Yasmin Qureshi Portrait

Yasmin Qureshi

Labour - Bolton South East

Shadow Minister (International Development)

(since September 2020)
Shadow Minister (International Development)
10th Apr 2020 - 2nd Sep 2020
Shadow Minister (Justice)
9th Oct 2016 - 10th Apr 2020
Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee
5th Jan 2016 - 31st Oct 2016
Foreign Affairs Committee
8th Jul 2015 - 31st Oct 2016
High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill (Commons)
29th Apr 2014 - 7th Jul 2015
Home Affairs Committee
4th Nov 2013 - 30th Mar 2015
Justice Committee
12th Jul 2010 - 30th Mar 2015
Privacy and Injunctions (Joint Committee)
14th Jul 2011 - 12th Mar 2012
Political and Constitutional Reform Committee
12th Jul 2011 - 12th Dec 2011


Department Event
Tuesday 15th June 2021
11:30
Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
15 Jun 2021, 11:30 a.m.
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (including Topical Questions)
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Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Division Votes
Wednesday 28th April 2021
Fire Safety Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 194 Labour No votes vs 0 Labour Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 322 Noes - 256
Speeches
Thursday 22nd April 2021
Human Rights: Xinjiang

It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Wealden (Ms Ghani). I congratulate her on obtaining this debate …

Written Answers
Thursday 29th April 2021
Pakistan: Travel
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how regularly he reviews the covid-19 red list travel …
Early Day Motions
Wednesday 29th June 2016
PROFESSOR MIKE NICHOLSON AND KIDNEY TRANSPLANTATION RESEARCH
That this House expresses its most sincere congratulations to Professor Mike Nicholson at the University of Cambridge for his pioneering …
Bills
None available
MP Financial Interests
Monday 8th June 2020
8. Miscellaneous
From 27 January 2020, a Member of Bolton Town Board. This is an unpaid role. (Registered 08 June 2020)
EDM signed
Monday 18th January 2021
Godfrey Colin Cameron
That this House is deeply saddened by news of the death of Godfrey Colin Cameron, a hardworking member of Parliamentary …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 9th May 2018
Plastics Bill 2017-19
The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Yasmin Qureshi has voted in 233 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Yasmin Qureshi 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
Eleanor Laing (Conservative)
(4 debate interactions)
Nigel Adams (Conservative)
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
(4 debate interactions)
Nadine Dorries (Conservative)
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
(4 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Department of Health and Social Care
(10 debate contributions)
HM Treasury
(5 debate contributions)
Ministry of Justice
(3 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Yasmin Qureshi's debates

Bolton South East Petitions

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

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

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

Petitions with highest Bolton South East signature proportion
Petitions with most Bolton South East signatures
Petition Open
453
of 349,377 signatures (0.13%)
Petition Open
450
of 149,403 signatures (0.30%)
Petition Open
373
of 28,733 signatures (1.30%)
Petition Open
315
of 180,142 signatures (0.18%)
Petition Open
313
of 3,569 signatures (8.77%)
Yasmin Qureshi has not participated in any petition debates

Latest EDMs signed by Yasmin Qureshi

14th January 2021
Yasmin Qureshi signed this EDM on Monday 18th January 2021

Godfrey Colin Cameron

Tabled by: Chris Stephens (Scottish National Party - Glasgow South West)
That this House is deeply saddened by news of the death of Godfrey Colin Cameron, a hardworking member of Parliamentary security staff and member of the PCS trade union who passed away aged just 55 after contracting covid-19; extends our sincere condolences to his devoted wife Hyacinth, children Leon and …
139 signatures
(Most recent: 8 Feb 2021)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 117
Scottish National Party: 15
Plaid Cymru: 3
Independent: 2
Alba Party: 1
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
14th July 2020
Yasmin Qureshi signed this EDM on Tuesday 14th July 2020

Restoration of online democracy and equal rights for MPs

Tabled by: Geraint Davies (Labour (Co-op) - Swansea West)
That this House believes that the decision to discontinue the ability of elected MPs to participate remotely in parliamentary debates, bill committees and by electronic voting is unlawful and discriminatory because it means that up to 250 elected MPs, who are clinically shielded to protect themselves or their families from …
66 signatures
(Most recent: 15 Sep 2020)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 34
Scottish National Party: 15
Liberal Democrat: 8
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Alba Party: 2
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 2
Green Party: 1
View All Yasmin Qureshi's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Yasmin Qureshi, 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.


Yasmin Qureshi has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Yasmin Qureshi has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Yasmin Qureshi has not introduced any legislation before Parliament


345 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Explanation of written questions
1 Other Department Questions
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, how many (a) full time equivalent posts there were and (b) part-time staff were employed in the Racial Disparity Unit in each year since it was established; and how many (i) full time equivalent posts and (ii) part time staff his Department has planned for in the 2021-22 financial year.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to PQ57945 by my friend Chloe Smith on 19 June 2020.

Figures for 2021/22 will be confirmed after the Spending Review.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Attorney General, pursuant to the Answer of 27 January 2020 to Question 6633 on Prosecutions, how many defendants had prosecutions (a) carried forward and (b) finalised in each year since 2014.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) maintains a central record of the number of defendants whose prosecution is carried forward or waiting to be completed at the end of each year. The table below shows the number of these, in cases where the CPS made a decision to charge, at the end of each year since 2014-15.

2014-2015

2015-2016

2016-2017

2017-2018

2018-2019

Total Defendants Carried Forward

87,530

77,200

69,676

59,422

53,631

Data Source: CPS Case Management Information System

Records are also held showing the number of finalised (or resolved) prosecution outcomes (by defendant) where the CPS authorised a charge. The table below provides the volumes of these in each year since 2014-15. The 21% reduction in the number of CPS authorised charges since 2014-15 follows the falling caseload trend. Police charged CPS prosecutions reduced by 28% and total finalised prosecutions by 26% in the same time period.

2014-2015

2015-2016

2016-2017

2017-2018

2018-2019

Total Finalised Prosecution Outcomes

233,959

234,124

223,079

211,154

183,917

Data Source: CPS Case Management Information System

Michael Ellis
Attorney General
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Attorney General, how many cases in which the CPS has made a decision to charge are waiting to be (a) completed and (b) resolved.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) maintains a central record of the number of defendants whose prosecution is carried forward or waiting to be completed at the end of each year, representing a snapshot in time. The table below shows the number of these, in cases where the CPS had made a decision to charge.

2018-2019

Total Defendants Carried Forward

53,631

Data Source: CPS Case Management Information System

Records are also held showing the number of finalised (or resolved) prosecution outcomes (by defendant) where the CPS authorised a charge. The table below provides the volumes of these.

2018-2019

Total Finalised Prosecution Outcomes

183,917

Data Source: CPS Case Management Information System

Michael Ellis
Attorney General
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what progress the Government has made on implementing a framework for compensation for the victims of the contaminated blood scandal.

Work is currently underway and I will update Parliament as soon as possible on this.

Penny Mordaunt
Paymaster General
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, when the Racial Disparity Unit's explain or change communications strategy was announced; what the cost to the public purse was of that strategy; and what assessment he has made of that strategy's efficiency in promoting change.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answers to PQ 59728 on 16 June 2020 and PQ 62369 on 24 June 2020.

The details of expenditure are published regularly on GOV.UK.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the Explain or change campaign continues to inform the work of the Racial Disparity Unit.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answers to PQ 59728 on 16 June 2020 and PQ 62369 on 24 June 2020.

The details of expenditure are published regularly on GOV.UK.

Julia Lopez
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Race Disparity Audit, whether his Department has undertaken an impact assessment of the explain or change approach adopted by the Race Disparity Unit when working with the Department for Health and Social Care; and what changes to that Department's policies has the unit recommended as a result of data it has gathered since its inception.

The ‘Explain or Change’ communications campaign concluded in June last year, and the Race Disparity Unit (RDU) continues to work with other Government departments to address disparities. This includes working with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Department for Education (DfE). This work includes, for example, considering recommendations from an independent review of the Mental Health Act, acting on the recommendations of the Lammy Review and taking forward recommendations from the Timpson Review into school exclusions. As has been the case under successive administrations, details of internal discussions are not normally disclosed.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Race Disparity Audit, whether his Department has undertaken an impact assessment of the explain or change approach adopted by the Race Disparity Unit when working with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government; and what changes to that Department's policies has the unit recommended as a result of data it has gathered since its inception.

The ‘Explain or Change’ communications campaign concluded in June last year, and the Race Disparity Unit (RDU) continues to work with other Government departments to address disparities. This includes working with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Department for Education (DfE). This work includes, for example, considering recommendations from an independent review of the Mental Health Act, acting on the recommendations of the Lammy Review and taking forward recommendations from the Timpson Review into school exclusions. As has been the case under successive administrations, details of internal discussions are not normally disclosed.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Race Disparity Audit, whether his Department has undertaken an impact assessment of the explain or change approach adopted by the Race Disparity Unit when working with the Ministry of Justice; and what changes to that Department's policies has the unit recommended as a result of data it has gathered since its inception.

The ‘Explain or Change’ communications campaign concluded in June last year, and the Race Disparity Unit (RDU) continues to work with other Government departments to address disparities. This includes working with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Department for Education (DfE). This work includes, for example, considering recommendations from an independent review of the Mental Health Act, acting on the recommendations of the Lammy Review and taking forward recommendations from the Timpson Review into school exclusions. As has been the case under successive administrations, details of internal discussions are not normally disclosed.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to the Race Disparity Audit, whether his Department has undertaken an impact assessment of the explain or change approach adopted by the Race Disparity Unit when working with the Department of Education; and what changes to that Department's policies has the unit recommended as a result of data it has gathered since its inception.

The ‘Explain or Change’ communications campaign concluded in June last year, and the Race Disparity Unit (RDU) continues to work with other Government departments to address disparities. This includes working with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Department for Education (DfE). This work includes, for example, considering recommendations from an independent review of the Mental Health Act, acting on the recommendations of the Lammy Review and taking forward recommendations from the Timpson Review into school exclusions. As has been the case under successive administrations, details of internal discussions are not normally disclosed.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, with reference to the Race Disparity Audit, whether her Department has undertaken an impact assessment of the explain or change approach adopted by the Race Disparity Unit when working with the Home Office; and what changes to the Home Office that unit recommended as a result of data that it has gathered since its inception.

‘Explain or Change’ was a short-term communications campaign that was launched in 2018, on the one year anniversary of the Race Disparity Audit. The campaign concluded in June last year, and the Race Disparity Unit continues to work with other Government Departments, to address disparities highlighted by the Audit. This includes work with the Home Office to improve trust between police forces and the local communities they serve, increasing diversity in the police workforces themselves, and developing a new strategy to act on and prevent hate crime.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
15th Jun 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps the Racial Disparity Unit has taken to reduce racial disparities at local government level; and what assessment he has made of the effect on analysis by that Unit of including regional data categories.

The Unit engages local authorities to support their work to use data to identify and act on areas of local challenge. It is working to improve local authority data it holds to give an overview on the experiences and outcomes of different ethnic groups, and to support delivery of the levelling-up agenda.

Chloe Smith
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on tackling the disability (a) employment and (b) pay gap.

I have frequent discussions with the Minister for Disabled People, who has responsibility for these issues.

Pay gaps are caused by a range of factors. To address them, we must ensure that everybody has equal access to opportunities.

We support disabled people to enter employment and stay in work through a range of initiatives such as the Work and Health Programme, Access to Work and Employment Advice in Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services. One of the key transformational elements of Universal Credit is that it provides us with the opportunity to support people who are in work to progress and increase their earnings.

In November 2018, we published a voluntary reporting framework on disability, mental ill health and wellbeing. This is aimed at large employers (with over 250 employees) and it is recommended that they publicly report on the pay and progression of disabled people at regular intervals. The framework can also be used to support smaller employers who are keen to drive greater transparency in their organisation or industry.

The Government will publish a National Strategy for Disabled People which will take into account the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on disabled people. The strategy will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects of life, including employment.

More broadly, while our current focus, rightly, is on helping to get people into work, our longer-term ambition, based on clear evidence about the importance of work in tacking poverty, remains to build an economy that gives everyone the opportunity to progress out of low pay.

Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith is leading a time-limited Commission looking at how DWP, wider Government and employers can best support people to progress out of low pay, especially for those groups more likely to be in persistent low pay, such as disabled workers. The Commission has recently launched a call for evidence to help inform their report, which will be published in the new year: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/call-for-evidence-and-good-practice-on-in-work-progression.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment he has made of (a) the implications for his Department's policies of Greater Manchester's plans to become carbon neutral by 2038 in light of the covid-19 pandemic, and (b) levels of consumer willingness to pay for a just and low cost transition to a decarbonised energy system.

The BEIS Local Energy Programme is supporting Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the clean energy economy. BEIS has allocated £500k directly to Greater Manchester Combined Authority since 2017, through devolution, to develop innovative business models (for decarbonisation) and public sector leadership (for climate change and zero carbon targets) in support of their 2038 target, which are then shared with other Local Authorities.

As we recover from COVID-19, the Government intends to deliver a UK economy which is stronger, cleaner, more sustainable and resilient. My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Summer Statement included investments which will both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support the economic recovery, reflecting the Government’s commitment to build back greener, deliver a green recovery and reach our net zero ambition.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether he plans to publish the Government's strategy to prioritise and accelerate net zero solutions to decarbonise energy use in order to increase operator and business confidence in investment in low carbon infrastructure.

My Rt. Hon. Friend the Secretary of State will publish an Energy White Paper in the Autumn which will address these issues. The White Paper will drive economic recovery and help deliver our climate goals.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which official development assistance programmes funded by his Department are targeted at supporting women and girls.

The UK’s Gender Equality Act 2014 (an amendment to the International Development Act 2002), legally requires all overseas development funding to meaningfully consider the impact of how it will contribute to reducing gender inequality.

The Department works with trusted delivery partners, such as the World Bank, to ensure that women and girls are accounted for throughout the delivery process. The Department uses its position as a Board member to ask all delivery partners to disaggregate the data they receive, to show how each project levels the playing field for women and girls.

Our two research and innovation funds, the Newton Fund and the Global Challenges Research Fund, recognise the importance of women and girls. Both funds define gender equality as an eligible research for development objective and all funding calls require applicants to submit their Gender Equality Statement, against which funding applications are assessed.

Some examples of the Funds’ gender work include: the Gender, Justice and Security Hub, which delivers innovative, interdisciplinary research on the challenge of achieving gender justice and inclusive security in conflict-affected societies; the Newton-Bhabha partnership with India, which has funded research into maternal care across a range of eight lower- and middle-income countries; and a project in Brazil with Sempreviva Organizção Feminista, which aims to develop skills in sustainable agriculture and commerce to help women in rural Brazil have better access to markets, both as producers and consumers.

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
4th May 2020
What estimate he has made of the number of self-employed people who do not qualify for covid-19 support.

We have prioritised helping the greatest number of people as quickly as possible and it is difficult to come up with reliable criteria that apply to all the relevant sectors of the economy. We are aware some people will not be eligible for the scheme, but they may still benefit from a number of other support schemes available.

The Department is engaging a wide range of stakeholders in relation to Covid-19, and in addition to the Business Secretary’s regular meeting with business representative organisations, I recently hosted a call with stakeholders on support for the self-employed and will continue to engage on the issue.

Paul Scully
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has made on developing a fact-based evidence base relating to firework safety; and if the OPSS will make that evidence base available to the public.

The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is developing a fact-based evidence base on the key issues that have been raised around fireworks. This includes looking at data on noise and disturbance, anti-social behaviour, non-compliance, environmental impact, and the impact on humans and animals. This will build a fuller picture of the data around fireworks in order to identify whether further action is appropriate.

The evidence base work includes reviewing existing literature, research and data sources which are already publicly available. The work to develop a full evidence base is an ongoing exercise which is not time limited and we will report in due course.

7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how frequently she plans to raise the National Living Wage to meet the Government target of two-thirds of median earnings by 2024.

The Government has announced that in April 2020 the National Living Wage (NLW) will increase by 6.2 per cent to £8.72 for those aged 25 and over. The Government has also announced inflation-beating increases in the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates for younger workers and apprentices of between 4.6 per cent and 6.5 per cent.

My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer has pledged that the NLW will increase further, reaching two-thirds of median earnings by 2024, providing economic conditions allow. The Government also plans to expand the reach of the NLW, bringing down the eligibility threshold first to age 23 in 2021 and then to 21 by 2024.

The Government increases the NLW and NMW rates annually with consideration to recommendations made by the independent Low Pay Commission (LPC). The Government will publish the LPC’s 2020 remit, which will include details of the new target for the NLW to reach two-thirds of median earnings by 2024.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what support the Government has provided to sports clubs in (a) Bolton and (b) England as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Sports and physical activity are incredibly important for our physical and mental health, and are a vital weapon against coronavirus.

As a result of COVID-19, Sport England have made 7,923 awards to sports clubs in England totalling £43,547,727 and 64 awards to sports clubs in Bolton totalling £207,794.

Government has provided unprecedented support to businesses through tax reliefs, cash grants and employee wage support, which many sport clubs have benefited from. The £300m Sports Winter Survival Package also aims to protect the immediate futures of major spectator sports in England over the winter period. On 22 October 2020, the Government also announced a £100m support fund for local authority leisure centres.

Sport England has also provided £220million directly to support community sport clubs and exercise centres through this pandemic, via a range of funds including their £35million Community Emergency Fund. On 26 January Sport England also published their strategy ‘Uniting the Movement’ and as part of this have committed an extra £50million to help grassroots sports clubs and organisations affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

We are continuing to work with organisations to understand what they need and how we may be able to support them.

Nigel Huddleston
Assistant Whip
9th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether the Government plans to introduce targeted support for cinemas that are (a) open and (b) closed during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government recognises the significant cultural and economic value of cinemas, and has supported them through sector-specific and economy-wide support.

Cinemas have been able to benefit from the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until March 31 2021, which sees employees receive 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked up to a maximum of £2,500 per month. In addition, the government has further supported cinemas through the VAT cut on tickets and concessions and a business rates holiday. We recognise how tough the measures are for people and businesses in Tier 3, and businesses in England that are forced to close will receive up to £3,000 for each 28 day period affected.

On a sector-specific level, as part of the £1.57 billion support package for key cultural organisations, independent cinemas are eligible for a share of £30m of this package. Funding has previously started to be allocated to cinemas across England and we will be making a further announcement on funding allocations in due course.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans his Department has to support freelancers working in the creative sector who are ineligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Arts Council England (ACE) has already distributed £104m through its Emergency Response Package to ensure the immediate resilience of this vital sector. The package included £80.7 million of support for cultural organisations, and £23.1 million of financial support for individuals, including freelancers. More than 9000 organisations and individuals were successful in applying for this emergency funding.

To complement Government Funding, ACE have made over £115m of funding available for individuals, including freelancers, to apply for. This includes:

  • £17.1m through the Emergency Response Fund for individuals;

  • £18m through their Developing Your Creative Practice fund;

  • £75m through National Lottery Project Grants and

  • £6m distributed by a series of Benevolent Funds focused on the self-employed.


An unprecedented £1.57 billion support package for the cultural sector has benefitted the live events sector by providing support to venues and many other cultural organisations to stay open and continue operating. £333 million was awarded to 1973 arts organisations which had applied for grants less than £1 million from ACE. Each organisation that receives money will know what best they can do to support their workforce, including their freelance workforce.

Caroline Dinenage
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps he has taken to support the voluntary and community sector during the covid-19 outbreak.

There are generous measures available for the whole voluntary and community sector which include more than £1.3 billion a year in respect of Gift Aid on donations. Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the government has made available a support package to all charities and businesses, including deferring their VAT bills, paying no business rates for their shops next year, and furloughing staff where possible.

The Government has also provided targeted financial support to the sector during the Covid-19 outbreak, including an unprecedented £750 million in funding for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, which includes £360 million directly from Government departments and £200 million via the National Lottery Community Fund.

