission beyond six months and moved all remaining asylum seekers from the site on 21 March. Napier Barracks will remain in operation in accordance with current needs.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration announced an inspection of contingency asylum accommodation on 25 January 2021. The Home Office acknowledges the ICIBI’s decision to publish the initial findings from site visits to Napier Barracks and Penally.

The ICIBI’s inspection continues and a full inspection report will follow.

The duration of the inspection is a matter for the ICIBI and upon its conclusion, following standard procedure set out in the UK Borders Act 2007, the Department will issue a formal response alongside the inspection report as it is laid before Parliament and published on Gov.UK

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to close Penally and Napier Barracks as asylum accommodation.

Penally has provided emergency capacity in response to pressures put on the asylum estate during the pandemic. As those pressures have eased, we have decided not to extend emergency planning permission beyond six months and moved all remaining asylum seekers from the site on 21 March. Napier Barracks will remain in operation in accordance with current needs.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration announced an inspection of contingency asylum accommodation on 25 January 2021. The Home Office acknowledges the ICIBI’s decision to publish the initial findings from site visits to Napier Barracks and Penally.

The ICIBI’s inspection continues and a full inspection report will follow.

The duration of the inspection is a matter for the ICIBI and upon its conclusion, following standard procedure set out in the UK Borders Act 2007, the Department will issue a formal response alongside the inspection report as it is laid before Parliament and published on Gov.UK

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people from which countries have been issued a Youth Mobility Scheme visa in each of the last five years.

The Home Office regularly publishes data of Immigration Statistics (Managed Migration Datasets) which includes this information. It can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/managed-migration-datasets#entry-clearance-visas-granted-outside-the-uk).

This data was last published in November 2020. As a result of this the data for 2020 is only up to the end of September. Please note all figures for 2020 are provisional.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
4th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions her Department has had with Dyfed-Powys Police on the costs incurred at Penally Camp; and whether her Department plans to reimburse Dyfed-Powys Police for any such costs.

The Home Office has agreed to provide £2.5m of Special Grant funding to Dyfed-Powys Police in respect of these costs up to September 2021.

Kit Malthouse
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice) (jointly with Home Office)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 20 January 2021 to Question 138518 on Asylum: Military Bases, what work her Department has carried out with the Local Health Board in Pembrokeshire to ensure that every asylum seeker has access to health care as required; and whether the management at that site have introduced any restrictions to that access.

The Home Office will continue to regularly move small numbers of people out of Penally into suitable dispersal accommodation in line with business as usual processes and will continue to route new people into Penally in line with public health guidance.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer on 18 January 2021 to Question 136619, what criteria is being used to determine how asylum seekers are being selected to leave Penally Camp; and how many people will be leaving each week.

The Home Office will continue to regularly move small numbers of people out of Penally into suitable dispersal accommodation in line with business as usual processes and will continue to route new people into Penally in line with public health guidance.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 1 February 2021 to Question 143912 on Asylum: Penally, what her planned date is for discontinuing the use of Penally Training Camp.

The Home Office and Clearsprings Ready Homes have worked intensively with the Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, Hywel Dda University Health Board, Dyfed-Powys Police and other partners as we have stood up and are now operating on the site.

The site at Penally was immediately available to be used to house asylum seekers and is safe, warm, secure, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped in line with existing contractual requirements for asylum accommodation.

Clearsprings Ready Homes is also taking action where appropriate to augment what is in place, taking account of feedback from service users and others, for example by providing additional heating and entertainment. Work with local faith leaders to provide further support and provision to meet religious needs is also underway.

An independent rapid review was also recently conducted to assure ourselves of the extensive COVID-19 protocols in place to safeguard the health and safety of asylum seekers during the pandemic. The Home Office is currently reviewing and acting upon the recommendations of the review and, as previously stated, will seek to publish a summary of the recommendations in due course.