Additionally, the Office for Civil Society in DCMS has issued regular newsletters to ensure the civil society sector is up to date on the latest information and support available during the Covid-19 pandemic.

DCMS continues to work closely with the civil society sector to assess the needs of the sector and how the government can best support it to continue its vital work. The Minister for Civil Society, Baroness Barran holds regular meetings with civil society representatives to highlight and address key issues for the sector in responding to the Covid-19 crisis.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to page four of the report published by Ofcom on 18 September 2019 entitled Diversity and equal opportunities in television, whether the Government has plans to grant Ofcom powers to collect information from broadcasters on the characteristics of (a) age, (b) sexual orientation and (c) religion or belief.

The Government has received representations from Ofcom regarding powers to collect information on additional diversity characteristics. Under the Communications Act 2003, Ofcom requires data from broadcasters related to equality of opportunity between men and women, people of different racial groups, and for disabled persons.

The Government currently has no plans in this session to introduce legislation granting Ofcom additional data collection powers. The Government is committed to supporting the broadcasting sector in reflecting and providing for the whole of the UK population and encourages broadcasters to provide data to Ofcom on all the protected characteristics.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
16th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, whether he plans to provide emergency funding to the BBC to ensure that it can continue to operate at full capacity in the next 12 months.

As the national broadcaster, the BBC has a vital role to play in supplying information to the public in the weeks and months ahead. The BBC has stated that its priority over the coming period is to do everything it can to serve the nation at this uniquely challenging time.

The BBC and the government have been discussing the national coronavirus situation, and these discussions will continue.

In 2018/19 the BBC received nearly £3.7bn in licence fee income.

John Whittingdale
Minister of State (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what plans the Government has to mark the 75th anniversary of VJ Day.

The Government plans to make an announcement on commemorative events to mark the 75th anniversaries of VJ and VE Day in due course.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress he made in rolling out gigabit broadband to every home and business by 2025; and when it is planned to be rolled out in Bolton.

Full fibre coverage has doubled in the past year to 3 million premises or 10% of the country, according to the latest Ofcom figures. The Government is taking numerous steps to make it easier and cheaper for the private sector to deploy more gigabit capable broadband, for example, through the recently introduced Telecommunications Infrastructure (Leasehold Property) Bill. This legislation supports telecoms operators to gain access to blocks of flats where a landlord repeatedly fails to respond to access notices and a resident is seeking a new service.

The precise timescales for the deployment of gigabit broadband in Bolton are primarily a matter for the commercial sector, as we believe that promoting commercial investment and network competition is the best way to deliver gigabit broadband at pace. However, this Government is also committed to subsidising deployment in harder to reach areas of the country with £5 billion of public funding, and are working up this programme at the moment. This intervention will ensure that no part of the country, including Bolton, is left behind in terms of broadband connectivity.

Matt Warman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport)
26th Apr 2021
What steps he is taking to support sixth form students to recover from disruption to their education as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We recognise that this has been a difficult period for sixth form students and so in this academic year we provided a £96 million 16-19 Tuition Fund for all providers of 16-19 education, including school sixth forms and sixth form colleges to provide catch up tuition for those most impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. We recently announced a £102 million extension of the Fund for the 2021/22 academic year to ensure that students can recover from the disruption and continue to progress in their education. We have also appointed Sir Kevan Collins, as Education Recovery Commissioner, to advise the government on the approach for education recovery and will be working with him to develop a full catch-up programme across the education sector around focusing on time, teaching and targeted interventions.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he has taken to support victims of the July 2020 cladding-based fire in the Cube, Bolton.

The fire at The Cube, a privately owned hall of residence in Bolton, took place on 15 November 2019. The department was made aware of the fire and monitored the situation. The support for students following the fire was provided by the University of Bolton. Students were found alternative accommodation in the city. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, wrote to all university Vice Chancellors following the fire asking them to review their fire safety procedures in buildings they own and to seek assurances on fire safety from private owners of student residential blocks. All of the universities responded to this request.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, pursuant to the Answer of 22 February 2021 on Students: Coronavirus, whether Bolton Sixth Form college will receive increased bursary funding.

We are very grateful for all the work 16-19 providers are doing to support students through the COVID-19 outbreak. We are also keenly aware of the pressures being faced by those providers and the financial difficulties that some students have.

We have made available additional funding for colleges that have seen growth in the number of students attending this year, including Bolton Sixth Form College, which received an extra £19,000 for the 16-19 Bursary Fund and an extra £8,000 for free meals – these funds can be used together to help students in need.

Last year we enabled providers to apply for additional Bursary Fund to help them meet the cost of devices and connectivity. In December we also announced that 16-19 providers with students in receipt of free meals can apply for an allocation of equipment from our Get Help With Technology scheme. As of 17 February 2021, nearly 57,000 devices have been delivered or dispatched to further education providers. Bolton Sixth Form College ordered, and has received, 262 devices.

We continue to keep the Bursary Fund situation under review, with a view to considering what more we can do to support students and providers through this difficult time.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate the Government has made of the rate of transmission of covid-19 in SEND schools in England; what steps his Department is taking to support SEND schools in Bolton to reduce covid-19 transmission; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of prioritising SEND school staff in the covid-19 vaccination rollout.

The Department continues to work closely with other government departments throughout its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector. We continue to work to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, to continue to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’ and to understand the impact and effectiveness of these measures on staff, pupils and parents.

The Department has recently published updated guidance for special schools and other specialist settings, which can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings.

The Department has also published its evidence summary on COVID-19 – children, young people and education settings, which can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/963639/DfE_Evidence_summary_COVID-19_-_children__young_people_and_education_settings.pdf

The system of control measures as outlined in our guidance create an environment for staff, children, and young people where the risk of transmission of the infection is substantially reduced. Schools, colleges and nurseries, therefore, need to continue to implement these controls to the fullest extent possible.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the Government on which vaccine/s the UK should use and provide advice on who should be offered them. The JCVI have advised that the second phase of vaccine prioritisation should continue to be based on age. They advise that an age-based approach remains the most effective way of reducing death and hospitalisation from COVID-19 and will ensure more people are protected more quickly. The second phase of the vaccine rollout will begin from mid-April and will aim to offer every adult aged 18 and over a first dose of the vaccine by 31 July.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support nurseries in Bolton to reduce transmission of covid-19; and what assessment he has made of the potential merits of prioritising nursery staff in the covid-19 vaccination rollout.

We are grateful to early years staff as they continue to provide support to children and families during the period of national lockdown.

The department continues to work closely with other government departments throughout its response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector, to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, to continue to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE-endorsed ‘system of controls’, and to understand the impact and effectiveness of these measures on staff, children and parents.

As new evidence or data emerges, the department updates its advice accordingly to ensure that all our settings have the right safety measures in place. The latest guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-early-years-and-childcare-closures.

The ‘system of controls’ measures outlined in our guidance create an environment for children and staff where the risk of transmission of infection is substantially reduced. Settings therefore need to continue to implement these controls to the fullest extent possible, including the new advice that face coverings are recommended in early years settings for staff and adult visitors in situations where social distancing between adults is not possible, for example, when moving around in corridors and communal areas.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are the independent experts who advise the government on which vaccine/s the UK should use and provide advice on who should be offered them. The JCVI will provide advice on the next phase of the vaccine rollout. The government is committed to offering every adult a dose of the vaccine by 31 July 2021.

We continue to work with the early years sector to understand how they can best be supported to ensure that sufficient safe, appropriate and affordable childcare is available for those who need it now, and for all families who need it in the longer term.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how much Official Development Assistance his Department was allocated in the financial years (a) 2019-20 and (b) 2020-21; and what estimate his Department has made of the amount of Official Development Assistance his Department will be allocated for the financial year 2021-22.

The Department for Education’s estimates of spending on Official Development Assistance (ODA) primarily relate to the provision of education to child and unaccompanied child asylum seekers in the 12 months after they make an asylum claim in the UK. The Department does not have a separate funding stream for educating asylum seeker children and is not allocated an ODA budget. Instead, to calculate ODA spending we estimate how much of the wider core schools funding for England is allocated due to having these children on schools’ rolls.

The Department’s estimated spending on ODA in each calendar year from 2015 to 2019 is given below:

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Department for Education spend classified as ODA (£ million)

22

28

24

20

21

The level of spending in future years will be dependent on the number of asylum seeker children that arrive in the country.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the 16-19 Bursary Fund for the 2020-21 school year (a) nationally and (b) in areas particularly financially affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

We are very grateful for all the work 16-19 providers are doing to support students through the COVID-19 outbreak. We are also keenly aware of the pressures being faced by those providers and the financial difficulties that some students have.

Last year we enabled providers to apply for additional Bursary Fund to help them meet the cost of devices and connectivity, and this year we have announced that 16-19 providers can apply for an allocation of devices from our Get Help with Technology scheme.

We continue to keep the Bursary Fund situation under review, including gathering evidence, with a view to considering what more we can do to support students and providers through this difficult time.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will bring forward proposals to make emergency 16-19 bursary funding available to providers who have depleted their allocations and are unable to continue supporting their low-income students due to levels of demand during the covid-19 outbreak.

We are very grateful for all the work 16-19 providers are doing to support students through the COVID-19 outbreak. We are also keenly aware of the pressures being faced by those providers and the financial difficulties that some students have.

Last year we enabled providers to apply for additional Bursary Fund to help them meet the cost of devices and connectivity, and this year we have announced that 16-19 providers can apply for an allocation of devices from our Get Help with Technology scheme.

We continue to keep the Bursary Fund situation under review, including gathering evidence, with a view to considering what more we can do to support students and providers through this difficult time.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, for what reason colleges are neither eligible to access the £15-a-week national voucher scheme, nor the £15 weekly payment available to schools for the provision of locally-arranged food vouchers for Free School Meals students during the covid-19 outbreak.

Further education (FE) institutions should continue to provide support for students who are eligible for free meals, whether they are attending or studying remotely due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Institutions should continue to provide support in the most appropriate way based on their local circumstances, and FE providers can use their FE Free Meals allocation flexibly with their discretionary 16-19 Bursary Fund allocation. The Education and Skills Funding Agency expects that a meal, voucher or credit will be provided to eligible students. However, this may not be practical in some situations and institutions are permitted to make cash payments to students in exceptional circumstances.

As was the case over Christmas, vulnerable families will continue to receive meals and other essentials over February half term via councils through the £170 million Covid Winter Grant Scheme launched last year.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what support he is providing to international students at UK universities during the global pandemic.

The government has worked closely with the higher education sector to ensure existing rules and processes are as flexible as possible, so that international students wanting to study at UK universities remotely and/or in person, where appropriate under the current circumstances, can do so and are appropriately supported. This includes the ability to engage via distance/blended learning for the duration of the 2020/21 academic year, provided students intend to transition to face-to-face learning as soon as circumstances allow.

The government has already worked closely with the Office for Students (OfS) to help clarify that providers can draw upon existing funding to increase hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. Providers can use the funding, worth around £256 million for the 2020/21 academic year, towards student hardship funds, including the purchase of IT equipment, and mental health support, as well as to support providers’ access and participation plans. We are also currently making available up to £20 million of hardship funding to support those that need it most, particularly disadvantaged students.

We have also worked with the OfS to provide Student Space, which has been funded up to £3 million by the OfS. Student Space is a mental health and wellbeing platform that aims to bridge any gaps in support for students - including international - arising from this unprecedented situation and is designed to work alongside existing services.

The UK was one of the first countries to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak by introducing comprehensive immigration flexibility for international students and staff, and the government has implemented several concessions to assist visa holders in the UK who have been impacted by global travel and health restrictions. This has included offering extensions of visas for those whose leave expired and relaxing the rules on visa switching in the UK, as well as confirming that existing international students who have been studying by distance/blended learning will remain eligible to apply for the new Graduate route, provided they are in the UK by 6 April 2021 and meet the other requirements of the route. In December, the government also confirmed that students commencing a one-year Master’s programme in January 2021 will remain eligible for the Graduate route, even if they are studying remotely, provided they enter the UK before 27 September 2021 and complete the final semester of their studies in the UK.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether the UK remains a partner country of the Erasmus Mundus+ masters degree scheme.

Partner country status under Erasmus+ provides varying levels of access to the programme depending on the region in which a third country is placed. The assignment of partner country regions is a unilateral matter for the European Union and, to date, no announcement has been made on this matter in relation to the United Kingdom.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure the financial stability of early years providers during the covid-19 outbreak.

I refer the hon. Member for Bolton South East to the answer I gave on 20 November 2020 to Question 114782 to my right hon. Friend, the Member for Bexleyheath and Crayford.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate his Department has made of the change in the level of demand for (a) children’s social care and (b) children and adolescent mental health services since schools returned for the 2020 autumn term.

The department has been working closely with local authorities to assess the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on children’s services, including any increases in demand, setting up dedicated regional teams that are in frequent contact.

We are monitoring referrals to children’s services via our regional teams and via the Vulnerable Children and Young People survey, which collects data fortnightly from local authorities in England. The latest release is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vulnerable-children-and-young-people-survey.

The most recent data collection (19-21 October) shows that the total number of children looked after was 7% higher than the same time in 2018 and the total number of children on a child protection plan was 1% higher.

Overall, the total number of referrals to children’s social care services was 6% lower than the 3 year average of the same week across 2016 to 2018.

NHS Digital publish data on referrals to mental health services here: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/data-tools-and-services/data-services/mental-health-data-hub/mental-health-services-monthly-statistics.

Referrals to mental health services since the beginning of the autumn term will be published in due course.

The government has provided £4.6 billion of additional funding to support local authorities in meeting COVID-19 related pressures, including in children’s services.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps is he taking to help ensure the safe return and arrival of (a) students and (b) international students to university in January 2021.

Following the end of term break, our priority for January will be the welfare of students, staff, and the communities around higher education (HE) providers. We are looking to utilise mass testing to make the return to HE as safe as possible and will provide further guidance in due course, considering future developments and the relevant scientific advice.

To keep transmission of COVID-19 in the UK as low as possible, with regards to students arriving from outside the UK, all international arrivals will be required to complete a passenger locator form on arrival, and passengers travelling from a country not on the exemption list will need to self-isolate in their accommodation for fourteen days. The government will review these measures regularly to ensure they are in line with the latest scientific evidence and remain effective and necessary.

We are working with the HE sector to ensure that students are welcomed to the UK and are supported on arrival by their chosen university. Further guidance on these measures is available here: www.gov.uk/uk-border-control.

Universities UK have published guidance for the sector to help providers support students fully and properly throughout this period. We would encourage them to have regard for this guidance when planning for the arrival of international students. This can be found at: www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Documents/2020/self-isolation-guidance.pdf.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent progress his Department has made on ensuring that all pupils learning at home as a result of self-isolation or class closures have access to (a) digital devices and (b) adequate broadband provision.

As part of over £195 million invested to support access to remote education and online social care, we are making over 340,000 additional laptops and tablets available this term to support disadvantaged children in Years 3 to 11 whose face to face education may be disrupted. Since September, over 100,000 of these have already been delivered to schools.

This supplements over 220,000 laptops and tablets, which have already been delivered during the summer term. This represents an injection of over half a million devices by the end of the year.

We have also distributed over 51,000 4G wireless routers, which are provided with free data for the rest of the 2020/21 academic year. Routers can be distributed by the local authorities, academy trusts and schools who own them to any disadvantaged children and young people.

In partnership with mobile network operators, we are providing access to free additional data for the academic year, offering families flexibility to access the resources that they need the most.

Schools can request free mobile data uplifts for families who lack sufficient internet access, via the Get Help with Technology service, when they experience disruption to face to face education or for clinically extremely vulnerable children.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that additional pupil premium funding is targeted at long-term disadvantaged pupils in the North of England.

We are committed to levelling up opportunities to make sure everyone has a fair chance to realise their potential and no one is left behind. The pupil premium furthers this objective by helping schools improve the academic attainment and wider outcomes of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Since the pupil premium was introduced in 2011, it has provided more than £18 billion of additional funding for schools and has played an important role in contributing to the narrowing of the disadvantaged attainment gaps at age 11 and 16. Areas with high proportions of students from disadvantaged backgrounds will continue to receive the highest levels of funding, and the gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers has narrowed considerably in both primary and secondary schools since 2011.

Through the national funding formula, we provide further funding targeted at schools with higher numbers of pupils with additional needs, including deprivation, worth £6.3 billion this financial year. On top of that, the pupil premium, worth £2.4 billion this financial year, provides additional support for disadvantaged pupils – those currently or formerly claiming free school meals and currently or formerly looked after – to tackle educational inequality.

Pupil premium allocations for the 2020-21 financial year were published in June, and the first quarterly instalments were paid out in June and July. Announcements on pupil premium funding for the 2021-22 financial year will follow later in the year. Announcements for future years will be made in due course.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
6th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, when he plans to respond to the correspondence from the hon. Member for Bolton South East of 10 July 2020 and 18 September 2020 on concerns from primary school heads about the Government's covid-19 guidance..

I can confirm that a response to the letters dated 10 July and 18 September 2020 regarding concerns from primary school heads about the Government's COVID-19 guidance has been sent to the hon. Member for Bolton South East.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent discussions he has had with school leaders on providing financial support for expenses incurred by schools as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Ministers and officials continue to engage regularly with school leaders and their representatives on a wide range of issues around COVID-19, including discussions in relation to costs faced by schools at this time.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure university students have access to digital and online learning during the covid-19 outbreak.

The government has been working closely with the Office for Students (OfS), the regulator of registered higher education (HE) providers in England, so that HE providers can draw upon existing funding to provide hardship funds and to support disadvantaged students affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

As a result of this flexibility, providers were able to use OfS student premium funding worth around £23 million per month between April to July this year. From August, providers have also been able to use £256 million for the current academic year towards student hardship funds, including for the purchase of IT equipment. We have also invested over £100 million to help provide laptops and devices for disadvantaged children and young people so they can access education and social care services remotely. As part of this, we have provided devices for care leavers, including those who are studying at university.

As I set out in a letter to MPs on 9 October, the government’s expectation is that quality and academic standards must be maintained. The OfS has made it clear that all HE providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and standards, which set out requirements to ensure that courses are high-quality, that students are supported and achieve good outcomes, and that standards are protected. They have also set out that HE providers must continue to provide sufficient and appropriate facilities, learning resources and student support services to deliver a high-quality academic experience.

The OfS has published information and guidance for HE providers and students. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education has also published a series of guides to support HE providers to secure academic standards and to support student achievement during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The OfS are taking very seriously the potential impacts on teaching and learning, and ensuring they have a clear picture of what students are receiving. They published a statement on 9 October about how they are monitoring the quality of online provision given by HE providers.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State of Education, has also commissioned Sir Michael Barber, the Chair of the OfS, to lead a review to consider how to enhance the quality of digital teaching and learning and the opportunities that digital education presents for universities in the medium and long term. The review, which is expected to report in spring 2021, will also explore how HE providers can ensure that all students have access to a high-quality digital teaching and learning experience.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made the number of apprentices that have been (a) made redundant and (b) furloughed through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme since the beginning of the covid-19 outbreak.

We do not publish data on redundant or furloughed apprentices.

We know that almost 600 apprentices since 1 August have either contacted us for advice through our new redundancy support service or have registered for our vacancy sharing service. Over 750 employers have signed up to offer opportunities to redundant apprentices, including Bupa Dental and Taylor Wimpey.

The support service provides advice and guidance to apprentices who have been made redundant, or are at risk of redundancy, on their options and next steps. It also supports apprentices to identify new apprenticeship and employment opportunities with employers looking to recruit. In addition, we are changing the law to enable more apprentices to complete their apprenticeship in the event of redundancy.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support universities that are implementing their own covid-19 testing measures.

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on universities, and we welcome the resilience, innovation and dedication from the sector over these months, as well as its wider contribution to support the fight against the COVID-19 outbreak through offering research and resources. Capacity for COVID-19 testing is the highest it has ever been and we are seeing significant demand. The department continues to work closely with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), and with sector representatives, to ensure that any students who display COVID-19 symptoms can have quick and easy access to testing.