The Penally training camp is temporary, contingency accommodation whilst we continue to address the issues putting pressure on our asylum system.

At present, the Home Office will continue to regularly move small numbers of people out of Penally into suitable dispersal accommodation in line with business as usual processes and will continue to route new people into Penally in line with public health guidance.

It remains our intention to move all individuals in contingency accommodation into suitable dispersed accommodation as soon as practicable.

In order to reduce the use of such contingency accommodation, we have been working closely with local authorities and devolved administrations to identify opportunities to increase the amount of dispersal accommodation available and to support those that are no longer eligible for asylum support to ‘Move-on’ from asylum accommodation.

We expect the highest standards from our providers and dispersed accommodation provided must be fit for purpose and complaint with the Decent Homes Standard, in addition to standards outlined in relevant national or local housing legislation.

All Asylum seekers in dispersal accommodation have their essential needs and costs met by the Home Office and the contracted providers– such as heating, electric and water and a weekly cash allowance.

Our providers are contracted to respond to and rectify maintenance issues between 4 hours and a 21-day period depending on the category of the issue. Further information can be found here in the statement of requirements: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-1112/AASC_-_Schedule_2_-_Statement_of_Requirements.pdf

All asylum seekers have access to a 24/7 AIRE (Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility) service provided for the Home Office by Migrant Help where they can raise any concerns or maintenance issues with their dispersal accommodation. The AIRE provider is then responsible for referring the report of the maintenance issue to the Provider, through a designated point of contact.

Our providers have put in place a range of measures and additional support to enable households to comply with public measures on social distancing and self-isolation. This has included food parcels and other items for people who are unable to leave the house, provision of telephony for those who are isolating and do not have a telephone, as well as increased welfare contact for those who are isolating.

For those in dispersal accommodation, service user essential living needs - including for cleaning and sanitary items - are met through a weekly cash allowance which has been increased during the pandemic.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 1February 2021 to Question 143913 on Asylum: Temporary Accommodation, what steps she has taken to ensure that the suitable dispersed accommodation is (a) adequately heated, (b) hygienic and (c) covid-19 compliant.

The Home Office and Clearsprings Ready Homes have worked intensively with the Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, Hywel Dda University Health Board, Dyfed-Powys Police and other partners as we have stood up and are now operating on the site.

The site at Penally was immediately available to be used to house asylum seekers and is safe, warm, secure, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped in line with existing contractual requirements for asylum accommodation.

Clearsprings Ready Homes is also taking action where appropriate to augment what is in place, taking account of feedback from service users and others, for example by providing additional heating and entertainment. Work with local faith leaders to provide further support and provision to meet religious needs is also underway.

An independent rapid review was also recently conducted to assure ourselves of the extensive COVID-19 protocols in place to safeguard the health and safety of asylum seekers during the pandemic. The Home Office is currently reviewing and acting upon the recommendations of the review and, as previously stated, will seek to publish a summary of the recommendations in due course.

The Penally training camp is temporary, contingency accommodation whilst we continue to address the issues putting pressure on our asylum system.

At present, the Home Office will continue to regularly move small numbers of people out of Penally into suitable dispersal accommodation in line with business as usual processes and will continue to route new people into Penally in line with public health guidance.

It remains our intention to move all individuals in contingency accommodation into suitable dispersed accommodation as soon as practicable.

In order to reduce the use of such contingency accommodation, we have been working closely with local authorities and devolved administrations to identify opportunities to increase the amount of dispersal accommodation available and to support those that are no longer eligible for asylum support to ‘Move-on’ from asylum accommodation.

We expect the highest standards from our providers and dispersed accommodation provided must be fit for purpose and complaint with the Decent Homes Standard, in addition to standards outlined in relevant national or local housing legislation.

All Asylum seekers in dispersal accommodation have their essential needs and costs met by the Home Office and the contracted providers– such as heating, electric and water and a weekly cash allowance.

Our providers are contracted to respond to and rectify maintenance issues between 4 hours and a 21-day period depending on the category of the issue. Further information can be found here in the statement of requirements: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-1112/AASC_-_Schedule_2_-_Statement_of_Requirements.pdf

All asylum seekers have access to a 24/7 AIRE (Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility) service provided for the Home Office by Migrant Help where they can raise any concerns or maintenance issues with their dispersal accommodation. The AIRE provider is then responsible for referring the report of the maintenance issue to the Provider, through a designated point of contact.

Our providers have put in place a range of measures and additional support to enable households to comply with public measures on social distancing and self-isolation. This has included food parcels and other items for people who are unable to leave the house, provision of telephony for those who are isolating and do not have a telephone, as well as increased welfare contact for those who are isolating.

For those in dispersal accommodation, service user essential living needs - including for cleaning and sanitary items - are met through a weekly cash allowance which has been increased during the pandemic.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 1 February 2021 to Question 143914 on Asylum: Penally, what steps she is taking to ensure that the facilities at Penally Camp are (a) adequately heated, (b) hygienic and (c) covid-19 compliant.

The Home Office and Clearsprings Ready Homes have worked intensively with the Welsh Government, Public Health Wales, Hywel Dda University Health Board, Dyfed-Powys Police and other partners as we have stood up and are now operating on the site.

The site at Penally was immediately available to be used to house asylum seekers and is safe, warm, secure, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped in line with existing contractual requirements for asylum accommodation.

Clearsprings Ready Homes is also taking action where appropriate to augment what is in place, taking account of feedback from service users and others, for example by providing additional heating and entertainment. Work with local faith leaders to provide further support and provision to meet religious needs is also underway.

An independent rapid review was also recently conducted to assure ourselves of the extensive COVID-19 protocols in place to safeguard the health and safety of asylum seekers during the pandemic. The Home Office is currently reviewing and acting upon the recommendations of the review and, as previously stated, will seek to publish a summary of the recommendations in due course.

The Penally training camp is temporary, contingency accommodation whilst we continue to address the issues putting pressure on our asylum system.

At present, the Home Office will continue to regularly move small numbers of people out of Penally into suitable dispersal accommodation in line with business as usual processes and will continue to route new people into Penally in line with public health guidance.

It remains our intention to move all individuals in contingency accommodation into suitable dispersed accommodation as soon as practicable.

In order to reduce the use of such contingency accommodation, we have been working closely with local authorities and devolved administrations to identify opportunities to increase the amount of dispersal accommodation available and to support those that are no longer eligible for asylum support to ‘Move-on’ from asylum accommodation.

We expect the highest standards from our providers and dispersed accommodation provided must be fit for purpose and complaint with the Decent Homes Standard, in addition to standards outlined in relevant national or local housing legislation.

All Asylum seekers in dispersal accommodation have their essential needs and costs met by the Home Office and the contracted providers– such as heating, electric and water and a weekly cash allowance.

Our providers are contracted to respond to and rectify maintenance issues between 4 hours and a 21-day period depending on the category of the issue. Further information can be found here in the statement of requirements: http://data.parliament.uk/DepositedPapers/Files/DEP2018-1112/AASC_-_Schedule_2_-_Statement_of_Requirements.pdf

All asylum seekers have access to a 24/7 AIRE (Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility) service provided for the Home Office by Migrant Help where they can raise any concerns or maintenance issues with their dispersal accommodation. The AIRE provider is then responsible for referring the report of the maintenance issue to the Provider, through a designated point of contact.

Our providers have put in place a range of measures and additional support to enable households to comply with public measures on social distancing and self-isolation. This has included food parcels and other items for people who are unable to leave the house, provision of telephony for those who are isolating and do not have a telephone, as well as increased welfare contact for those who are isolating.