The government has set a target of 500,000-a-day for UK testing capacity by the end of October. Local testing sites will be most accessible to students and will have the quickest test result turnaround. DHSC plan to increase the total number of sites to 150 by the end of October, and to 400 by the end of January 2021. Many of these new testing sites will be located near universities. In addition, there are 258 mobile testing units. Where there is a mobile testing unit in the vicinity of the university, students and staff will also be able book a test at one of these units.

We have drawn on the expertise of the Higher Education Taskforce that we set up, and we have been providing robust public health advice and regular updates to the higher education sector to help providers work through challenges of setting up their own testing measures. Our universities are home to world-leading science and innovation, but for universities producing their own tests, they should work in conjunction with their local Health Protection Teams and directors of public health and NHS Test and Trace so we can utilise it for public safety.

Under the Health Protection (Notification) Regulations (2010), it is a legal requirement to report positive cases of COVID-19 to Public Health England. It is a voluntary decision for providers to run testing programmes for their staff and students and we do not expect this to be a service offered by all higher education providers. Higher education providers should ensure they are fully aware of the implications, both clinical and organisational, of introducing testing programmes and of the potential limitations of any tests or test services that they use. In the event that higher education providers in the Bolton South East constituency want to conduct their own testing, departmental officials can be contacted about this at universities.ps@education.gov.uk.

Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Education)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of further education college staff who have been made redundant in 2020.

Further education (FE) colleges are independent of the government and responsible for managing their own workforce. The department does not hold data on the number of FE college staff who have been made redundant in 2020.

For information regarding Education and Skills Funding Agency financial management, the latest publication of the college accounts is available at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/esfa-financial-management-college-accounts.

The government is investing in FE, and we have announced a 16-19 funding increase of £400 million for 2020-21, which is the biggest injection of new money into 16-19 education in a single year since 2010. This includes a 4.7% increase in the 16-19 base rate of funding and a further £24 million for FE workforce development.

Gillian Keegan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps is he taking to support children with special educational needs and disabilities as they return to school during the covid-19 outbreak.

We appreciate that children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) have faced many challenges during the COVID-19 outbreak and some may find returning to school difficult. Therefore, we have put in place a number of measures to support their return to school.

We have published guidance to support schools with welcoming all pupils back and re-engaging pupils with learning. We are clear that schools should work closely with parents and carers to agree the best approach to support children and young people with SEND. The guidance for the full opening of special education settings is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-full-opening-special-schools-and-other-specialist-settings.

The guidance for the full opening of mainstream settings is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.

In addition, the Whole School SEND consortium have run training sessions and developed resources for teachers supporting pupils with SEND to return to school after the long absence.

We are very aware of the negative impact that the COVID-19 outbreak is likely to have had on children and young people’s mental health and are working to provide additional support in this area. We recently announced extra mental health support for pupils and teachers to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. This will include a programme to develop mental health and wellbeing expertise among school staff and a wider Public Health England-led package of support for young people, including online resources designed by health and education experts.

We have also announced a major investment in SEND education, including an additional £730 million into high needs next financial year, coming on top of the additional £780 million in the 2020-21 financial year, which means high needs budgets will have grown by over £1.5 billion, nearly a quarter, to £8 billion in just two years.

Furthermore, we are providing an additional £1 billion catch-up package to schools, which includes a ‘catch-up premium’ worth £650 million to support schools to make up for lost teaching time. This carries additional weighting for specialist settings, recognising the significantly higher per pupil costs they face.

Vicky Ford
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what level of religious education is legally required to have been achieved by the time a student reaches 16 at (a) maintained and (b) academic schools.

State-funded schools in England have a duty to teach religious education (RE) to all pupils aged 5 to 18. While academies, free schools and most maintained schools designated as having a religious character may design and follow their own curriculum, all other maintained schools must follow their area’s locally agreed syllabus for RE.

A locally agreed syllabus sets out what pupils should be taught and may include the expected standards of pupils’ performance at different stages. Legislation requires that every agreed syllabus must reflect ‘that the religious traditions of Great Britain are in the main Christian, while taking account of the teaching and practices of the other principal religions represented in Great Britain’.

Neither legislation nor academies’ funding agreements prescribe how much time should be devoted to RE or how it should be provided. However, we would expect an academy to have a plan or scheme of work which demonstrates how provision across the year groups is structured to ensure that all pupils receive RE which matches the legal requirement for an agreed syllabus as set out above.

Although not mandatory for all schools, teaching an accredited religious studies qualification at key stage 4 may be required by a locally agreed syllabus; and many schools teach the religious studies GCSE. The Department has set out the educational outcomes and content coverage required for GCSE specifications in this subject, which can be found at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/gcse-religious-studies. Where key stage 4 pupils do not take a religious studies qualification, the requirement to teach religious education still applies.

Department for Education guidance on religious education for maintained schools is at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/religious-education-guidance-in-english-schools-non-statutory-guidance-2010; and for academies and free schools at: www.gov.uk/government/publications/re-and-collective-worship-in-academies-and-free-schools/religious-education-re-and-collective-worship-in-academies-and-free-schools.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he plans to provide financial support to students that are undertaking teacher training courses and were not eligible for a bursary in September 2019.

All students undertaking a non-salaried initial teacher training (ITT) course can apply for financial support from Student Finance England. The standard student finance offer is available to both undergraduate and postgraduate non-salaried trainee teachers, regardless of whether or not they are also eligible for an ITT bursary.

The student finance offer for these trainee teachers includes a means-tested maintenance loan to support their living costs. Additional grant funding is also available to those who have children, adult dependents or a disability. Finally, all non-salaried trainee teachers can apply for a tuition fee loan, so they do not need to pay fees upfront.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if his Department will make an assessment of the (a) environmental, (b) economic and (c) educational merits of installing solar panels on schools.

Reduction in energy use in new and existing school buildings to meet the net zero carbon emissions by 2050 target is a priority for the UK Government. Generating sustainable energy, where sites and buildings allow, is supported by Salix loans available to schools.

Research into the environmental, economic and educational merit of photovoltaic solar panels is well founded and the Department welcomes schools developing educational outcomes that support work to mitigate climate change.

Nick Gibb
Minister of State (Education)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if the Government will make additional funding available for flood defences in Prestolee and Stoneclough.

Starting from 2021, the Government will invest £5.2 billion in a six-year capital investment programme for flood and coastal erosion risk management to build around 2,000 new flood defences. This investment will better protect 336,000 properties, including 290,000 homes, from flooding and coastal erosion by 2027.

Defra provides the majority of its funding for flood and coastal erosion risk management to the Environment Agency as Flood Defence Grant-in-Aid (FDGiA). The Environment Agency spends this funding directly on FCERM, but also passes some on as grants to Local Authorities or Internal Drainage Boards

The proposed Prestolee and Stoneclough flood scheme will protect approximately 80 homes in the community of Prestolee, with the total cost of the scheme estimated to be £3 million - £4.5 million. The scheme is currently eligible for £1.47 million of Defra FDGiA, of which £250,000 has already been awarded for 2020/21 following a successful FDGiA acceleration bid. This has allowed the scheme to progress to Outline Business Case stage.

Funding for all projects are allocated according to the rules that govern Defra’s existing six-year capital programme and in accordance with the Partnership Funding Policy. The Partnership Funding policy clarifies the level of investment communities can expect from Defra so it is clear what level of funding they need source from other sources to allow projects to go ahead.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2021
What recent discussions he has had with representatives of the Environment Agency on flood defences in Prestolee, Bolton.

The proposed Prestolee and Stoneclough flood scheme will protect approximately 80 homes in the community of Prestolee. The scheme is at the design stage and an outline business case is being developed. The total overall cost is likely to be around £3 million to £5 million, and a sizeable amount of investment has already been raised. The Environment Agency hopes to begin construction by spring 2023, completing works before March 2024.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how much Official Development Assistance his Department was allocated in the financial years (a) 2019-20 and (b) 2020-21; and what estimate his Department has made of the amount of Official Development Assistance his Department will be allocated for the financial year 2021-22.

HM Treasury has published departmental allocations of Official Development Assistance (ODA) for 2019-20, here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-aid-tackling-global-challenges-in-the-national-interest/official-development-assistance-oda-allocation-by-department. This table confirms Defra’s ODA allocation for financial year 2019/20 was £81m.

Outturn information of 2019 calendar year ODA spend are available in the Statistics of International Development publication: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-on-international-development.

The Government has committed to publishing departmental allocations of ODA for 2020/21 in due course. Outturn information of 2020 calendar year ODA spend will be published later this year, as normal, in the Statistics of International Development publication: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-on-international-development.

The Foreign Secretary recently published departmental ODA allocations for 2021-22, including HM Treasury’s allocation, in a Written Ministerial Statement available online here: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-01-26/hcws735. This statement confirms Defra’s £92m ODA allocation for financial year 2021/22.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans his Department has to support the use of non-chemical alternatives to neonicotinoids.

Defra and the Devolved Administrations are currently consulting on the revised National Action Plan for Sustainable Use of Pesticides (the NAP). The NAP lays out how we intend to support the uptake of integrated pest management (IPM) to reduce the risks associated with pesticides use, including neonicotinoids.

The NAP supports the development of alternatives to chemical pesticides, as part of the IPM approach. Our proposed plan will increase uptake of non-chemical approaches by improving advice and skills sharing, and by providing financial support through the new Environmental Land Management Scheme.

The Government has recently agreed to allow the use of a neonicotinoid seed treatment on sugar beet in 2021. This is an exceptional measure and we do not see such products as a permanent solution for sugar beet growers. The sugar beet industry has been developing alternative approaches including improved husbandry, plant breeding to develop new varieties and potential new insecticide products. Their forward plan maps out the route to develop each of these areas further so that economic production is possible without neonicotinoid seed treatments.

Victoria Prentis
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what recent discussions she has had with the Foreign Secretary on the Government’s commitment to international women’s rights ahead of the G20 summit in Riyadh.

As has been the case under successive administrations, details of internal policy discussions are not routinely disclosed.

Advancing gender equality and the rights of women and girls are a core part of this Government’s mission and Global Britain’s role as a force for good in the world, including fulfilling every girl’s right to at least 12 years of quality education. The Government remains steadfast in its commitment to this agenda.

The UK has consistently called for women in Saudi Arabia to be able to participate fully in society. We welcome positive developments, including reforms to the guardianship system. The World Bank's "Women, Business, and the Law 2020" report recognises Saudi Arabia's efforts to advance women's economic participation within the Kingdom. However, women's rights still fall significantly short of international standards. We will continue to raise the issue with Saudi Arabia, and work to promote and support further progress.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent steps he has taken to reduce flood risk to communities that experienced flooding in the last 12 months.

This government is acting to drive down flood risk from every angle. In March 2020, we announced a record £5.2 billion investment to build 2,000 new flood defences over the next 6 years. This investment will better protect 336,000 properties from flooding and coastal erosion. The government also announced a £120 million package to repair assets damaged as a result of last winter’s flooding – recognising the importance that maintenance of assets has on ensuring our network of defences are effective in a changing climate.

The government published a long-term Policy Statement in July setting out our ambition to create a nation more resilient to future flood and coastal erosion risk. The Policy Statement outlines five ambitious policies and over 40 supporting actions?which we will take to?accelerate progress to?better protect and better prepare the country against flooding and coastal erosion in the face of more frequent extreme weather as a result of climate change. These actions will help to reduce the likelihood of flooding and coastal erosion and ensure that we are better prepared to reduce impacts when flooding happens.

In July, we announced an additional £170 million to accelerate the building of 22 flood schemes across the country. In addition to our investment in the flood and coastal defences we are also investing £200 million between 2021 and 2027 to support 25 local areas – urban, rural and coastal – to test innovative actions to improve resilience to flooding and coastal erosion.

Following the flooding events in November 2019 and February 2020, the Environment Agency (EA) has carried out approximately 20,000 post-incident inspections. These inspections are now complete and the results have been used to plan projects for the EA’s recovery programme that will deliver asset repairs. The EA are making sure that any flood defences and equipment damaged during last winter’s floods are either fixed or will have robust contingency plans, such as temporary defences, in place by 31 October.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the level of access to insurance for households affected by 2019-20 winter floods.

The 2019-20 winter floods impacted communities across the country both in November 2019 and February 2020. The November 2019 flooding mainly impacted South Yorkshire, in particular Doncaster where over 760 households and businesses were severely affected.

Flood Re is a joint government and industry initiative launched in 2016 to improve the availability and affordability of flood insurance for households at high flood risk. In 2019/20 Flood Re provided cover for over 196,000 household policies. More than 300,000 properties have benefitted since the scheme’s launch.

Flood Re is available through more than 85 insurance brands representing 94% of the home insurance market.

Research has found that before the introduction of Flood Re, only 9% of householders who had made prior flood claims could get quotes from two or more insurers, with 0% being able to get quotes from five or more. Since May 2019, 99% of households with prior flood claims can now receive quotes from five or more insurers. Four out of five householders with a prior flood claim saw price reductions of over 50%.

In December 2019, the Government commissioned an independent review into the affordability and availability of insurance in Doncaster. The review, led by Amanda Blanc, will be fully considered by Ministers and published later this year.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which Official Development Assistance programmes that his Department funds focus on supporting women and girls.

Defra’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) programmes deliver primarily on climate and biodiversity objectives but consideration is given to the contribution of all activities to reducing gender inequality, in line with the Gender Equality Act 2014.

Some Defra ODA-funded programmes directly support women and girls, such as the International Climate Finance Blue Forests Initiative in Madagascar and Indonesia, a £10.1 million project to reduce the deforestation of mangrove habitat, create new sustainable livelihoods, support community health and women's empowerment and increase climate resilience in coastal communities. The Darwin Initiative funds hundreds of biodiversity projects worldwide, including the 'Partnering with Business for Restoration of Mt Kenya ecosystem services' project, which has worked with women in community-based organisations in Kenya, supporting them to fill leadership positions where they can voice their concerns and positively contribute to community-led initiatives.

Further examples of Darwin projects that have supported women and girls can be found in a recent Darwin Initiative newsletter: www.darwininitiative.org.uk/assets/uploads/Darwin-Newsletter-March-2020-Gender-Equality-Empowerment-FINAL.pdf.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether the government plans to allocate funding to build a flood protection scheme in Prestolee.

Allocation of funding to build a flood protection scheme in Prestolee will depend on the outcomes of the Spending Review for funding beyond March 2021. The Environment Agency will work with partners to secure other funding sources in addition to Government funding and local levy support from the Regional Flood and Coastal Committee.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
24th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what plans the Environment Agency has to build a flood protection scheme in Prestolee, Bolton South East constituency.

The Environment Agency (EA) has removed sediment from the River Irwell since Storm Eva, assessed the viability of temporary defences and sprayed invasive species on the river bank so that construction of any potential flood wall can be done as efficiently as possible if this proves to be a feasible option. The EA has also supported the creation of a flood group who can share project updates, share real time flood information and flood forecasts, and gather knowledge and experiences to help understand the flood risk and help develop practical options.

Running parallel to this, the EA has been working hard with its partners, including Bolton Council, to understand flood risk in Prestolee and Stoneclough and to develop measures that could be put in place to reduce that risk. The EA has surveyed the River Irwell at this location and completed a Strategic Business Case for a potential flood scheme. The next phase is to identify a preferred option. There is a funding gap to deliver the construction phase of this project and partners will need to step forward to close this before detailed design or construction can commence. The EA is holding a community drop-in session on 11 March 2020 to provide residents with an update and to hear their experiences over the last month.

Rebecca Pow
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to prevent clashes between British and French fishermen in the English Channel.

During the transition period the UK will continue to abide by the current rules of the Common Fisheries Policy, which apply to all UK, EU and other vessels fishing in UK waters. The safety of the UK fleet remains our highest priority and we continue to monitor the presence and activities of vessels in the English Channel, as we do across the rest of our waters. We have already taken measures to strengthen our surveillance capacity and make sure that the appropriate fisheries enforcement capability is in place to patrol our waters and enforce regulations.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he has plans to reintroduce the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill.

In line with the manifesto commitment to introduce tougher sentences for animal cruelty, we remain fully committed to increasing the maximum custodial sentences for animal cruelty offences from six months to five years. This will enable courts to take a firmer approach to cases such as dog fighting, abuse of puppies and kittens, or gross neglect of farm animals. The necessary legislation will be introduced as soon as Parliamentary time permits.

George Eustice
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much and what proportion of her Departments budget was spend on projects with that were (a) not-gender related and (b) had a gender equality focus as a (a) principal and (b) significant objective in each of the last five years.

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. The latest figures available are for 2018 which show that £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 gave 23.5 million of the world’s poorest women and girls access to vital, voluntary family planning.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that older women are included in the implementation of the Strategic Vision for Gender Equality by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

The Strategic Vision for Gender Equality is DFID’s guiding document on gender equality and it reflects and responds to the UK Government’s ambitions on this agenda. This includes our commitment to Leave No Girl or Woman Behind, which recognises that older women face multiple exclusions and experience a range of complex barriers to accessing services. COVID-19 has thrown into sharp relief the vulnerability of older people to shocks and brought to the forefront the important roles they play in society.

As part of the DFID-FCO merger discussions, we will refresh and build on existing strategies, as well as develop new approaches. Advancing gender equality and women’s rights are a core part of this Government’s mission. The Government remains steadfast in its commitment to this agenda.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will ensure that there will be no forced relocations of staff through the merging of her Department and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

When the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is formally established we will be working to transfer existing DFID employees into it. We may need a different skill or grade mix in different locations overseas to enable the new Department to deliver on its objectives; it is too early to say precisely what changes will be needed.

There will be no forced relocations of staff in the UK when the new Department is created, although we will be developing plans in due course to move UK-based roles out of London in line with the Government’s wider Places for Growth agenda.

Any required changes in the location of roles or staff in the UK or overseas will be handled in accordance with relevant civil service policy and guidance.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
9th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, by what date will staff employed by her Department and staff employed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have harmonised contracts as part of the proposed merger of those Departments.

Although some work had already started on aligning terms and conditions before the Machinery of Government changes were announced, it is too early to be able to say precisely when all contracts will be harmonised. As some of the changes will have financial implications, it is expected to be after the next Spending Review.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what estimate of UK gross national income she is using to calculate the 2020 Official Development Assistance budget.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), not DFID, is responsible for producing forecasts of the economy and public finances. The OBR’s latest official forecast of Gross National Income (GNI) was published on 11 March 2020 and so did not reflect the impact of COVID-19. However, we know that COVID-19 will impact the UK economy. Since our commitment to spend 0.7% of our GNI as Official Development Assistance is tied to the size of our economy, the level of ODA spend is likely to decrease this year. As with every year, we continue to work closely with HM Treasury to monitor official economic estimates and forecasts in our management of the 0.7% commitment.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what changes in internal funding allocations she has 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 impact on the UK economy. All government departments are considering how their plans need to change in light of this risk.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what the (a) status 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 (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if she will publish the budget reprofiling and repurposing for 2020-21 of each regional programme in each country office in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

DFID’s Annual Report and Accounts will be published in July and will set out baseline programme budgets for 2020/21 spend by DFID spending unit. DFID has a good record on transparency and meeting our reporting and publication requirements. We fully intend to maintain these standards.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the number of programmes with gender equality as an (a) principle and (b) objective that will have their funding reduced or terminated in response to the reduced Official Development Assistance budget in financial year 2020-21; and if she will publish that assessment.

The UK is committed to spending 0.7% of GNI on development, which is enshrined in law. This means the aid budget increases when the UK economy grows and decreases if the economy shrinks. Given the expected fall in Gross National Income this year, aid spending is under review across all departments. No decision has been taken. We are considering the full range of our work.

Whatever the final outcome of the 2020/21 financing discussions, advancing gender equality and women’s rights will remain a priority for this government.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to ensure that her Department's technical expertise on upholding women and girls' rights in development and humanitarian settings is retained by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Advancing gender equality and women’s rights are a core part of this government’s mission, and vital to fulfilling every girl’s right to 12 years of quality education. DFID and FCO already work closely together on gender equality and we will continue to draw on the skills and expertise of all colleagues in the new department to champion gender equality in international development and humanitarian crises. This is the only way we will achieve a fairer, safer and more prosperous world, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy is expected to conclude later in the year, which will define the Government’s ambition for the UK’s role in the world and its outcomes will shape the objectives of the new Department. Both the review and the merger are evidence of the Prime Minister’s commitment to a unified British foreign and development policy that will maximise our influence around the world, including on gender equality and women’s rights.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on maintaining the Strategic Vision for Gender Equality as a policy and guiding principle of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

The Secretary of State for International Development and Foreign Secretary meet regularly to discuss the vision for the new Foreign, Development and Commonwealth Office.

Advancing gender equality and women’s rights are a core part of this government’s mission, and vital to fulfilling every girl’s right to 12 years of quality education. The Government remains steadfast in its commitment to this agenda.

There is a high level of support for the Strategic Vision and DFID, FCO and other HMG teams already work closely together to realise the ambitions of the Strategic Vision. As part of the merger discussions, we will review, refresh and build on all existing strategies, as well as developing new approaches where appropriate. We do not see the core ambitions of the Strategic Vision for Gender Equality changing. The challenges for the advancement of girls’ education, sexual reproductive health and rights, women’s political empowerment, women’s meaningful participation in peace processes, women’s economic empowerment, and ending violence against women and girls, including conflict-related sexual violence, are as acute now, if not more so, as when we published the strategy in 2018.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she is taking to support departmental staff affected by the proposed merging of her Department and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

We are prioritising staff wellbeing and support during the formation of the new department. We have a well-developed offer to help staff manage their wellbeing and resilience during change. This includes learning and development, mental health support, and a dedicated welfare team. Our Trade Unions, local staff associations and employee support networks are also working hard to ensure our colleagues get the support they need.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if the Government will takes steps to ensure that no employees of her Department will be made redundant during the merger of her Department with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

There will be no compulsory redundancies for DFID employees as a result of the decision to create a new Department. Some roles may change due to business needs and any changes will be handled in compliance with relevant civil service policy and guidance or local labour law for staff appointed in county overseas.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to ensure that the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will be structured to effectively deliver on the UK's commitment under the UN Sustainable Development Goals to leave no one behind.

The UK remains committed to the Sustainable Development Goals – and to the underpinning pledge to Leave No One Behind as we strive to achieve them. The SDGs will play an important role in post-COVID-19 recovery, recognising the connection between healthy lives, healthy societies and a healthy environment. As the Prime Minister affirmed on 28 May, we owe it to future generations to build back better, basing our recovery on a fairer, greener and more resilient global economy, and to get our shared goals on track, including the Sustainable Development Goals.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, if the Government will consult the trade unions of the her Department's staff members at each stage of the merger of her Department with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

We have commenced discussions with our trade unions (PCS and FDA) and they will be consulted as we design and develop the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether a cost assessment was completed prior to the announcement of the merger of the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The Prime Minister has decided to merge the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, bringing together the best of what we do in aid and diplomacy. These changes will better align our development with our foreign policy and the broad UK national interest. It will make our development work even more effective and enable us to speak with one voice wherever we are in the world.

We 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.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether the Government remains committed to her Department's strategic vision for gender equality policy; and whether that policy will inform the wider aims of the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development department.

The Strategic Vision for Gender Equality is DFID’s guiding document on gender equality, but it reflects and responds to the UK Government ambitions on gender equality. DFID, FCO and other HMG teams already work closely together to realise the ambitions of the Strategic Vision. The Prime Minister has been clear that girls’ education is a key priority for this Government.

As part of the merger discussions, we will refresh and build on existing strategies, as well as develop new approaches. We do not see the core ambitions of the Strategic Vision for Gender Equality changing. The challenges of girls’ education, sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR), violence against women and girls (VAWG), women’s political empowerment and women’s economic empowerment are as acute now, if not more so, as when we published the strategy in 2018.


Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what proportion of Official Development Assistance will be allocated to sexual and reproductive health and rights in the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

The UK government is committed to advancing and defending comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights and will continue to be a progressive voice on this issue.

Decisions on how UK aid is spent in the future will be for the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to make, informed by the outcomes of the Integrated Review.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, which Official Development Assistance programmes are targeted at supporting women and girls; and which Department those programmes are run by.

The UK’s Gender Equality Act 2014 (an amendment to 2002 International Development Act, IDA), legally requires all overseas development funding to meaningfully consider the impact of how it will contribute to reducing gender inequality.

All ODA spend reported to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is screened against the gender equality policy marker and marked as ‘principal’ or ‘significant.’ This is a measurement of the proportion of aid that supports gender equality and women’s empowerment.

HMG’s spend on bilateral allocable activities targeting gender equality is made publicly available through the OECD statistics portal. For example, in 2018 £4.9 billion of HMG’s total bilateral spend was marked principal or significant (53%.) These are the latest figures available.

In order to ensure that our ODA spend is transparent, we publish details of international development programmes led by DFID, other government departments and partners on DevTracker.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether improving gender equality will be a priority for the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Promoting gender equality and women’s rights are a core part of this government’s mission. We will continue to champion gender equality in international development because that’s the only way we will create a fairer, safer and more prosperous world, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The FCO and DFID already work closely together and share objectives on gender equality. The Prime Minister has been clear that girls’ education is a key priority for this government.

The UK International Development Act (Gender Equality) 2014 makes a consideration of gender equality in all UK Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) a legal requirement. The Act puts our commitment to gender equality within ODA spend on a statutory footing and ensures that gender equality remains at the heart of our work.


Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, which trade unions were consulted by her Department as part of the decision to merge the Department for International Development with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

There was no formal consultation with our trade unions (PCS and FDA) prior to this decision being made. We have now commenced discussions and they will have a key role to play as we develop the new organisation.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will work to the same standards of spending transparency used by her Department.

The UK is globally recognised for its expertise and transparency in aid spending. The new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will continue to benefit from that expert knowledge as it delivers aid programmes to some of the world’s poorest people.

We are committed to improving transparency of aid globally and maintaining our high standards for overseas spending. We will continue to be accountable to parliament and to taxpayers for how we spend UK aid, and to mandate our partners to be transparent.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what additional funding her Department has allocated to programmes in Cox’s Bazar Bangladesh to (a) support the covid-19 response and (b) maintain and expand gender-based violence services in response to the prevalence of that violence in those camps.

The UK has provided an initial £11 million to support COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts in the Rohingya camps and surrounding host communities. This has been allocated to existing UN and Non-Governmental Organisation UK partners. It is also maintaining essential humanitarian services in the camps, such as shelter, food, registration and civil documentation, healthcare, water and sanitation, and hygiene.

Part of this funding is focused on ensuring critical gender-based violence and child protection services keep operating for all those who need them. For example, the UK has provided additional funding to UNFPA for gender-based violence (GBV) services, including activities disseminating anti-GBV messaging and anti-GBV role modelling activities with adolescent boys and girls.

The Rohingya Refugee response in Cox’s Bazar district has been reduced to only critical services since 8 April. While women and girls’ safe spaces are not functioning as normal (to prevent the spread of the virus), all protection services including GBV services have continued throughout. DFID officials are collaborating with UN agencies on the provision and continuity of GBV services. UN agencies have worked closely with the Bangladesh government to prepare and respond to COVID-19 in the refugee camps and ensure vital and lifesaving operations are not jeopardised.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what representations she has made to UN agencies and the Government of Bangladesh to ensure that gender-based violence (GBV) services are designated as essential in order to allow for continuity of GBV service provision in Cox’s Bazar during the covid-19 response.

The UK has provided an initial £11 million to support COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts in the Rohingya camps and surrounding host communities. This has been allocated to existing UN and Non-Governmental Organisation UK partners. It is also maintaining essential humanitarian services in the camps, such as shelter, food, registration and civil documentation, healthcare, water and sanitation, and hygiene.

Part of this funding is focused on ensuring critical gender-based violence and child protection services keep operating for all those who need them. For example, the UK has provided additional funding to UNFPA for gender-based violence (GBV) services, including activities disseminating anti-GBV messaging and anti-GBV role modelling activities with adolescent boys and girls.

The Rohingya Refugee response in Cox’s Bazar district has been reduced to only critical services since 8 April. While women and girls’ safe spaces are not functioning as normal (to prevent the spread of the virus), all protection services including GBV services have continued throughout. DFID officials are collaborating with UN agencies on the provision and continuity of GBV services. UN agencies have worked closely with the Bangladesh government to prepare and respond to COVID-19 in the refugee camps and ensure vital and lifesaving operations are not jeopardised.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment her Department has made of the level of gender-based violence in Cox’s Bazar (a) before and (b) during the covid-19 pandemic; and what plans her Department has to maintain and expand provision of services to tackle gender-based violence in response to the recent International Rescue Committee research indicating at least one in four women and girls they screen have experienced GBV.

Gender-based violence (GBV) continues to be a constant threat in refugee camps, especially to women and girls. The scale of GBV in the Rohingya camps is too high, though still not fully known. As GBV is generally underreported due to stigma and fear, the recorded cases are likely to represent only a small fraction of the overall number. However, an information management system is ensuring vital data is collected and analysed from recorded cases.

We agree with the International Rescue Committee that the international community need to expand GBV programming to address unmet needs, including prevention activities; and that these needs are likely to be exacerbated by COVID-19. The UK is the second largest donor to the Rohingya response, contributing £256 million to-date, and we play a leadership role in ensuring anti-GBV efforts are prioritised. DFID has continuously supported efforts to reduce GBV in Rohingya and also in host communities. UK aid-supported GBV activities are being implemented across 34 camps, in 35 women friendly spaces/integrated women centres, and have helped more than 12,000 individuals receive GBV case management support since 2017.

The UK has provided £11 million to support COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts in the Rohingya camps and surrounding host communities. Part of this funding is focused on ensuring critical gender-based violence and child protection services keep operating for all those who need them. For example, the UK has provided an additional £400,000 to UNFPA for GBV services, including disseminating anti-GBV messaging and anti-GBV activities with adolescent boys and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the International Rescue Committee’s report entitled The Shadow Pandemic: Gender-Based Violence amongst Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar; and what steps she is taking to ensure funding for gender-based violence services is (a) maintained and (b) increased in Cox’s Bazar.

Gender-based violence (GBV) continues to be a constant threat in refugee camps, especially to women and girls. The scale of GBV in the Rohingya camps is too high, though still not fully known. As GBV is generally underreported due to stigma and fear, the recorded cases are likely to represent only a small fraction of the overall number. However, an information management system is ensuring vital data is collected and analysed from recorded cases.

We agree with the International Rescue Committee that the international community need to expand GBV programming to address unmet needs, including prevention activities; and that these needs are likely to be exacerbated by COVID-19. The UK is the second largest donor to the Rohingya response, contributing £256 million to-date, and we play a leadership role in ensuring anti-GBV efforts are prioritised. DFID has continuously supported efforts to reduce GBV in Rohingya and also in host communities. UK aid-supported GBV activities are being implemented across 34 camps, in 35 women friendly spaces/integrated women centres, and have helped more than 12,000 individuals receive GBV case management support since 2017.

The UK has provided £11 million to support COVID-19 preparedness and response efforts in the Rohingya camps and surrounding host communities. Part of this funding is focused on ensuring critical gender-based violence and child protection services keep operating for all those who need them. For example, the UK has provided an additional £400,000 to UNFPA for GBV services, including disseminating anti-GBV messaging and anti-GBV activities with adolescent boys and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 6 May 2020 to Question 41953 on Overseas Aid: Females, whether the (a) Strategic Vision and (b) implementation plan have been amended as a result of that NAO report to enable (i) overall progress and (ii) value for money to be better assessed.

As acknowledged by the NAO, DFID’s Strategic Vision for Gender Equality is ambitious, wide-ranging and well-researched. The review also set out that our partners would value a long-term, high-level plan that includes the key milestones for DFID’s actions on gender equality between now and 2030.

We are continually challenging ourselves on how we can increase our impact and deliver even better value for money for the UK taxpayer. We will therefore take forward this recommendation on this important agenda by consulting on and publishing a high-level plan in early 2021. It is critical that we understand the emerging challenges that COVID-19 poses for women and girls globally, across all areas of our Strategic Vision, and address this in the design of the plan.

The plan will set out measurable milestones that can be tracked. We will also ensure that it is flexible enough to accommodate new priorities, challenges and opportunities at the global and country level.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, pursuant to the Answer of 27 April 2020 to Question 38888 on Bangladesh: Migrant Camps, what recent representations he has made to his Bangladeshi counterpart on changes to the telecommunications restrictions in refugee camps in Bangladesh.

The UK continues to raise this issue with the Government of Bangladesh and has requested full lifting of the telecommunications restrictions. The Minister for South Asia, Lord Ahmad, has been raising the issue of internet access in the Cox's Bazar Rohingya refugee camps with the Government of Bangladesh, including with the Bangladeshi High Commissioner in London.? The British High Commissioner in Dhaka has raised the issue on multiple occasions, including with the Bangladeshi Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Adviser.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of the recommendations on page 13 of the report entitled, The Shadow Pandemic: Gender-Based Violence among Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, published in May 2020; and if she will hold discussions with (a) the Government of Bangladesh and (b) NGOs on improving the site-management of refugee camps.

The International Rescue Committee’s report clearly highlights that despite the tireless efforts of the Government of Bangladesh and international response to scale up humanitarian assistance, women and girls continue to live with the threat of gender-based violence (GBV). We share the report’s assessment that these risks are likely to be compounded by the spread of COVID-19 and steps taken to mitigate the virus. GBV remains a major concern that requires a multi-pronged approach. This is reflected in the priorities and funding appeal of the UN-led Joint Response Plan 2020, and the complementary COVID-19 response planning.

DFID regularly engages with the Office of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission, humanitarian NGO partners and the Site Management and Development sector group to discuss how site management can be improved. This includes supporting decision-making based on community feedback and particularly the views of women and girls. This has included spotting and rectifying problems such as non-functional street lights. DFID has funded the installation of more than 29,500 street lights in the camps and host communities since 2017. Protection focal points are also embedded in the Site Management and Development sector to ensure protection issues such as GBV are taken into account.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of public-private sector partnerships for improving gender equality in developing countries.

Working with the private sector can crowd additional finance to benefit women and girls including through more productive jobs. DFID’s Work and Opportunities for Women is advising British multinational companies to secure better paid and secure work for 400,000 women in global supply chains. Our co-financing of the G20 Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative will help reach 115,000 women entrepreneurs in developing countries and mobilise additional public and private sector resources of $2.6 billion. CDC has co-led a collective commitment by the G7 Development Finance Institutions to mobilise $3 billion of public and private investments advancing gender equality in developing countries.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, whether her Department has plans to undertake a review of the Official Development Assistance it allocates to Burma.

In response to the Rohingya crisis, in 2018 DFID reviewed and reshaped its programme in Myanmar to better focus on meeting the needs of the poorest, the most malnourished and excluded. This includes doing more in conflict-affected areas and with displaced people and refugees. Across Myanmar over 6 million people benefit from UK aid. DFID Myanmar does not provide any direct financial support to the Government of Myanmar and has introduced an enhanced due diligence regime for the private sector, including asking partners to avoid working with military owned companies. Allocations for all programmes are subject to rigorous due diligence and ongoing monitoring to enhance effectiveness and strategic impact.

In 2019, DFID again conducted a full review of its strategy. This review took stock of the changing conflict dynamics across the country, including the increasing conflict in Rakhine state, and the changing political situation in the country in the run up to the anticipated 2020 election. For DFID Myanmar this has reinforced the need to focus on supporting the most vulnerable including finding more durable solutions for Myanmar’s long-term displaced population and helping to strengthen the longer-term foundations for peace, prosperity, inclusion and democracy. In the last two months DFID Myanmar have again reviewed their portfolio given COVID-19. They have prioritised supporting the health and humanitarian response, whilst addressing the possible secondary impacts on the economy, society and conflict. A cross-Whitehall discussion was convened in April to review DFID Myanmar’s plans for responding to COVID-19.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what additional funding her Department has allocated to tackling the covid-19 pandemic in relation to refugees from Burma in (a) Bangladesh and (b) Thailand.

We have allocated over £10 million to support COVID-19 preparedness efforts in the Rohingya camps and surrounding host communities in Bangladesh. This contribution has been allocated from previously announced funding and includes establishing treatment centres; distributing soap and building more handwashing structures; and producing and rolling out a range of communications tools to share vital information, including by reaching vulnerable older people with advice.

A majority of DFID’s activities on the Thai/Myanmar border are now being focused on COVID-19 preparedness and response. On the Thai/Myanmar border, we have provided an additional funding to support the work of The Border Consortium (TBC) across nine of the refugee camps. On the Myanmar side we planning to provide funding of around funding, also through TBC. The funding will be used to carry out COVID-19 awareness activities and messaging in local languages, set up of hand washing facilities, increasing the value of the food vouchers to help households cope with lockdown training front line health workers and topping up civil society emergency response. This will benefit the refugees in Thailand and IDPs in Myanmar.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what additional Official Development Assistance her Department has allocated to tackling the covid-19 pandemic in relation to internally displaced people in Burma.

DFID is monitoring the spread COVID-19 cases in Myanmar closely and have adapted programmes in response. The primary focus is on the needs of the most vulnerable especially Internally Displaced Peoples and those living in conflict affected areas. The Secretary of State has agreed an additional £10 million in humanitarian funding to reinforce humanitarian support in response to COVID-19. To help prepare the humanitarian response, DFID Myanmar are asking partners to stockpile sufficient food and medicines to ensure needs can be met in the case of future lockdowns and quarantines; rapidly expanding water and sanitation facilities in camps and surrounding villages and treating severely malnourished children. They are also expanding food supplies to support newly vulnerable groups, advocating for access to health services, and supporting social distancing measures, including through aid delivery. DFID are ensuring the protection of the most vulnerable against increased risks of trafficking and violence against women through awareness campaigns.

The UK welcomed the decision of the Government to establish a committee to coordinate the COVID-19 response with the Ethnic Armed Organisations (EAOs). The ultimate success of the committee will need to be judged on the effectiveness of the Committee in enhancing the response to COVID-19 in ethnic areas, including Rakhine State.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent discussions she has held with her Burmese counterpart on restrictions on the delivery of humanitarian aid to internally displaced people in the states of (a) Rakhine, (b) Kachin and (c) Shan.

On 1 April, Ambassadors in Yangon, including the UK Ambassador, issued a public call for a ceasefire to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid and to protect vulnerable internally displaced people from COVID-19. The UK Ambassador and DFID Country Director have actively engaged with the Myanmar Ministers and officials to raise the issue of conflict, access constraints, protection for aid workers, the internet ban and the potential impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable. On 12 May, the UK Ambassador raised the need to ensure that the most vulnerable and hardest to reach in Rakhine were included in the Burmese Government’s “no-one left behind” policy with the Minister for the State Councillor’s Office, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement.

A specific area of concern is the safety of humanitarian workers. In particular, the UK was extremely concerned by the death of a WHO driver who was shot on 20 April while transporting COVID-19 samples. On 23 April, I sent my condolences to the family of the WHO staff member and raised the need for a ceasefire in Rakhine as well as for aid workers to have access and protection. DFID will continue to work with the UN, International Committee of the Red Cross, INGO’s and civil society partners to ensure humanitarian support is provided to those who are vulnerable and most at risk, including Internally Displaces Peoples across Myanmar.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, how much and what proportion of Official Development Assistance to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh has been allocated to Rohingya community organisations in refugee camps.