For those in dispersal accommodation, service user essential living needs - including for cleaning and sanitary items - are met through a weekly cash allowance which has been increased during the pandemic.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 18 January 2021 to Question 136619, what the timescale is for the decommissioning of Penally Camp as temporary accommodation for asylum seekers.

In recent months we have faced additional challenges which have required us in some instances to temporarily use hotels and other contingency accommodation, to fulfil our statutory obligations towards asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute whilst their claims are considered.

MOD has given permission to use Penally Training Camp for 12 months, but the use of this facility is temporary, and we will discontinue it as soon as we are able.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 18 January 2021 to Question 136619, what steps she has taken to ensure that the suitable dispersed accommodation (a) is adequately heated, hygienic, and covid compliant and (b) will meet the medical and psychological needs of vulnerable male asylum seekers.

In recent months we have faced additional challenges which have required us in some instances to temporarily use hotels and other contingency accommodation, to fulfil our statutory obligations towards asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute whilst their claims are considered.

MOD has given permission to use Penally Training Camp for 12 months, but the use of this facility is temporary, and we will discontinue it as soon as we are able.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that the facilities at Penally Camp are (a) adequately heated, (b) hygienic and (c) covid-19 compliant.

In recent months we have faced additional challenges which have required us in some instances to temporarily use hotels and other contingency accommodation, to fulfil our statutory obligations towards asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute whilst their claims are considered.

MOD has given permission to use Penally Training Camp for 12 months, but the use of this facility is temporary, and we will discontinue it as soon as we are able.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she has taken to ensure that asylum seekers at Penally Camp can register and receive primary care and GP services free of charge; and whether those arrangements will continue once a decision has been made on their claim.

Refugees, asylum seekers and refused asylum seekers can register for and receive primary care free of charge in the same way as any other patient in any nation of the UK.

At Penally Training camp the Home Office have worked closely with the Local Health Board in Pembrokeshire to ensure that arrangements are in place for asylum seekers to access health care as required.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she has taken to ensure that the asylum seekers at Penally Camp can receive mental health and specialist support from a GP, accompanied by a professional interpreter; and whether those arrangements are planned to continue when a decision has been made about those people's claims.

Refugees, asylum seekers and refused asylum seekers can register for and receive primary care free of charge in the same way as any other patient in any nation of the UK.

At Penally Training camp the Home Office have worked closely with the Local Health Board in Pembrokeshire to ensure that arrangements are in place for asylum seekers to access health care as required.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
15th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she has taken to speed up the processing of applications for asylum.

We are fixing a broken asylum system and creating a new one which will be fairer and firmer and compassionate towards those who need our help.

There are a number of factors that contribute to the length of time to process asylum claims but we are determined to clear the backlog, speed up decisions and prevent people becoming stuck in the system for long periods of time.

We are working to streamline cases and have already made significant progress in prioritising cases with acute vulnerability, those in receipt of the greatest level of support including, Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children, and those that require a reconsideration.

Asylum Operations has developed a recovery plan focused on returning interviews and decisions back to pre-COVID-19 levels as soon as possible. We are also seeking to secure temporary resources to assist from within the Home Office and other government departments, along with other potential options.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
12th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 11 January 2021 to Question 130841, what progress she has made on timescales for the relocation of asylum seekers at the Penally Camp; and what assessment she has made of the safety of that camp.

The current global pandemic has presented us with significant challenges when it comes to the provision of asylum accommodation, including sourcing sufficient suitable accommodation to meet demand.

The use of hotels and wider government facilities are a short-term measure and we are working to move people to longer-term dispersal accommodation as soon as it becomes available.

Following a review of available government property, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) agreed to temporarily hand over two of their sites: the Penally Training Camp in Pembrokeshire and the Napier Barracks in Kent. These sites were immediately available to be used to house asylum seekers and are safe, secure, habitable, fit for purpose and correctly equipped in line with existing contractual requirements for asylum accommodation.