Given the scale of the UK support to the Rohingya crisis, it is more effective to channel our funding through a limited number of organisations, both UN and NGOs. Our partners work with and consult thousands of Rohingya volunteers, including community organisations, women, and youth-led groups, on the COVID-19 response and in the delivery of critical services and programmes. There are, nevertheless, examples of DFID funding to community organisations such as the BRAC University Centre for Peace, which supports newly emergent Rohingya community organisations in the camps.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what support her Department is providing to Burma in relation to the parliamentary elections to be held in November 2020 in that country.

The UK Government continues to support the ongoing democratic transition in Myanmar. Having committed £7.1 million between June 2019 to July 2021 to election support. The major focus is on raising public awareness and encouraging participation in the election, with emphasis on marginalised groups and the youth – aware of the fact that there are approximately 5 million people voting for the first time in 2020. The support also aims to support civil society initiatives, including local monitoring of elections.

Around 20% of this assistance is in the form of technical assistance and advice provided by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems to the Union Electoral Commission (UEC) to enable them to effectively change laws and procedures to align with international and regional best practices, and to provide the training that will allow the UEC to work towards more credible, fair, open and inclusive elections. This support is enabling open and constructive dialogues between UEC, civil society and political parties during the critical period prior to the 2020 elections.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the humanitarian needs of the Rohingya refugees reportedly trapped on fishing trawlers in the Bay of Bengal; and what representations she has made to the Governments of Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand on providing safe refuge for those refugees.

We continue to monitor the extremely concerning reports of hundreds of Rohingya still at sea and reports of failure to disembark vessels in distress. All men, women and children on board are potentially in serious peril. We are working with UN partners, including the International Organisation for Migration and UN High Commissioner for Refugees, to provide live-saving action where possible and in particular if they are brought to shore.

The Minister for South Asia, Lord Ahmad, has raised this with the Bangladesh Foreign Minister and with the Bangladesh High Commissioner in London. In addition, the British High Commission in Dhaka have raised this issue with the Government of Bangladesh. Officials from the British Embassy in Bangkok have discussed with the Thai government the importance of the provision of humanitarian assistance to Rohingyas aboard vessels that enter Thai waters, including in the last week. The Foreign Secretary raised our concerns about the situation of the Rohingya community with the former Malaysian Foreign Minister Saifuddin Abdullah on 11 February. Our High Commission in Kuala Lumpur has also subsequently continued raised our concerns about the Rohingya community with the Malaysian Government before the COVID-19 crisis. We continue to urge the Governments of Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia and other governments in the region to assist boats carrying Rohingya refugees to land. The UK is committed to protecting the Rohingya community, some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the implications for her Department's policies of paragraph 8 of the National Audit Office report entitled, Improving the lives of women and girls overseas, published on 29 April 2020.

As acknowledged by the National Audit Office, DFID’s ambition on gender equality is high, evidence-based and widely welcomed by experts on the issue.

The development of the Strategic Vision for gender equality was informed by extensive and active consultation, taking place over 12 months. External stakeholders, including academics, civil societies and country offices were a key part of this process. For example, DFID’s Chief Scientific Adviser chaired an expert roundtable, and DFID hosted a Ministerial-led event with BOND and the Gender and Development Network, which was attended by representatives of 60-70 Civil Society Organisations.

Importantly, framing our gender equality ambition as a strategic vision has allowed DFID country offices and partners to work flexibly and adapt their work to local circumstances as informed by local expertise, in line with the Strategic Vision. We’ve had great success with this approach. DFID Sudan’s trailblazing Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) programme helped to reduce social acceptance of FGM in the country by an estimated 18% in two years. It is now being adopted by the African Union to support efforts to end FGM across the continent.

We continue to be in regular and close contact with DFID country offices and civil society. DFID has also engaged directly with key women’s funds and women’s rights organisations. Evidence from these sources is now informing our response to the coronavirus crisis. This includes providing £10 million of UK aid to the United Nations Population Fund and £20 million to the UN Children’s Fund to scale up protection and support services for women and girls.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the implications for her Department's policies of paragraph 9 of the National Audit Office report entitled, Improving the lives of women and girls overseas, published on 29 April 2020.

DFID is proud of its impact on gender equality, but is not complacent. We welcome the scrutiny of the National Audit Office (NAO) and we are considering this recommendation to further strengthen transparency and accountability on this important agenda.

The NAO rightly recognises the Department’s work to promote girls’ education, challenge child marriage, end female genital mutilation and tackle sexual violence around the world.

DFID’s Strategic Vision for Gender Equality provides a single framework to guide all decisions about DFID and cross-government policies, strategies and funding commitments relating to gender equality. Different areas of work have their own plans which are updated regularly as the global and national contexts change. DFID reviews progress across all its gender equality work, spanning all seven areas of the Strategic Vision, every six months and sets out priority actions for the next six months. This assessment of progress is presented to DFID’s Gender Equality Delivery Board, chaired at a Director level within DFID.

This approach has enabled DFID to be flexible and adaptive. It can direct its support to wherever it is needed most at any given time, including critical support to women and girls during the coronavirus crisis. It also allows flexibility to adapt to local circumstances and work with local expertise, in line with the Strategic Vision.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of the covid-19 pandemic on the provision of sexual and reproductive health services in lower income countries; and which international NGOs she is working with to minimise the effect on those services.

Evidence shows that women and girls’ sexual and reproductive rights (SRHR) are under pressure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Guttmacher Institute has estimated that a 10% decline in reproductive, maternal, new-born and child health services over the course of a year in low and low-middle income countries could lead to 49 million women with an unmet need for contraceptives and 15 million unintended pregnancies. We are tracking this and other assessments as they emerge, and are in frequent touch with our NGO and UN partners in countries to monitor the constraints and the barriers women, girls and marginalised groups may be facing as a direct or indirect impact of COVID-19.

UK leadership on sexual and reproductive health and rights is needed now more than ever. We will continue to be a progressive voice internationally on this issue, and work with our partners through the crisis so they can continue to provide SRHR services and ensure that every woman and girl can continue to realise her right to choose. For example, ‘WISH’, our regional women’s sexual & reproductive health programme, operates in 27 countries around the world, working with partners Marie Stopes International and the International Planned Parenthood Foundation. WISH is finding innovative ways to keep delivering desperately-needed services and supplies during COVID-19, while also supporting efforts to stop the spread of the disease.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what recent assessment she has made of the effect of covid-19 on her Department's Strategic Vision for Gender Equality.

DFID is proud to be a global leader on gender equality. UKaid has helped millions of women access family planning services, enabled 5.6 million girls go to school so they can realise their full potential, and supported the Africa-led movement to end FGM. The Strategic Vision for Gender Equality enables us to take a dynamic approach to maximise our impact in the face of changing global challenges. Emerging evidence from the COVID-19 crisis reinforces just how critical the priorities of the Strategic Vision remain, for example the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG) is reinforced by the worrying increase we are currently seeing in reported cases of VAWG, globally.

DFID is supporting an effective whole-of-system international response to COVID-19. This includes providing £10 million additional funding to the United Nations Population Fund and £20 million to the UN Children’s Fund to scale up protection and support services for women and girls and working with partners to encourage a gender-centred and responsive approach across the international community. This is the latest example of how the UK continues to be a progressive force for women and girls internationally.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps she has taken to ensure that existing, non-covid-19 related programmes will be continue as far as possible in the Global South; and whether the budget for those programmes will be increased in response to potential increases in capacity and logistical problems as a result of staff-sickness.

DFID programme leads are assessing the impacts of the pandemic on each of our programmes, based on their expert understanding of the delivery context. We have ensured that they have access to advice on how to adapt programmes, including extending end dates and budgets where appropriate, to recognise the challenges that COVID-19 is placing on staff and partners.

I am working with officials to ensure that we balance our support to the COVID-19 response with a need to continue other programmes that are helping deliver the Global Goals and will enable longer-term recovery through rebuilding livelihoods, economies and health systems.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what (a) representations she has made to the Bangladeshi Government and (b) assessment she has made on the effect of telecommunications restrictions in refugee camps in Bangladesh on work to reduce covid-19 infection rates in those camps.

Through Ministers and the British High Commission in Dhaka, we continue to raise the issue of telecommunications restrictions in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps in Bangladesh with representatives of the Government of Bangladesh.

Restrictions on 3G and 4G communications in the Rohingya camps are severely hindering COVID-19 preparedness. There are currently no reported cases of COVID-19 in the refugee camps in Bangladesh; however, these restrictions limit the ability of agencies to share information with the refugees and with each other; and for the Rohingya to self-organise. Good communications are critical for preparedness, surveillance, response, delivering critical services, and for maintaining stability in the camps.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to improve (a) sanitation, (b) ICU capacity and (c) emergency health care in refugee camps in Bangladesh.

With no confirmed COVID-19 cases yet in the camps, there has been intense focus on preparedness for responding to an outbreak when it occurs. This includes funding our partners to distribute soap, build more handwashing facilities, and raise awareness about personal hygiene. Temporary isolation and treatment facilities are being rapidly constructed for severe and critical cases. These will have capacity for over 1,000 beds. Community case management will be supported through existing and auxiliary health facilities in the camps. Health teams already working in the camps will be bolstered by international medical surge teams who are on standby to deploy, once flights and access are arranged.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what steps her Department is taking to take account of the views of affected (a) women and (b) elderly refugees in providing support to refugee camps in Bangladesh.

The UK prioritises the protection and safeguarding of women and the elderly in our humanitarian response to the Rohingya crisis. UK support to partners, including BRAC University Centre for Peace and Justice, BBC Media Action and Translators without Borders, provides information for the humanitarian community drawing directly on the views of Rohingya and host communities, including women and the elderly. This recently included a report sharing the concerns of older men and women about COVID-19. The UK also funds HelpAge International to work with humanitarian organisations to build their capacity to support older people and people with disabilities.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, what assessment she has made of the accuracy of reports that the covid-19 pandemic is causing a rise in gender-based violence throughout the world; and what steps her Department is taking to support women and girls in vulnerable communities facing a heightened risk of gender-based violence.

There is compelling evidence of a surge in violence against women and girls (VAWG) during the COVID-19 outbreak, which is deeply concerning. We know from our humanitarian work the importance of taking a ‘no regrets’ approach: we should assume VAWG is occurring and take action to prevent and respond to it as a lifesaving measure from the earliest stages of the response.

DFID is working across the UK government and with global partners to prevent violence and ensure women and girls have access to vital services. We have provided £10 million of UK aid to UNFPA and £20 million to UNICEF to scale up protection and support services for women and girls. We have contributed £20 million of UK aid to UNHCR’s COVID-19 response for refugees and internally displaced people. This response includes support for essential VAWG and child protection services. We launched a call for proposals under our Rapid Response Facility, which required all projects to mainstream gender, protection and safeguarding. We are also urgently reorienting existing bilateral programmes to ensure women and girls can continue to access support during the lockdown. In Nepal, for example, the UK has financed 14 Women’s and Children Service Centres and 62 One Stop Crisis Centres.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Development, with reference to the UN's warning that Gaza may be unlivable by 2020, what steps he is taking to tackle the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The UK remains deeply concerned by the situation in Gaza. In 2019/20 DFID will provide £16 million in humanitarian assistance to Gaza, which will help support the health system, including improved trauma care, and contribute to emergency food aid for around 1.2 million vulnerable people.

To help address the underlying causes of the humanitarian situation we are investing to build the capacity of Gaza’s water and energy services and to address barriers to trade. Ultimately, Gaza’s immense challenges can only be resolved with a political solution that delivers peace, stability and the easing of movement and access restrictions.

24th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 23 March 2021 to Question 171559, what steps she has taken to provide export opportunities for tuna fishermen in the Maldives through an Economic Partnership Agreement.

The Maldives is an important partner for the United Kingdom and my officials are exploring pragmatic options to promote increased trade and investment at present.

We are exploring opportunities to enhance bilateral trade with The Maldives in areas of mutual interest, such as food and drink, defence, education, health and fitness, environmental science, and sustainable development.

HM Government is exploring a range of options for collaboration in financial services and infrastructure development too, including securing green financing to aid Maldivian efforts towards cleaner, renewable energy generation.

Ranil Jayawardena
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what support she has provided to countries in the Global South that have seen their supply chains adversely affected by the covid-19 pandemic.

HM Government is working hard to keep supply chains open to ensure essential goods and services reach consumers and vulnerable livelihoods are protected. Last year, HM Government launched the Vulnerable Supply Chains Facility, which has helped over 200,000 vulnerable people working in the agriculture and garments sectors in developing countries to recover from, and remain resilient to, the impacts of Covid-19.

Moreover, we are providing opportunities for exporters from developing countries through our Economic Partnership Agreements and our Generalised Scheme of Preferences.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2020 to Question 63293 on Department for International Trade: Overseas Aid, if she will publish the programmes managed by her Department that are (a) recorded as Official Development Assistance and (b) prioritise support for women and girls.

The Department’s only Official Development Assistance (ODA) programme is the Investment Promotion Programme (IPP). In line with the Government’s transparency commitments, we will publish the full business case once finalised. This ODA programme is expected to support increased job opportunities and incomes for women and men in selected countries.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, whether her Department allocates Official Development Assistance to programmes that are targeted at supporting women and girls.

The UK’s Gender Equality Act 2014 (an amendment to 2002 International Development Act (IDA)) legally requires all overseas development funding to meaningfully consider the impact of how it will contribute to reducing gender inequality.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Chancellor of the Exchequer, (b) other Treasury Ministers and (c) officials of HM Treasury on the need for continued financial support for (i) the taxi trade and (ii) taxi drivers at risk of having their vehicles repossessed.

Throughout the pandemic, Department for Transport ministers and officials have engaged regularly with other Government departments, including the Treasury, to discuss issues faced by owners, operators and drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs).

The majority of taxi and PHV drivers are self-employed and can therefore apply for grants through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). Operators and drivers may also be eligible for other sources of support, including locally administered grant funding. An online support finder tool has been made available to help businesses and self-employed workers determine what support is available to them.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how much funding his Department has provided to Bolton Council to support low traffic neighbourhood initiatives in the last three years.

In the financial years 2018/19, 2019/20 and 2020/21 the Department provided £2,459,000 to Bolton Council through the Integrated Transport Block for small scale transport schemes, including road safety and traffic management measures. The Integrated Transport Block is not ring-fenced, allowing authorities to spend their allocations according to their own priorities.

To help local authorities make safe provision for cyclists and pedestrians during Covid-19, the Department launched a new £225 million Active Travel Fund (ATF). Bolton Council is a constituent member of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, which received £3,174,000 in Tranche 1 and £15,871,250 in Tranche 2 of the ATF. LTNs were one of the measures included in the additional Network Management Duty guidance for local authorities, which accompanied the ATF.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he has taken to progress the feasibility study for the Bolton-Bury tramline.

Through the Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund, the Department has announced funding of up to £50,000 to develop plans to extend the Metrolink to Bolton and Bury. The Department and Network Rail are providing support to Transport for Greater Manchester to conduct a feasibility study.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps is he taking to encourage local authorities to expand low traffic zones in their neighbourhoods.

Local authorities are responsible for managing traffic on their roads, including implementation of measures such as low-traffic neighbourhoods. In July 2020 the Government announced ambitious plans for cycling and walking, and committed £2 billion of funding for active travel over the next 5 years. The details are set out in the Prime Minister’s Gear Change plan and can be viewed at www.gov.uk/government/publications/cycling-and-walking-plan-for-england.

The Plan sets out a comprehensive, long term vision to increase active travel and embed the benefits of walking and cycling into how we live, work and move around. This includes the creation of new low-traffic neighbourhoods, to stop rat-running and make it easier to walk and cycle.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans the Government has to support coach (a) operators and (b) manufacturers experiencing reduced demand as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

We have announced several measures available to UK businesses, including coach operators and manufacturers, and this includes further measures announced by the Chancellor on 24 September as part of the Winter Economy Plan and support for businesses in local lockdown areas.

In addition, we are supporting coaches to be used for school transport and public transport, where appropriate. The Department for Education has provided over £70 million to local transport authorities to provide additional dedicated school and college capacity in our transport system, including coaches.

We continue to work closely with representatives from the coach sector including the Confederation of Passenger Transport, and with other Government Departments, to understand the ongoing risks and issues, including demand considerations and how these could be addressed.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what research the Government has commissioned on covid-19 transmission on public transport.

The Department for Transport has worked with a Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) sub-group to develop the Transport Risk Assessment for COVID Knowledge (TRACK) project. TRACK is an 18-month, £1.7 million UKRI-funded project to understand and model the transmission of COVID-19 on public transport. The Department has also commissioned the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory to do work on the transmission risk for aviation.

Further information can be found in a press release from the University of Leeds from the 21st October entitled "Research to understand COVID-19 spread on public transport”.

Rachel Maclean
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps he is taking to transition the self-powered train fleet from diesel to hydrogen.

The Government supports the use of hydrogen trains on the railway where appropriate to deliver our legally binding target to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from the UK by 2050.

Network Rail is developing a Traction Decarbonisation Network Strategy which will examine which parts of the network are best suited to use of hydrogen trains, as well as battery and electrification. This will inform Government decisions in 2020.

Our innovation programmes have supported the development of hydrogen technology, such as the ‘Hydroflex’ train, and continue to provide funding opportunities for innovative environmental projects. The Government is also funding work on safety and wider issues that will have to be considered to allow the smooth entry into service on the network of hydrogen trains.

7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what progress has been made on the Castleford Corridor enhancement project in central Manchester.

The Government recognises the performance and capacity problems in Manchester and therefore commissioned Richard George and Network Rail to recommend service and infrastructure options. Officials have now received the first recommendations, which they are currently considering and expect more of over the course of the next few months.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many railway (a) lines and (b) stations closed under Beeching the Government plans to bring back into service.

To help communities across the country, we have pledged £500m to start reopening lines closed following the Beeching report, reconnecting smaller towns, regenerating local economies and improving accessibility to jobs, homes and education.

Further details will be announced in due course.

Chris Heaton-Harris
Minister of State (Department for Transport)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to assist young people aged 16 to 25 to find work in Bolton.

Our 13-week Youth Employment Programme (YEP) delivers wrap-around support for many of the Plan for Jobs initiatives, and helps young people to take up work-related training or a job. This includes jobs created through the Kickstart scheme, which has seen over 180,000 job placements approved. The YEP is live and our dedicated Work Coaches are delivering the programme to young people, supporting them moving into work, a traineeship, an apprenticeship, or to take part in one of our Sector-based Work Academy Programmes.

The Jobcentre team in Bolton have partnered with a number of local employers and organisations to provide a varied network of support for young people aged 16-25 in the Bolton area, including Mentoring Circles, Sector Work Academy Programmes, Kickstart Opportunities, a Work Academy with the University of Bolton, and provision for young people that are not currently in education or employment with Bolton College and Connexions.

In addition, Bolton has two Youth Hubs, based in Westhoughton and Farnworth, providing outreach support for young people, and our Jobcentre Youth Employability Coaches are providing flexible support to young people with significant complex needs and barriers to help them move into employment and offering six weeks of in-work support when they start work.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how much Official Development Assistance her Department was allocated in the financial years (a) 2019-20 and (b) 2020-21; and what estimate her Department has made of the amount of Official Development Assistance her Department will be allocated for the financial year 2021-22.

Official Development Assistance allocations are included in the settlement letter that the department receives from Her Majesties Treasury.

The annual amount allocated to the department was £4 million in 2019/20; £6.1 million in 2020/21 and; £6.1million for 2021/22.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the economic effect on disabled people of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is committed to supporting disabled people affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people using existing and new data sources.

The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work has had discussions with charities, disabled people's organisations and individuals to understand the range of experiences disabled people have had during the COVID-19 pandemic and to identify the support needed as lockdown restrictions are eased.

We are ensuring that disabled people continue to have access to disability benefits, food, medicines, essentials, accessible communications, updated guidance, including workplace and transport related guidance, as well as financial and other support during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The Government continues to provide disability employment support through initiatives such as Access to Work, Disability Confident, the Work and Health Programme, Intensive Personalised Employment Support, and other forms of support that disabled people need to retain, adapt and move into employment.

The Cabinet Office Disability Unit works with disability stakeholders and across Government Departments to ensure that the needs of disabled people are considered in the UK Government’s response to COVID-19. We are clear that consideration of equality impacts must be integral in all key policy decisions. All equality and discrimination laws and obligations continue to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will publish the National Strategy for Disabled People taking into account the impacts of the pandemic on disabled people. The Strategy will focus on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects and phases of life.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Education on trends in the level of food insecurity among children since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

This Government is committed to supporting the most vulnerable in society. The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions engages regularly with her counterparts, including the Secretary of State for Education.

Secretaries of State will continue to talk across government to ensure all the levers available are used to tackle poverty, including for the most disadvantaged children and families. The Department for Environment and Rural Affairs also established a cross-government Task Force on Food and Other Essential Supplies for Vulnerable People.

We have taken unprecedented action to support and protect jobs, with over 9.5 million people having been supported through the furlough scheme. The Department for Work and Pensions quickly introduced a package of support, including welfare changes worth £9.3bn this year to help people with the financial consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Government established a £500m local authority hardship fund to protect people, by banning evictions, securing mortgage holidays and helping with energy bills. It has provided a further £63m to local authorities in England for their Welfare Assistance schemes to help those families struggling to afford food and other essentials.

Will Quince
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether her Department allocates Official Development Assistance to any programmes that are targeted at supporting women and girls.

The information is not available. DWP’s ODA spend has no initiatives targeted specifically at women and girls.

Justin Tomlinson
Minister of State (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to (a) assess the effect of air pollutants on the health of drive-through workers and (b) work with employers, employees and trade unions to ensure that steps are taken protect those workers from the effect of air pollutants.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is not currently undertaking any specific steps to assess the effect of air pollutants on the health of drive-through workers.

There is a robust regulatory framework in place to protect workers from exposure to hazardous substances as a result of work activities, including airborne contaminants. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 require employers to prevent or control employee exposure to hazardous substances at work, so far as is reasonably practicable. The Regulations are supported by Workplace Exposure Limits (WELS) for substances hazardous to health including Nitrogen Monoxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide and Sulphur Dioxide, that are also known airborne contaminants.

Tackling occupational lung disease (OLD) as a result of workplace exposure to hazardous substances is one of HSE’s health priorities. HSE works with a broad range of stakeholders including trade associations, employers, trade unions, third sector and professional bodies to reduce the incidence rate of OLD.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how regularly he reviews the covid-19 red list travel status for Pakistan.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will publish the methodology for placing Pakistan on the red list for travel.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what estimate he has made of the number of families unexpectedly affected financially by the change to Pakistan's covid-19 travel status.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment has he made of the potential effect of Pakistan's red list travel status on the British-Pakistani community.

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

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent progress has been made on increasing access to NHS dentistry.

The Department is working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Chief Dental Officer for England to increase levels of service, as fast as is safely possible. On 29 March we announced that the threshold for full National Health Service contractual payment would be raised to 60% of normal activity, whilst keeping in place income protection for practices where infection control is particularly challenging. We continue to explore what more can be done to increase capacity including piloting pre-appointment testing.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what changes are being made to the Overseas Registration Exam used to assess the dental qualifications of dentists who are trained outside the EEA.

The Department is working with the General Dental Council on legislative proposals which will allow it greater flexibility to expand and improve on the registration options open to international applicants, which includes the Overseas Registration Exam. We aim to launch a public consultation on these proposals later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what his Department’s plans are for reducing bureaucracy in dentistry by giving the General Dental Council more discretion to assess the qualifications of overseas dentists in line with the powers used by the General Medical Council.

The Department is working with the General Dental Council on legislative proposals which will allow it greater flexibility to expand and improve on the registration options open to international applicants, which includes the Overseas Registration Exam. We aim to launch a public consultation on these proposals later this year.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he plans to introduce changes to the Unit of Dental Activity targets in the next financial quarter.

Contractual arrangements for the first six months of the 2021/22 financial year have been introduced by NHS England and NHS Improvement. The revised unit of dental activity threshold set at 60% is based on data that indicates practices may now have capacity to safely achieve more dental activity. Arrangements will be monitored on a monthly basis and are expected to be in place for six months in order to provide increased stability for dental practices. National Health Service commissioners have the discretion to make exceptions, for instance in cases where a dental practice has been impacted by staff being required to self-isolate.

The Department will work with the British Dental Association and NHS England and NHS Improvement who will lead the next stage of dental contract reform. This will involve designing implementable proposals that address the key challenges facing the delivery of NHS dentistry and will encourage a more preventative approach to dentistry.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether additional funding has been allocated to children and adolescent mental health services in (a) Bolton and (b) England as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

Information on any additional funding allocated to children and young people’s mental health services serving Bolton is not held centrally. On 5 March 2021 the Government announced £79 million of additional funding for children and young people’s mental health. This will be used to significantly expand children’s mental health services in England and will allow around 22,500 more children and young people to access community health services and 2,000 more children and young people to access eating disorder services.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to address the potential shortages of dentists.

The interim NHS People Plan commits to addressing shortages within the dental workforce. Through the Advancing Dental Care Education and Training Review programme, Health Education England is considering how dental and oral health needs can be best met through changes to the workforce. This includes exploring opportunities for flexible training pathways to improve retention. NHS England and NHS Improvement are also working with the profession and the British Dental Association to assess how the whole dental team may be better utilised to enable dentists to free up capacity and increase access.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to restore the provision of in-person GP appointments.

General practice is open and has been throughout the pandemic, and people should continue to access services by phone, online or in person. The way in which people can access general practice services during COVID-19 has changed. Practices are offering more triage and remote consultations, video and online, to see as many patients as possible while protecting staff and patients from avoidable risk of infection. Practices continue to undertake routine and preventative work including vaccinations and immunisations and screening, as well as supporting their more high-risk patients with ongoing care needs.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have issued guidance on the importance of continuing to offer face to face appointments, utilising remote triage, making use of online and telephone consultations where appropriate, whilst considering the needs of those unable to access or engage with digital services. On 7 January 2021 NHS England and NHS Improvement set out further details on the actions to release capacity in general practice as well as priorities for the next quarter. This includes maintaining routine appointments, supporting the clinically extremely vulnerable and those with ‘long’ COVID-19, and continuing to make progress in the backlog of appointments.

General practice appointment levels are now close to pre-pandemic numbers. In February 2021, an estimated 23.5 million appointments were booked in general practice in England - an average of 1.19 million per working weekday to 1.24 million appointments per working weekday in February 2020. In February 2021, 13 million appointments were face to face, which is 55.3% of all appointments.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of recognising dental qualifications of dental schools outside the EU.

The Department is working with the General Dental Council on legislative proposals which will allow it greater flexibility to expand and improve on the registration options open to international applicants. We aim to launch a public consultation on these proposals later this year

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of increasing the number of places available on dentistry courses in UK dental schools.

We have record numbers of dental students in training. As at November 2020 there were 2,667 dental students - 28.9% more since 2010. In addition, in England, the Government temporarily lifted the cap on dental school places for students who completed A-Levels in 2020 and who had an offer from a university in England to study dentistry, subject to their grades. This ensured a place in 2020 or 2021 for every eligible student and meant that the overall number of domestic training places available for those applying to a dental school for the 2021/22 academic year remains unchanged.

The Government currently has no plans to increase the number of funded dental school places beyond this. However, we are committed to ensuring that the number of places reflect England’s workforce requirements and continues to monitor current arrangements. The provision of dentistry training places in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales is a matter for each devolved administration.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure that dental surgeries can reopen safely for a full range of treatments before 21 June 2021.

Dentistry has been particularly affected by the risk of COVID-19 transmission due to the number of aerosol generating procedures carried out. This has resulted in the need for an enhanced level of personal protective equipment and reduced throughput to allow for thorough cleaning and resting of rooms between patients, as set out in Public Health England’s Infection Prevention and Control guidance.

The Department is working closely with NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Chief Dental Officer for England to increase levels of service, as fast as is safely possible. We have been closely monitoring what has been possible and on 29 March announced that the threshold for full National Health Service contractual payment would be raised to 60% of normal activity. We continue to explore what more can be done to increase capacity including piloting pre-appointment testing.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to support people with dementia in Bolton who are living in (a) the community and (b) care homes.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have advised that Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group individually assesses the needs of service users with dementia and that they are supported to remain in their own homes for as long as possible. During the pandemic we have enhanced that support by providing evidence based guidance on how best to manage or mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on people living with dementia in care homes and in the community. We have also funded the Alzheimer’s Society and the Race Equality Foundation to provide practical and tailored advice and support.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, by how much has funding allocated to mental health budgets been reduced over the last 10 years.

We do not hold financial data in the format requested prior to 2015/16.

Investment in National Health Service mental health services has been increasing over the years for which data are available. In 2015/16, expenditure on mental health including learning disabilities and dementia by clinical commissioning groups and NHS England and NHS Improvement was £11 billion. In 2019/20, this had risen to £13.3 billion. We are continuing to invest in expanding and transforming mental health services through the NHS Long Term Plan, with funding rising by an additional £2.3 billion a year by 2023/24.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the change in the level of funding allocated to the mental health support budget for Bolton has been since 2010.

The information requested is not collected centrally.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether he undertook an assessment of the potential effect on mental health of closing gyms during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government considers the impact of any new restrictions including the potential impact on mental health, against the risk to public health.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many and what proportion of covid-19 vaccinations administered each day are administered in Bolton South East constituency.

The data is not held in the format requested. However, NHS England publishes daily data for vaccinations in England, showing the total first and second doses given to date, by region. NHS England also publish the number of vaccinations in each United Kingdom constituency by age group, updated weekly. The data is available at the following link:

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

Nadhim Zahawi
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much Official Development Assistance his Department was allocated in the financial years (a) 2019-20 and (b) 2020-21; and what estimate his Department has made of the amount of Official Development Assistance his Department will be allocated for the financial year 2021-22.

The information requested is shown in the following table:

Year

£ million

2019-20

289

2020-21

273

2021-22

207

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will set out a timetable for implementing the recommendations of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review.

All recommendations of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review are being considered carefully. The Government will provide an update in 2021.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to the correspondence from the hon. Member for Bolton South East of 15 July 2020 on the implementation of the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review.

I replied to the hon. Member’s letter on 26 November 2020.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, when he plans to respond to Question 89666, on Coronavirus: Bolton, tabled on 14 September 2020 by the hon. Member for Bolton South East.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer to Question 89666 of 12 November.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what discussions she has had with the Chancellor on the economic effect of the Winter Economy Plan on (a) women, (b) disabled people and (c) BAME people.

The Government economic support schemes provide support to the most vulnerable, including those employed in sectors that employ disproportionately large numbers of women, people from some ethnic minorities, and the young. The Job Support Scheme and Job Support Scheme Expansion are particularly important to help these groups that are at a higher risk of unemployment.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on allocating additional resources for mental health support within schools.

I have met several times in recent months with the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Children and Families (Vicky Ford MP) to discuss how health and education can work together to support children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing as schools reopened.

We remain committed to investing at least £2.3 billion of extra funding a year into all-age mental health services by 2023-24, meaning an additional 345,000 children and young people accessing support through National Health Service-funded services or school- and college-based mental health support teams, if they need them.

The Department for Education’s £8 million Wellbeing for Education Return programme will also provide schools and colleges all over England with the knowledge and access to resources they need to support children and young people, teachers and parents.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the continuation of services for cancer patients during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Cancer Recovery Taskforce is overseeing the development of the cancer recovery plan and reviewing progress against objectives including considering any impact of a second wave of COVID-19. The plan will be published shortly. The Taskforce met for the first time in September and will continue to do so on a monthly basis. Membership of the Taskforce is drawn from across the cancer community to coordinate and share expertise and ultimately enable progress towards the successful recovery of cancer services.

NHS England and NHS Improvement’s priorities for recovering cancer services are increasing urgent cancer referrals, reducing the number of patients waiting longer than 62 and 104 days for treatments or diagnostics, and ensuring capacity is in place for patients returning to the system in winter.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many covid-19 tests were conducted at the new Bolton mobile testing sites at (a) New Bury and (b) Last Drop Village on (i) 11, (ii) 12, (iii) 13 and (iv) 14 September 2020.

The Department does not publish this data in this format.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department has taken to support the mental health of (a) doctors and (b) dentists during the covid-19-outbreak.

We recognised there would be a need for additional mental health support for all National Health Service staff and commissioned NHS England and NHS Improvement to develop a comprehensive emotional, psychological and practical support package for all NHS staff.

A support package was launched on 8 April 2020 and includes a helpline and text service for counselling and support, a dedicated bereavement helpline and a range of wellbeing apps. All the support available is free and can be accessed via the following link:

https://people.nhs.uk/help/

The health and wellbeing of NHS staff is of vital importance. ‘We are the NHS: People Plan 2020/21’, published on 30 July, sets out further action that will be taken to support staff health and wellbeing.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 9 July 2020 to Question 63291 on Department of Health and Social Care: Overseas Aid, if he will list the Official Development Assistance funded programmes run by his Department which focus on supporting women and girls; what the budget was for each of those programmes in (a) 2017-18, (b) 2018-19, (c) 2019-20; and what the projected budgets are for 2020-21.

The Department of Health and Social Care is tackling our most pressing global health challenges through our Official Development Assistance (ODA) funded programmes: Global Health Research, Global Health Security and Tobacco Control. We do not have a specific budget line for women and girls as they are indirect beneficiaries of all our programmes, which are aimed at improving the lives of the poorest people living in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in support of Sustainable Development Goal 3 on Good Health and Wellbeing.

In direct support of health issues affecting women and girls, the Department of Health and Social Care has committed up to £36 million to high-quality research projects which address reproductive, maternal and neonatal health in LMICs, through its Global Health Research Programme.

All UK Aid spend is published by the Department for International Development in the form of Statistics on International Development and is available on GOV.UK. Fuller details of the Department of Health and Social Care’s global health research funding portfolio are available on the NIHR website at the following link:

www.nihr.ac.uk/globalhealth

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department allocates Official Development Assistance to any programmes that are targeted at supporting women and girls.

To address the most pressing global health challenges, the Department is delivering Official Development Assistance programmes which hugely benefit women and girls, both directly and indirectly.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to potential increases in demand for mental health services as a result of the covid-19 outbreak, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of Government funding for those services.

The Government and the National Health Service recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to lead to the onset of new mental health difficulties as well as exacerbating existing problems, creating additional demand on services. Mental health services will therefore need to adapt to ensure appropriate and timely service levels to meet people’s needs.

We are working with the NHS and Public Health England, service users, academics and the voluntary sector to gather evidence and assess the potential longer-term mental health impacts of COVID-19 and plan for how to support the public’s mental health and wellbeing throughout the ‘recovery’ phase.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the extent of staff shortages in the NHS mental health workforce; and what steps his Department is taking to tackle those shortages.

Expanding the mental health workforce is a key priority for the Government. We understand the need to get the right workforce in place to deliver our ambitious commitments to transform mental health services and, most importantly, achieve better outcomes for the people we are here to serve.

Our interim NHS People Plan set out immediate actions we will take to fill vacancies and secure the staff we need for the future – including addressing pensions tax concerns, increasing university clinical placements for all nursing specialities by over 5,000 more and bolstering the workforce through greater international recruitment.

In response to ‘Stepping forward to 2020/21: The mental health workforce plan for England’, the overall mental health workforce has grown by over 6,000 individuals since March 2017.

Nadine Dorries
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether the Government plans to bring forward legislative proposals to ban smoking at the entrances of public buildings.

The Government has a track record of reducing the harm caused by tobacco. The United Kingdom is a world leader and has been rated the best in Europe on tobacco control by independent experts.

The Health Act 2006 and the Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006 made it illegal to smoke in public enclosed or substantially enclosed areas and workplaces. We support development and implementation of smoke-free policies locally in and around public premises.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of bringing forward legislative proposals to ban smoking at the entrances of public buildings.

The Government has a track record of reducing the harm caused by tobacco and the United Kingdom is considered a world leader in tobacco control. We have been rated the best in Europe on tobacco control by independent experts. However, we are not complacent: tobacco legislation is kept under review to ensure it continues to protect the public’s health.

Jo Churchill
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 19 April 2021 to Question 175792 on Myanmar: Rohingya, what further representations he has made in addition to those set out in that Answer to his Burmese counterparts on the recent (a) coup and (b) military and civilian violence in Myanmar.

The UK is clear in its condemnation of the coup and the appalling violence which has left 750 people dead. We continue to call publicly for a return to democracy and the release of all those in arbitrary detention, including democratically elected politicians, journalists, civil society and foreign nationals.

We have secured strong statements at the G7 and UN Security Council, including a Presidential Statement which condemned the violence and called for respect for the democratic transition and human rights. We will continue to work with partners to apply pressure on the military junta.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, which countries are included within his Department's definition of the Indopacific and South Asia region.

The Indo-Pacific Directorate-General in the FCDO has lead responsibility for relations with the following countries and territories: India and Indian Ocean (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka), North East Asia (China, Hong Kong, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea (DPRK), South Korea (RoK), Taiwan), South East Asia (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, Vietnam) and Oceania (Australia, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu). There is close coordination with other departments leading work on neighbouring countries, especially Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will bring forward policy proposals on exporting surplus UK covid-19 vaccine supplies to India (a) to help tackle the third wave of the outbreak of that virus in that country and (b) in response to recent reports of increases in covid-19 infections, deaths and hospitalisations in that country.

It has not proved possible to respond to the Hon Member in the time available before Prorogation

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the reduction in official development assistance on the logistics, delivery and rollout of a covid-19 vaccine in (a) Afghanistan, (b) India, (c) Nepal, (d) Pakistan and (e) Bangladesh.

The UK is committed to rapid equitable access to safe and effective vaccines, committing £548 million to the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), which is the international initiative to support global equitable access to vaccines, of which the UK is among the largest donors.

As the Foreign Secretary set out via Written Ministerial Statement (WMS) to Parliament, global health security remains a priority for UK aid. The FCDO will spend £1,305 million on global health, focusing on the UK's position at the forefront of the international response to COVID-19 through our commitments to COVAX, Gavi, and the WHO. One third of bilateral FCDO Official Development Assistance (ODA) will be spent in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia in support of our deeper engagement in that region. We are now working through what this means for individual programmes, in line with the priorities outlined in the WMS.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect the reduction in Overseas Development Assistance on (a) vital programming, (b) NGO ground presence and (c) the experience of in-country staff to delivery programming in (i) Afghanistan, (ii) India, (iii) Nepal, (iv) Pakistan and (v) Bangladesh.

We have prioritised our aid to be more strategic and remain a force for good across the world. As the Foreign Secretary set out via Written Ministerial Statement to Parliament, one third of FCDO bilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) will be spent in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia, in support of our deeper engagement in the region.

The portfolio agreed by the Foreign Secretary will focus our investment and expertise on issues where the UK can make the most difference and achieve maximum strategic coherence, impact, and value for money. We will now work through what this means for individual programmes, in line with the priorities we have identified. Following the move to 0.5% FCDO Ministers engaged with UK civil society, and we will continue to listen to feedback from them on the plan set out. We are monitoring the impacts on supply partners very closely. In-country staff continue to play a vital role in programme delivery, with local presence and knowledge contributing to the success of our programmes.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect the reduction in Overseas Development Assistance on humanitarian and health programming for refugee and internally displaced communities in (a) Afghanistan, (b) India, (c) Nepal, (d) Pakistan and (e) Bangladesh.

Global health security and responding to humanitarian crises remain two of our priorities for UK aid. The FCDO will spend £906 million on humanitarian preparedness and response, with a £30 million crisis reserve to enable us to respond rapidly to new crises, and £1,305 million on global health. As the Foreign Secretary set out via Written Ministerial Statement to Parliament, one third of FCDO bilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) will be spent in the Indo-Pacific and South Asia, in support of our deeper engagement in the region.