The Home Office have undertaken a number of assessments at the Penally Camp; Equality Impact, Fire, Evacuation controls/plans and Infection controls – including for Covid 19. A rapid review of asylum accommodation was undertaken with the assistance of Human Applications who conducted a ‘deep dive’ on our approach to initial accommodation during the coronavirus pandemic. We continue to work closely with the Welsh Health leads and if necessary, conduct an internal evaluation of asylum support provision in Penally with any recommendations being actioned accordingly.

It remains our intention to move all individuals in contingency accommodation into suitable dispersed accommodation as soon as reasonably practical, we are hoping to commence moves for small numbers of people out from week commencing 18th January, however our immediate priority is to ensure that we continue to meet our legal duty to house destitute asylum seekers and ensure their safety and wellbeing.

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, what plans she has to relocate asylum seekers located at the Penally Camp to alternative accommodation.

A rapid review of asylum accommodation came out of a series of Cabinet Office COVID-19 taskforce visits to asylum accommodation and a recommendation that the Home Office conduct a ‘deep dive’ on our approach to initial accommodation during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Home Office is reviewing the recommendations of the rapid review and, as previously stated, will seek to publish a summary of the recommendations. We will also hold round tables with stakeholders to discuss the recommendations, actions taken and proposed next steps.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that EU nationals are aware of the requirement to have Comprehensive Sickness Insurance prior to naturalisation.

We have not changed the requirements for naturalisation: it has always been a requirement for a person to have been in the UK lawfully during the residential qualifying period.

EEA Regulations set out the requirements which individuals need to follow if they wish to reside here lawfully before attaining permanent residence. For example, in the case of students or the self-sufficient – but not those who were working here – the possession of comprehensive sickness insurance has always been a requirement.

Our customer guidance explains this position.

The British Nationality Act allows us to exercise discretion over this requirement in the special circumstances of a case. The nationality application form and guide encourage applicants to give us relevant information to help us do that.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
25th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for what reason the requirement for EU nationals to have Comprehensive Sickness Insurance prior to naturalisation has been (a) introduced and (b) introduced at this time.

We have not changed the requirements for naturalisation: it has always been a requirement for a person to have been in the UK lawfully during the residential qualifying period.

EEA Regulations set out the requirements which individuals need to follow if they wish to reside here lawfully before attaining permanent residence. For example, in the case of students or the self-sufficient – but not those who were working here – the possession of comprehensive sickness insurance has always been a requirement.

Our customer guidance explains this position.

The British Nationality Act allows us to exercise discretion over this requirement in the special circumstances of a case. The nationality application form and guide encourage applicants to give us relevant information to help us do that.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent estimate she has made of the number of representatives from African countries who had their application for a visa refused in advance of the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020.

All UK Visa applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with the UK Immigration Rules: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-v-visitor-rules, which set out the requirements to visit the UK. These requirements apply to all visitors to the UK and the onus is on the applicant to demonstrate that they satisfy the immigration rules.

Information on the number and proportion of grants and refusals of visitor visas is published in the Home Office’s quarterly Immigration Statistics, at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-september-2019.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
20th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent estimate she has made of the number of (a) Ministers and (b) representatives from African countries that had their application for a visa denied ahead of the UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020.

All UK Visa applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with the UK Immigration Rules: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-v-visitor-rules, which set out the requirements to visit the UK. These requirements apply to all visitors to the UK and the onus is on the applicant to demonstrate that they satisfy the immigration rules.

Information on the number and proportion of grants and refusals of visitor visas is published in the Home Office’s quarterly Immigration Statistics, at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/immigration-statistics-year-ending-september-2019.

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Nov 2021
What assessment he has made of the impact on armed forces personnel and their families of the decrease in average annual real-term growth from 2021 to 2025 in day-to-day spending of his Department, as a result of the Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021.