The portfolio agreed by the Foreign Secretary will focus our investment and expertise on issues where the UK can make the most difference and achieve maximum strategic coherence, impact, and value for money. We will now work through what this means for individual programmes, in line with the priorities we have identified.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in (a) India, (b) Bangladesh, (c) Pakistan, (d) Afghanistan, (e) Nepal, in relation to the official development assistance budgets for 2021-22.

We have prioritised our aid to be more strategic and remain a force for good across the world. Following a thorough review, the FCDO's aid budget has been allocated in accordance with UK strategic priorities against a challenging financial climate of COVID. Now the process is complete, we will work with our host countries, international partners and supply chains to deliver the budget changes set out in the Foreign Secretary's Written Ministerial Statement to Parliament.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish the proposed Official Development Assistance budgets for (a) Afghanistan, (b) Nepal, (c) Pakistan, (d) India and (e) Bangladesh for 2021-22.

Official Development Assistance budgets per country for 2021/22, along with final audited spend for 2020/21 will be published in the Annual Report and Accounts in due course.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish an impact assessment of the changes to the official development assistance budgets for (a) India, (b) Bangladesh, (c) Afghanistan, (d) Nepal and (e) Pakistan for 2021-22.

All posts were asked to consider any impact on women and girls, the most marginalised and vulnerable, people with disabilities and people from other protected groups, when developing advice to Ministers. Standalone country-specific impact assessments were not produced.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish the proposed official development assistance budget for 2021-22.

A Written Ministerial Statement setting out Official Development Assistance allocations to Government departments was laid on 26 January 2021 (HCWS735).

A further Written Ministerial Statement setting out the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office thematic and regional allocations was laid on 21 April 2021 (HCWS935).

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the Written Statement of 21 April 2021, HCWS935 on UK Official Development Assistance departmental allocations 2021-22, if he will publish the details of the thematic areas into which girls' education can be broken down.

The Foreign Secretary laid a statement before the House of Commons on 21 April 2021, which sets out how he is directing the FCDO's aid portfolio this year. He announced that the FCDO will spend £400 million on girls' education, investing directly in over 25 countries, which will help achieve the global target to get 40 million girls into education. FCDO will now work through what this means for individual programmes, in line with the priorities outlined.

Official Development Assistance (ODA) is reported on a calendar year basis. The FCDO's National Statistics publication, 'Statistics on International Development' next year will contain detailed breakdowns of the UK's ODA spend for 2021, including an activity level dataset. FCDO publishes regular open data through the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). This operational data covers current live programmes, and will include 2021 spend once business planning is concluded. The raw data can be accessed at the IATI Registry and is shown on the Development Tracker website: https://devtracker.fcdo.gov.uk/

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish his Department's Official Development Assistance budget where gender equality is an important objective of the project for (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (c) 2017, (d) 2018, (e) 2019 and (f) 2020.

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO's) ODA spend, including that on gender equality activities and past spend, is made publicly available through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) statistics portal. All ODA spend is screened against the OECD 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.

The latest figures available (2019) show that approximately 68 per cent of the former Department for International Development (DFID) and the former Foreign & Commonwealth Office's (FCO) total bilateral spend was marked principal or significant. This equates to £5.2 billion. Figures for previous years are also available on the OECD statistics portal. The 2020 figures have not yet been released. Advancing gender equality and women's and girls' rights are a core part of this Government's mission and we remain steadfast in our commitment to this agenda. The UK's Gender Equality Act 2014, legally requires all overseas development funding to meaningfully consider the impact of how it will contribute to reducing gender inequality.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish the Official Development Assistance his Department disbursed where gender equality was the main objective of that assistance for the financial years (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (c) 2017, (d) 2018, (e) 2019 and (f) 2020.

FCDO's ODA spend, including that on gender equality activities and past spend, is made publicly available through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) statistics portal. All ODA spend is screened against the OECD 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.

The latest figures available (2019) show that approximately 68 per cent of the former Department for International Development (DFID) and the former Foreign & Commonwealth Office's (FCO) total bilateral spend was marked principal or significant. This equates to £5.2 billion. Figures for previous years are also available on the OECD statistics portal. The 2020 figures have not yet been released. Advancing gender equality and women's and girls' rights are a core part of this Government's mission and we remain steadfast in our commitment to this agenda. The UK's Gender Equality Act 2014, legally requires all overseas development funding to meaningfully consider the impact of how it will contribute to reducing gender inequality.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish the Official Development Assistance his Department disbursed to fragile and conflict affected states for the financial years (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (c) 2017, (d) 2018, (e) 2019 and (f) 2020.

All ODA spending is published in the Statistics on International Development (SID). The SID National Statistics report, published on the gov.uk website, provides an overview of all official UK spend on Official Development Assistance (ODA). This includes breakdowns by country and sector. UK ODA figures for 2020 will be published in Autumn 2021, via Statistics on International Development: Final UK Aid Spend 2020.

The SID publishes a country total for each of the Fragile and Conflict-Affected States (FCAS) states, but does not produce a total figure for FCAS states. Historically, DFID has spent over 50% of its ODA in fragile states. The most up to date published data on DFID ODA spend in fragile and conflict affected states is available on the government page for DFID results (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dfid-results-estimates-2015-to-2020). Supporting the development of fragile states will remain a priority for FCDO.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish the official development assistance budgets for education projects throughout the world that did not target gender equality, for the financial years (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (c) 2017, (d) 2018, (e) 2019, and (f) 2020.

UK aid activities are reported to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and 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.

UK ODA spend on bilateral allocable activities is made publicly available through the OECD statistics portal. Figures for total UK Bilateral ODA spend on Education, not specifically gender equality marked as "Principal" or Significant", by year up to 2019, can be found via the portal. Figures for 2020 are not available as yet.

Advancing gender equality and women's and girls' rights are a core part of this Government's mission and we remain steadfast in our commitment to this agenda. The UK's Gender Equality Act 2014 (an amendment to 2002 International Development Act, IDA), legally requires all overseas development funding to meaningfully consider the impact of how it will contribute to reducing gender inequality.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish the Official Development Assistance his Department disbursed where supporting family planning was the main objective of that assistance for the financial years (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (c) 2017, (d) 2018, (e) 2019 and (f) 2020.

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) official aid spend disaggregated by sector code for 2018 and 2019 can be found in the Statistics on International Development: Final UK Aid Spend 2019 pilot table at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/967648/SID_Pilot_Tables.ods

For previous years please refer to the Statistics on International Development: UK Gross Public Expenditure (GPEX) publication at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/statistics-on-international-development-uk-gross-public-expenditure-gpex

FCDO spend on family planning for 2020 will be available in Autumn 2021

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish the Official Development Assistance his Department disbursed to Pakistan for the financial years (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (c) 2017, (d) 2018, (e) 2019 and (f) 2020.

Since 2015, the UK Government disbursed the following amount of Overseas Development assistance in Pakistan: £374 million in 2015, £463 million in 2016, £402 million in 2017, £331 million in 2018 and £305 million in 2019. 2020 figures are being finalised.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish the Official Development Assistance his Department disbursed to Bangladesh for the financial years (a) 2015, (b) 2016, (c) 2017, (d) 2018, (e) 2019 and (f) 2020.

Bilateral Official Development Assistance (ODA) provided to Bangladesh by the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office - the predecessors of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, which was formed in September 2020 - between 2015 and 2019 are set out in the table below.

Bilateral ODA (million)

Year

DFID

FCO

Total DFID + FCO

2015

£157.5

£5.5

£163.0

2016

£143.7

£4.1

£147.8

2017

£167.1

£5.0

£172.1

2018

£183.2

£3.4

£186.6

2019

£242.2

£9.0

£251.2

ODA figures are published annually, in Statistics for International Development. Figures for 2020 will be published in Autumn 2021.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the impact of fires in refugee camps in Cox's Bazar on the humanitarian situation of refugees.

The UK government is very concerned by the impact on Rohingya refugees of the large fire that took place on 22 March in the Kutapalong refugee camp.

A UN-led joint needs assessment found that 48,300 people were directly affected, with over 10,000 households left without shelter. At least 11 refugees are thought to have died, with over 500 injured. The fire damaged distribution, nutrition and learning centres, water and sanitation infrastructure, and medical facilities. UK Aid provided food, water, sanitation, shelter, and support for medical and camp management teams who coordinated the response. UK Aid has brought in an additional 10,000 tarpaulins for the rehabilitation of shelters.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to make representations to the Government of China on the arrest of (a) Carol Ng and (b) 52 other pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.

We remain deeply concerned about the targeting of politicians and activists in Hong Kong, and are following these cases closely. The apparent focus of the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities seems now to be retribution against political opposition and silencing of dissent. We continue to raise our concerns directly with the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities, including this week with senior members of the Hong Kong Government. We urge the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities to respect the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Joint Declaration. In addition, an official from the UK Consulate-General attended the Magistrates Court hearing on 1 March for Carole Ng and others.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make representations to his counterpart in Myanmar to release unconditionally and drop all charges against (a) opposition government figures, (b) activists and (c) human rights defenders.

The arbitrary detention of thousands of people, as well as credible reports of torture are deeply concerning. It is essential that all those arbitrarily detained, are released. We condemn the politically motivated charges against those who are protesting against the coup.

I [Minister Adams] formally summoned the Myanmar Ambassador twice and stressed that State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and others who had been arbitrarily detained should be released. We have used our Presidencies of both the G7 and the UN Security Council to secure strong statements which re-iterated these points.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations he has made to his counterpart in Myanmar on the reported use of excessive force against peacefully protesters following arrests of opposition leaders in that country.

The UK is appalled at the actions of the military in killing its own people. The killing of children, many in their own homes, is abhorrent. The violent crackdown on peaceful protestors is completely unacceptable and requires a strong message from the international community. The people's right to a peaceful protest should be respected. We urge the military to exercise utmost restraint and respect human rights and international law.

We continue to shine a spotlight on the actions of the military on the international stage, including through the UN Security Council and the G7. I [Minister Adams] have twice summoned the Myanmar Ambassador to register concern at the coup and the violent actions by the military.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what further steps the (a) Government and (b) UN are planning to take in response to human rights abuses in the Xinjiang Province of China against the Uyghur Muslims.

The government remains gravely concerned by the human rights situation in Xinjiang and is committed to continued robust action to hold China to account for its human rights violations in the region. In February, the Foreign Secretary used a personal address at the UN Human Rights Council to reiterate his call for China to allow the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, or another independent expert, urgent and unfettered access to Xinjiang. On 22 March, the Foreign Secretary announced that the UK had imposed, under the UK's Global Human Rights sanctions regime, asset freezes and travel bans against four senior Chinese government officials responsible for the violations that have taken place and persist against the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. Alongside those individuals, the UK also designated the Public Security Bureau of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, the organisation responsible for enforcing the repressive security policies across many areas of Xinjiang.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the human rights situation of Uighur children in China in the context of reports of the forced separation of exiled families and children, highlighted in the recent Amnesty International report, entitled China: The Nightmare of Uyghur Families Separated by Repression.

We are deeply concerned by reports of the mistreatment of Uyghur children, including reports of children being forcibly separated from their parents and placed in state run institutions. The Government has taken careful note of Amnesty International's report of 19 March 2021 and will continue to engage with a range of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and other experts, to inform our understanding of the situation in Xinjiang and guide policy development. We will also continue to take action to hold China to account for its human rights violation in Xinjiang, working closely with international partners. On 22 March, the Foreign Secretary announced that the UK has imposed, under the UK's Global Human Rights sanctions regime, asset freezes and travel bans against four senior Chinese government officials responsible for the violations that have taken place and persist against the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. Alongside those individuals, the UK also designated the Public Security Bureau of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, the organisation responsible for enforcing the repressive security policies across many areas of Xinjiang.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the (a) political situation in Myanmar following the recent coup and (b) effect of that coup on the Rohingya population.

We are monitoring political and security developments in Myanmar daily. The UK condemns the coup and the appalling violence which has left over 700 dead. We call for a return to democracy and the release of all those in arbitrary detention, including democratically elected politicians, journalists, civil society and foreign nationals.

The UK remains strongly committed to helping those most in need in Myanmar. We will continue to provide humanitarian support to the Rohingya and other vulnerable and conflict-affected populations. We are in close contact with networks on the ground in Rakhine to monitor risks of atrocities, human rights violations and deterioration in the humanitarian and health situation in camps and villages. We continue to raise the plight of the Rohingya on the international stage, most recently in the UN Security Council Presidential Statement agreed on 10 March.

The UK has also imposed sanctions on two key military linked conglomerates that fund the military's campaign of serious human rights violations, and on nine senior military figures, including the Commander in Chief. We are clear that targeted sanctions send a clear message to the military that we react robustly to serious human rights violations

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of a reported fire in cox bazar on Rohingya refugees.

The UK government is gravely concerned by the impact on Rohingya refugees of the large fire that took place on Monday 22 March in the Kutapalong refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. A number of refugees have lost their lives and others have been injured, although the numbers have yet to be verified. Others have been separated from their families, including children. A large number of shelters have been damaged affecting around 40,000 refugees on current estimates. Services including health facilities, community centres, food distribution points and learning centres have been badly damaged and in some cases completely destroyed. We are closely monitoring the impacts of the fire and are working alongside the UN and our implementing partners to fully understand the scale of the needs and how we can support the refugees' most immediate needs.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will publish the planned country-specific Official Development Assistance spend for 2021-22.

FCDO Ministers are currently working with department officials to finalise ODA budget allocations for the next financial year. No final decisions have been made. We are committed to improving transparency of aid globally and maintaining our high standards for overseas spending. We do that through publication of quality and accessible information on our aid programmes, available on Devtracker.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his UN counterparts ahead of the UN delegation to Bhasan Char on (a) habitability, (b) the covid-19 pandemic and (c) access to education.

The UK Government is in regular dialogue with the UN, our international Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) partners and with the Government of Bangladesh on the Rohingya response in Bangladesh, including on Bhasan Char. We continue to support the UN position that independent, full and detailed technical and protection assessments are needed to evaluate the safety and sustainability of living on Bhasan Char. We are pleased that these assessments began on 16 March. Through the British High Commission in Dhaka, we regularly engage with the UN Resident Co-ordinator and Heads of UN agencies on Bhasan Char. We also collaborate with other diplomatic missions to deliver joined-up messaging to the Government. We are clear that the refugees need to be safe and should have access to education and healthcare, including Covid-19 vaccinations as these become available.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make an assessment on the potential effect on The Inter-Agency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme of planned reductions in UK aid.

DFID and now the FCDO have been consistently supportive of the Inter-Agency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme (MDS) since it was launched at the October 2018 Safeguarding Summit. FCDO's Safeguarding Unit is a member of the MDS Steering Committee.

The September 2020 UK strategy: Safeguarding against sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment within the aid sector stated that we are actively encouraging organisations to sign up to the MDS. FCDO Ministers, including the Secretary of State, publicised the MDS during events in Parliament in November 2020 and January 2021. Senior officials from FCDO's Safeguarding Unit regularly encourage delivery partners, including aid charities, to sign up.

We have not provided any funding to the MDS.

We have not carried out an assessment of the effectiveness of the scheme, but data published in February shows that in the two years since the MDS began, over 7,600 sets of misconduct data have been shared thanks to the scheme, resulting in 75 hires being stopped and so helping keep individuals safe from potential risk of sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment linked to the delivery of aid.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations he has made to aid charities on joining the Inter-Agency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme.

DFID and now the FCDO have been consistently supportive of the Inter-Agency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme (MDS) since it was launched at the October 2018 Safeguarding Summit. FCDO's Safeguarding Unit is a member of the MDS Steering Committee.

The September 2020 UK strategy: Safeguarding against sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment within the aid sector stated that we are actively encouraging organisations to sign up to the MDS. FCDO Ministers, including the Secretary of State, publicised the MDS during events in Parliament in November 2020 and January 2021. Senior officials from FCDO's Safeguarding Unit regularly encourage delivery partners, including aid charities, to sign up.

We have not provided any funding to the MDS.

We have not carried out an assessment of the effectiveness of the scheme, but data published in February shows that in the two years since the MDS began, over 7,600 sets of misconduct data have been shared thanks to the scheme, resulting in 75 hires being stopped and so helping keep individuals safe from potential risk of sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment linked to the delivery of aid.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Inter-Agency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme.

DFID and now the FCDO have been consistently supportive of the Inter-Agency Misconduct Disclosure Scheme (MDS) since it was launched at the October 2018 Safeguarding Summit. FCDO's Safeguarding Unit is a member of the MDS Steering Committee.

The September 2020 UK strategy: Safeguarding against sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment within the aid sector stated that we are actively encouraging organisations to sign up to the MDS. FCDO Ministers, including the Secretary of State, publicised the MDS during events in Parliament in November 2020 and January 2021. Senior officials from FCDO's Safeguarding Unit regularly encourage delivery partners, including aid charities, to sign up.

We have not provided any funding to the MDS.

We have not carried out an assessment of the effectiveness of the scheme, but data published in February shows that in the two years since the MDS began, over 7,600 sets of misconduct data have been shared thanks to the scheme, resulting in 75 hires being stopped and so helping keep individuals safe from potential risk of sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment linked to the delivery of aid.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department has repurposed UK aid already disbursed to civil society organisations in Myanmar to support staff members of those organisations who potentially face arrest by the military.

The safety and security of our implementing partners in Myanmar is of great importance to us. We are in close contact with the NGOs, the UN, Red Cross, and civil society organisations we support and we are ensuring as much flexibility as we can in their use of UK aid to help ensure their ability to continue to operate safely. We are working with partners to understand their specific needs and how the coup is impacting on their activities and staff.

We conducted a review of the UK aid programme in Myanmar following the coup. As part of the review the UK is committed to continuing funding that strengthens the foundations for a deeper and more inclusive democracy, including support for civil society.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he plans to reduce UK aid to Myanmar in the context of the review he has announced into aid to that country.

Following the coup, we have reviewed our aid programme in Myanmar to ensure that we focus on the most vulnerable people. Following a review of all UK aid programme in Myanmar all work with the government has now been suspended unless there is an exceptional humanitarian reason.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department is working with the (a) Government of Bangladesh and (b) other donors to make long term plans to improve conditions for Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, in the context of the effect of the military coup in that country on the safety of refugees.

The UK Government remains clear that any returns of Rohingya refugees to Rakhine state must be voluntary, safe, dignified, and in line with UNHCR principles. At present, conditions in Myanmar preclude this possibility. The UK is a leading donor to the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh, having committed £293.5 million since August 2017. UK aid has been instrumental in improving the lives of the 890,000 refugees and the vulnerable local Bangladeshi communities in Cox's Bazar. Our funding provides lifesaving support including food, healthcare, nutrition, education, clean water and sanitation and targeted support for women and girls. We continue to work closely with the Government of Bangladesh, the UN and other donors to improve conditions for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and the surrounding host communities.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of recent reports of Rohingya refugees stranded in the Andaman Sea.

The UK Government shares concerns over the safety of the Rohingya refugees stranded in the Andaman Sea. The British High Commission in Delhi has made representations to the Government of India, and we understand that India has provided humanitarian support to those on board. We continue to engage with governments in the region, UN agencies and other international partners to support the safety and well-being of all Rohingya refugees. The UK is the second largest donor to the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh, having committed close to £300 million since August 2017. We are also one of the largest donors in Rakhine State, having provided over £25 million for the Rohingya since 2017.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the planned reduction in Official Development Assistance spend from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent on (a) the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal target 5.6 and (b) girls and women in the global south.