Defence’s budget is growing year on year over the spending review period. We received a record settlement for Defence in 2020 of £16.5 billion. From 2019-20, the total Defence budget’s annual growth is 1.5% in real terms, with CDEL increasing from £10.3 billion in 2019-20 to £16.2 billion in 2024-25, and RDEL increasing from £30.6 billion to £32.4 billion.

This year Defence also received over £2 billion additional funding for running costs to counteract costs arising from the Health and Social Care Levy and expected increases in inflation in the wider economy.

Ben Wallace
Secretary of State for Defence
17th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he plans to take to ensure that the devolved nations receive the full amount of funds allocated to them under the (a) Community Renewal Fund and (b) Levelling up Fund in the event that insufficient applications are submitted to reach that amount.

We are committed to ensuring that local partners across the UK are able to benefit through both the Community Renewal Fund and the Levelling Up Fund.

The Levelling Up Fund is a competitive fund, with funding distributed to places across the UK on the basis of successful bid selection. The Fund will set aside at least £800 million across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland over four years from 2021-2022 to 2024-2025. For the first round of funding, at least 9% of total UK allocations will be set aside for Scotland, 5% for Wales, and 3% for Northern Ireland.

For the Community Renewal Fund, we have assigned a lead authority for each local area across Great Britain. Lead authorities have invited bids from a range of project applicants, appraised and prioritised a shortlist of projects up to a maximum of £3 million per place, which were submitted on 18 June to UK Government for assessment and approval. In Northern Ireland, project applications were invited to bid directly to the UK Government.

Bidding authorities across the UK have been well supported for both funds to submit quality applications through webinars and guidance.  Capacity funding will also be made available to all eligible bidding authorities.

11th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to his oral answer of 8 December 2020, Official Report, column 710, what discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on giving priority to (a) prison staff and (b) prisoners for the covid-19 vaccine.

The decision about who will be eligible for the vaccine and the priority in which it is given is being decided by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, but detailed planning is underway between HMPPS, NHS and public health bodies to prepare for the delivery of vaccinations in prisons.

Healthcare teams are also prioritising influenza vaccination clinics in prisons and have been encouraged to complete these as early as possible, to minimise any impact on the Covid-19 vaccine programme.

Lucy Frazer
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what discussions he has had with the Home Secretary on (a) worker shortages in Scotland and (b) the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme.

Ministers from this Department are in regular contact with counterparts from the Home Office on a range of matters affecting Scotland, including labour market issues.

The UK Government recently announced that the Seasonal Agricultural Worker visa route has been extended until the end of 2024, to allow migrant workers to come to the UK for up to six months to pick both edible and ornamental crops.

Further information is available online:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/industry-given-certainty-around-seasonal-workers-but-told-to-focus-on-domestic-workforce

Iain Stewart
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Scotland Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the potential competitive disadvantage faced by Scotch Whisky and other spirits produced in Scotland that are taxed higher per unit of alcohol than other alcohol categories.

The Government remains clear in its support for Scotch Whisky, and other Scottish spirits, and we have taken action to this end. The freeze in spirits duty at Budget 2020 and at five of the six budgets before that ensured the price of a typical bottle of Scotch is £1.54 lower than it otherwise would have been since ending the spirits duty escalator in 2014.

More broadly, the Government announced at the 2020 Budget it would review the alcohol duty system in the round. A call for evidence concluded in November and further announcements will be made in due course.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what assessment he has made of the role of Scotch Whisky distillers as employers in rural Scottish communities.

There are currently 134 operating Scotch Whisky distilleries across Scotland. More than 10,000 people are directly employed in the Scotch Whisky industry in Scotland and over 40,000 jobs across the UK are supported by the industry. 7,000 of these jobs are in rural areas of Scotland providing vital employment and investment to communities across the Highlands and Islands and elsewhere in Scotland.

This Government fully recognises the important contribution the Scotch Whisky industry makes to rural communities which is why we continue to support the industry in a number of different ways, for example:

  • We promote Scotch Whisky through the “Food is Great” campaign and last year we announced £1 million dedicated to showcasing Scottish food and drink exports around the world;

  • We also froze spirits duty at Budget 2020 and at five of the six budgets before that and this ensured that the price of a typical bottle of Scotch is £1.54 lower than it otherwise would have been since ending the spirits duty escalator in 2014;

  • We provided a £10 million fund to help the UK's world-famous distilleries go green by switching to low carbon fuels such as hydrogen.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what assessment he has made of the public health impact of Scotch Whisky distillers producing hand sanitiser for their local communities.

Scotch Whisky producers are just some of the many businesses across Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom that have come up with new and innovative ways to battle the coronavirus, and supported wider efforts to tackle the pandemic.

The many donations from local distilleries to the NHS provided huge quantities of hand sanitiser to keep frontline health and care workers safe. Scotch Whisky distillers joined by other distillers have not just helped their local communities in Scotland, but their manufacturing of hand sanitiser has helped all parts of the United Kingdom.

This was an initiative coordinated by the Scotch Whisky Association, which many distilleries participated in. The initiative has helped protect the health of millions of people in communities across Scotland. HMRC worked with the Scotch Whisky Association to allow distillers to manufacture sanitiser without needing to pay duty on the alcohol in it, when it has been made to WHO specifications.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what assessment he has made of the importance of the Scotch Whisky industry to the Scottish economy.

In 2020, Scotch Whisky exports were worth £3.8bn (down from £4.9bn in 2019). In 2019, Scotch Whisky accounted for 75% of Scottish food and drink exports, 21% of all UK food and drink exports, and 1.4% of all UK goods exports. The Scotch Whisky industry provides £5.5bn in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy.

There are more than 10,000 people directly employed in the Scotch Whisky industry in Scotland and over 40,000 jobs across the UK are supported by the industry. In 2018, there were 2.2 million visits to Scotch Whisky distilleries, making the industry the third most popular tourist attraction in Scotland.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how many meetings of the Economic Operations Committee he has attended since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Economic and Business Ministerial Implementation Group was set up in March to consider the economic and business impact and response, including supply chain resilience. It was chaired by the Chancellor, with the Business Secretary as deputy chair, and attended by other Ministers and officials. Given the operationally sensitive nature of the information discussed, it is not appropriate to disclose the additional information requested.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, how many discussions the Government has had with the Scottish Government in each month since the start of the covid-19 outbreak; and how many discussions in each month took place through Ministerial Implementation Groups.

Scotland Office Ministers have regular engagement with Scottish Government Ministers, on a variety of matters in a range of subject areas and are happy to be approached by Scottish Ministers on further engagement. This is supplemented by official engagement between Scottish Government officials and officials in the department.

Scottish Government Ministers attended the vast majority of the UK Government’s Ministerial Implementation Groups on the Economy, Health and the Public Sector. Supplemented by other Ministerial engagement, there have been more than 60 Ministerial meetings and extensive official engagement since March. Ministers from this department also attended those meetings.

My most recent meeting with Scottish Ministers was on Tuesday 23 June ahead of the PM’s statement to the House of Commons. This was attended by, amongst others, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and the First Minister of Scotland.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
8th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the effect of direct ferry links for haulage from France to the Republic of Ireland on the Welsh economy.

There has been a reduced flow of freight traffic at ports across the UK since the end of the Transition Period and imposition of tighter restrictions to tackle Covid-19, including at Welsh ports. However, traffic is expected to increase in the coming weeks.

Welsh ports, and Holyhead in particular, will continue to be critical routes to and from the Republic of Ireland and continental Europe irrespective of direct links for haulage between Ireland and France. The land bridge route has significant advantages for hauliers over maritime routes and I am confident that Welsh ports will continue to thrive as we build on the opportunities provided by being an independent trading nation.

Simon Hart
Secretary of State for Wales