Promoting gender equality and advancing women and girls' rights around the world is a priority for the UK Government. The seismic impact of the pandemic on the UK economy has forced us to take the tough but necessary decision, to temporarily reduce the overall amount we spend on ODA. Despite this, the UK remains committed to advancing gender equality, and we will take full advantage of the opportunities that 2021 will offer. This includes the UK's Presidency of the G7, co-hosting the Global Partnership for Education replenishment, COP26 and co-leadership of the new global Action Coalition on GBV.

The UK is proud to defend comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights, including family planning; these are fundamental to the empowerment and health of girls and women in the global south. For example, between 2019 and 2020 alone, UK aid helped over 25 million women and girls use modern methods of contraception. We are working through the implications of the ODA reductions for individual programmes and activities. No decisions on individual country or sectoral budgets have been made yet.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the proposed reduction in Official Development Assistance spend from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent on programmes to tackle poverty, disease, and conflict.

The Strategic framework for aid announced in November by the Foreign Secretary, sharpens the focus of our aid on seven priorities where UK support can make the most difference including on Covid and global health security; and open societies and conflict, in our overarching pursuit of poverty reduction and achievement of the sustainable development goals. This, alongside the creation of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, uniting our world class diplomacy and development expertise will ensure we bring together the best of Britain's international effort bear on the world's global challenges.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the proposed reduction in Official Development Assistance spending on improving the health of women and girls in the global south.

The UK is proud to defend comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights, including family planning; these are fundamental to the empowerment and health of girls and women in the global south. For example, between 2019 and 2020 alone, UK aid helped over 25 million women and girls use modern methods of contraception.

We are working through the implications of the ODA reductions for individual programmes and activities. No decisions on individual country or sectoral budgets have been made yet.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of whether the planned reduction in Official Development Assistance spend from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent will affect funding for family planning and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The UK is proud to defend comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights, including family planning; these are fundamental to the empowerment and health of girls and women in the global south. For example, between 2019 and 2020 alone, UK aid helped over 25 million women and girls use modern methods of contraception.

We are working through the implications of the ODA reductions for individual programmes and activities. No decisions on individual country or sectoral budgets have been made yet.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the reported delay by Israel to the transfer of the first shipment of covid-19 vaccines to Gaza, what recent representations he has made to the Government of Israel to encourage that country to meet its duties under international humanitarian law with regards to access to vaccines in the occupied Palestinian territory.

We welcome the steps that the parties have taken so far to coordinate responses to COVID-19, including the arrival of the first shipment of vaccines from the Palestinian Authority into Gaza on 17 February, with the approval of Israel. We encourage further cooperation and dialogue in this regard.

The UK Ambassador in Tel Aviv raised the issue of vaccines with the Israeli Authorities on 24 February, encouraging the Government of Israel to continue to facilitate the transfer of vaccines to the Palestinian Authority when required. The British Embassy in Tel Aviv and the British Consulate-General in Jerusalem are in regular contact with the Israeli and Palestinian authorities respectively, and will continue to raise timely and appropriate access to COVID-19 vaccines.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether CDC's planned increase in investment in Myanmar is still scheduled to go ahead in light of the military coup in that country; and if that investment was earmarked for Burmese Government trade promotion whether it can be redirected to civil society organisations documenting human rights violations in Myanmar.

CDC has paused all new investment activity in Myanmar and is reviewing the impact of the coup on its existing investments in the country. CDC has no investments in military or state-owned companies in Myanmar, does not directly work with or partner with the government, and has not supported any trade promotion by the government.

In parallel, on 25 February the UK launched a Trade Review. All UK support for trade promotion has been suspended in Myanmar while the UK works with British businesses and civil society to reshape our approach.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the compliance by Frontiir Co. Ltd with demands from the Government of Myanmar to block independent media in that country.

Frontiir has helped connect over one million people in Myanmar to the internet at affordable prices, thereby increasing access to information, boosting businesses, supporting education and tackling poverty. Frontiir has at all times adhered to international best practice.

Following the military coup on February 1st, Frontiir, along with all other telco operators and internet service providers, received regulatory orders to shut down the internet for brief periods and also block certain social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook. We have strongly condemned this move. Nevertheless, Frontiir is bound by national law under its licencing agreement and is unable to go against an official government directive. Frontiir has been open and transparent about these orders, acting in accordance with the Global Network initiative agreement, including posting a statement on their website. This is in line with the approach taken by other responsible internet platforms in Myanmar. Frontiir is an observer member of the Global Network Initiative and we remain in close communication with them on the current situation. CDC is reviewing the impact of the 1st February Myanmar coup on its investments in the country.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, in light of the Government's commitment on 2 February 2021 to review all indirect support to the Myanmar government, what recent assessment he has made to the status of funds allocated by CDC to Frontiir Co. Ltd.

CDC Group's (CDC) investment in Frontiir has previously helped connect over one million people in Myanmar to the internet at affordable prices, thereby increasing access to information, boosting businesses, supporting education and tackling poverty. CDC carries out due diligence on every investment it makes, including Frontiir. Frontiir has at all times adhered to international best practice and the company has become an observer of the Global Network Initiative at CDC's request.

Following the Myanmar military coup on 1 February, the UK Government is reviewing all programmes in country and will work to ensure no funds reach the military. CDC has enhanced the private sector due diligence regime to effectively mitigate the risk of UK funds going to government institutions. In addition, FCDO has written to partners asking them to review supply chains, to check UK money is not being used to purchase goods and services from military owned companies.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what targeted support he is providing to potential victims of female genital mutilation.

The UK Government has led international efforts to end female genital mutilation (FGM), including through a partnership with the Africa-led movement to end FGM. Since 2013, UK aid has helped over 10,000 communities, representing over 27 million people, pledge to abandon the practice; and over 4 million girls and women have received health, social and legal services related to FGM.

At the grassroots level, UK aid has supported activists, communities and experts across Africa, in their efforts to end FGM within their local context. We have also funded the United Nations to get laws and policies in place banning FGM in high prevalence countries. Through WHO, we have supported doctors, midwives and nurses to help care for survivors.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to enable the UK to use its presidencies of the G7 and COP26 to ensure that it and other nations (a) build on initial progress on eradicating female genital mutilation and (b) make a renewed commitment to SDG 4.

The UK Government has led international efforts to end female genital mutilation (FGM). Since 2013, UK aid has helped over 10,000 communities (representing over 27 million people) pledge to abandon FGM. Over 4 million girls and women have received health, social and legal services related to FGM. The UK will use its G7 Presidency to spearhead international action on Gender Equality - focusing on educating girls, empowering women, and ending violence against women and girls. As part of advancing SDG 4, we will seek to build support for ambitious new targets of getting 40 million more girls into education by 2025 and achieving a one-third improvement in girls' reading by age 10. We will also work towards a successful replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education. We are committed to delivering an inclusive COP26, including by addressing the needs and priorities of women and girls and advancing gender equality within climate action and finance. Quality education, especially for girls, is central to tackling climate change effectively.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the report by Human Rights Watch entitled An Open Prison Without End, on the treatment of Rohingya people in Myanmar.

As I [Minister Adams] tweeted on 9 October 2020, this is an important report which shines a spotlight on the ongoing discrimination faced by the Rohingya, and other minorities, confined to camps in Rakhine State. Myanmar must adhere to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) provisional measures order and end discrimination against the Rohingya and other minorities. The UK has consistently expressed concern at restrictions on Rohingya, including freedom of movement and access to healthcare.

The UK is one of the largest donors in Rakhine, supporting the Rohingya who remain through assistance with water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, health services, protection, livelihoods, education and food aid.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with the Myanmar Government on the (a) safe repatriation of Rohingya refugees to Rakhine state and (b) reinstatement of citizenship rights for Rohingya people.

We are clear that returns must be voluntary, safe and dignified and the Rohingya should be granted rights and status within Myanmar. I [Minister Adams] raised the importance of human rights and full citizenship rights for the Rohingya in my call with the Myanmar Minister for International Cooperation in June 2020 and the Foreign Secretary emphasised these messages in his call with the Minister in July. Our Ambassador and Development Director regularly discuss the issue of returns with Government of Myanmar, including most recently with the Minister for Social Welfare on 18 January.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his counterpart in Myanmar on allowing Rohingya people to stand in elections.

Both I and the Foreign Secretary raised our concern about the exclusion of the Rohingya from the democratic process in the run up the elections last year with Myanmar's Minister for International Co-operation. The UK strongly believes all individuals should have the right to freely participate in the democratic process and we remain very concerned that the Rohingya and other minority ethnic groups were excluded from these elections. Universal suffrage for all people in Myanmar, including the Rohingya, and the right to stand as a candidate are key to achieving effective democracy. We are clear that the 1982 Citizenship Law is deeply flawed and enables the exclusion of Rohingya and other minorities on spurious grounds. The Rohingya, who have lived in Myanmar for generations, should be granted full citizenship and the associated rights.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans he has to impose further sanctions on Myanmar.

The UK has targeted sanctions in place on 16 individuals from the Myanmar armed forces for their role in atrocities against Rohingya and other minorities. We have sanctioned all six individuals identified by the United Nations Fact Finding Mission. This includes the Commander-in-Chief and his Deputy. We will continue to consider designating persons under the Global Human Rights sanctions regulations in order to deter and provide accountability for serious human rights violations or abuses around the world. It is not appropriate to speculate who may be designated under the sanctions regime in the future. To do this could reduce the impact of the designations.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the merits of integrating proposals on sexual and reproductive health in the forthcoming Ending Preventable Deaths Action Plan.

The UK Government supports the Guttmacher-Lancet definition of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), and SHRH services are a core pillar of our action to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children by 2030. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of SRHR to this goal. Recent estimates suggest that, over one year, a 10-19% decline in reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health services, alongside increasing child malnutrition, will result in 24,400 additional maternal deaths and ?506,900 additional child deaths.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when he plans to fill the post of Special Envoy for Gender Equality.

Gender equality is a core part of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's work as a force for good in the world. As part of the creation of the FCDO, we are building on existing strategies and reviewing structures and roles, including the Special Envoy for Gender Equality. The UK is committed to promoting every girl's right to 12 years of quality education, by working to accelerate progress towards getting marginalised girls into schools, staying there, and staying safe. The Strategic Vision for Gender Equality reflects and responds to the UK Government's ambitions, and works alongside our National Action Plan (NAP) on Women, Peace and Security.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he has taken as a result of the UK’s endorsement of the Guttmacher-Lancet integrated definition of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in 2019.

The UK government fully endorses the Guttmacher-Lancet definition of sexual and reproductive health and rights and promote this in our international engagement. The UK works hard to support this comprehensive package of services through our long-term investments in family planning, safe abortion care, maternal and newborn health, HIV treatment and prevention, and our efforts to end female genital mutilation and child, early and forced marriage. Sexual and reproductive health and rights services - as defined by Guttmacher-Lancet - are a core pillar of our action to end preventable deaths of mothers, newborns and children by 2030, including through our bilateral health and SRHR programmes.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on levels of gender equality globally of the proposed reduction in official development assistance in 2021.

The seismic impact of the pandemic on the UK economy has forced us to take the tough but necessary decision, to temporarily reduce the overall amount we spend on ODA. Despite the reduction in our spend, the UK remains committed to advancing gender equality, and women's and girls' rights, and we are preparing to take full advantage of the opportunities that 2021 will offer. This includes the UK's Presidency of the G7, co-hosting the Global Partnership for Education replenishment, COP26 and co-leadership of the new global Action Coalition on gender-based violence.

The Foreign Secretary has been clear, we will remain a world leading aid donor. By combining aid with diplomacy and ensuing a coherent approach across Government departments, we will be focusing our efforts where the UK can make a world-leading difference to deliver maximum impact for every pound we spend.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that the covid-19 pandemic does not hinder global progress on gender equality.

We know that COVID-19 is disproportionately effecting women and girls globally, therefore gender equality plays a central role in FCDO's response. Through the UN's Financing for Development "Recovering Better for Sustainability" work strand, the UK has helped to create a set of international principles for a green, inclusive and resilient COVID-19 recovery, with gender equality at its core. FCDO continues to work with international partners to deliver on these proposals.

We have provided an additional £10 million to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to address reproductive health supply shortages and scale up reporting, protection, and support services for women and girls affected. We provided an additional £1 million to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, on top of our existing £21 million contribution, to support long-term interventions for survivors.

We are tackling violence against women and girls through our co-leadership of the UN's Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence and our plans to launch a new seven-year programme to scale-up effective interventions to prevent violence against women and girls.

The UK will put girls' education and gender equality high on the agenda in our G7 Presidency, and as co-hosts of the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Replenishment we will place gender at the heart of GPE's work to transform education systems worldwide.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his Bangladeshi counterpart on the relocation of Rohingya refugees to the island of Bhasan Char.

The UK Government is monitoring the situation and is in regular dialogue with the Government of Bangladesh, the UN and our INGO partners. We support the UN position that independent, full and detailed technical and protection assessments are needed to evaluate the safety and sustainability of living on Bhasan Char, and that any relocation should be voluntary and based on relevant, accurate and updated information.

The Minister for South Asia underlined the importance of these points in a call with Bangladesh's Foreign Minister Momen on 19 November, and has discussed the issue several times with the Bangladesh High Commissioner in London. The British High Commissioner in Dhaka regularly engages with the Government of Bangladesh on Bhasan Char and has underlined the importance of allowing the UN to conduct these full technical and protection assessments. The Development Director also talks regularly to the UN Heads of Agencies and Resident Coordinator who are in constant touch with the Government.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Government of Bangladesh works with (a) the UN and (b) international NGOs to assess the safety of the island Bhasan Char for Rohingya refugees.

The UK Government is monitoring the situation and is in regular dialogue with the Government of Bangladesh, the UN and our INGO partners. We support the UN position that independent, full and detailed technical and protection assessments are needed to evaluate the safety and sustainability of living on Bhasan Char, and that any relocation should be voluntary and based on relevant, accurate and updated information.

The Minister for South Asia underlined the importance of these points in a call with Bangladesh's Foreign Minister Momen on 19 November, and has discussed the issue several times with the Bangladesh High Commissioner in London. The British High Commissioner in Dhaka regularly engages with the Government of Bangladesh on Bhasan Char and has underlined the importance of allowing the UN to conduct these full technical and protection assessments. The Development Director also talks regularly to the UN Heads of Agencies and Resident Coordinator who are in constant touch with the Government.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
5th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the decision of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights in the Canadian Parliament to designate actions by the Government of China against its Uyghur population to be a genocide.

The UK has repeatedly taken a leading international role in holding China to account for its egregious human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other minorities. This has included leading joint statements at the UN Human Rights Council in June and the UN Third Committee last October. HMG's long-standing policy is that the determination of genocide should only be made by a competent court, rather than by governments or non-judicial bodies.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to eliminate (a) trafficking, (b) exploitation and (c) other forms of violence against women and girls in the public and private spheres.

The UK is a global leader in efforts to eliminate trafficking, exploitation and violence against women and girls (VAWG) in all its forms. We have committed over £200 million in UK aid to tackle human trafficking and modern slavery by reducing vulnerability to exploitation and addressing the environments that allow human trafficking to thrive. For example, the £13 million "Work in Freedom" programme is working to reduce vulnerability to trafficking and forced labour of women and girls across migration pathways leading to the care sector and textiles, clothing, leather and footwear industries of South Asia and the Arab States.

In September 2020, FCDO launched the tender for our new £67.5 million programme to scale up effective interventions to prevent VAWG across development and humanitarian contexts - in homes, schools, workplaces and communities. This is the largest investment by any donor government in programming and research to prevent VAWG globally. The UK has also taken up leadership of the new Global Action Coalition on gender based violence (GBV) and will use this to drive more concerted, coordinated and scaled-up global action across the international system to prevent GBV in all its forms. Since 2018, the Government has taken concerted action to prevent abuse by aid workers in both public and private spheres and to improve the response when it happens. We introduced enhanced safeguarding standards and regularly assess partners against them. We created Project Soteria with INTERPOL to strengthen vetting of aid workers and information sharing among law enforcement agencies. Last month the Government published a safeguarding strategy covering all UK aid spend which builds on commitments made at the 2018 London Safeguarding Summit.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences.

The UK continues to be a progressive champion of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights for all in accordance with the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcomes documents of their review conferences.

The UK works with partners to provide quality and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and protect and progress sexual and reproductive rights: from tackling HIV, to family planning, maternal and newborn health, to supporting efforts to end Female Genital Mutilation and child, early and forced marriage, and supporting safe abortion services.

At the recent United Nations General Assembly High Level Meeting celebrating twenty-five years since Beijing, the Foreign Secretary outlined the UK's ambition for gender equality. The UK, along with 81 Member States joined a statement reconfirming our unwavering commitment to championing sexual and reproductive health and rights and promoting gender equality. The UK remains committed to ensuring services are prioritised and rights are protected during the COVID-19 response to protect the significant gains made to date.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to help ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences.

The UK continues to be a progressive champion of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights for all in accordance with the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcomes documents of their review conferences.

The UK works with partners to provide quality and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and protect and progress sexual and reproductive rights: from tackling HIV, to family planning, maternal and newborn health, to supporting efforts to end Female Genital Mutilation and child, early and forced marriage, and supporting safe abortion services.

At the recent United Nations General Assembly High Level Meeting celebrating twenty-five years since Beijing, the Foreign Secretary outlined the UK's ambition for gender equality. The UK, along with 81 Member States joined a statement reconfirming our unwavering commitment to championing sexual and reproductive health and rights and promoting gender equality. The UK remains committed to ensuring services are prioritised and rights are protected during the COVID-19 response to protect the significant gains made to date.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to include child protection through (a) services which identify children at risk of violence, reporting and referral mechanisms and (b) supporting children who have experienced violence in its response to the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK Government is committed to protecting vulnerable children and helping them to grow up free from violence through COVID-19 and beyond. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) plays a leading global role in efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 16.2 to end the violence, abuse and exploitation of children. This includes supporting a systems approach to child protection that ensures people, policies and services are working together to prevent harm from happening and to respond effectively when incidences occur.

The FCDO is working with international partners to ensure that child protection is prioritised and integrated into the multi-sectoral response to COVID-19. We have provided £20 million to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to support the continuity of essential social services for children, including maintaining and adapting prevention and response services for children affected by violence during COVID-19. FCDO is also adapting our child protection programming to respond to COVID-19. For example, our Children on the Move programme, which is improving the child protection system for children migrating in Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia, has established hotline services for children affected by the pandemic and increased the capacity of social workers with protective equipment to continue their roles in protecting children.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to eliminate (a) child, (b) early and (c) forced marriage and (d) female genital mutilation.

The UK is a global leader in efforts to eliminate Child, Early and Forced Marriage (CEFM) and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The UK invested £39 million in the UN and civil society programmes to end child marriage between 2015 and 2020 and also tackles child marriage through programmes to promote gender equality and girls' education. These actions have contributed to a 15% reduction of global prevalence of child marriage over the last decade, averting 25 million child marriages. Ending child marriage will remain a key focus, including as part of our work to deliver the Prime Minister's commitment to champion 12 years of quality education for girls.

The UK's dedicated Forced Marriage Unit continues to lead efforts to combat forced marriage in the UK and provides dedicated support to victims and those at-risk. Since 2008, 2,605 Forced Marriage Protection Orders were issued related to marriages undertaken or planning in the UK and overseas.

The UK continues to lead the world in our support to the Africa-led movement to end FGM. Since 2013, the UK has supported over 10,000 communities to pledge to abandon FGM. In 2018 we announced a further £50 million for investments to galvanise leadership at the grassroots level in Africa, improve data quality and systems, support the UN and WHO, and to expand our programme in Sudan, which helped the country take steps to ban FGM this year.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much funding he has allocated to programmes to (a) support the education of and (b) prevent violence against children in (i) Ethiopia, (ii) Ghana, (iii) Kenya, (iv) the Democratic Republic of Congo, (v) Mozambique, (vi) Nepal, (vii) Nigeria, (vii) Rwanda, (viii) Sierra Leone, (ix) Tanzania, (x) Uganda, (xi) Zambia and (xii) Zimbabwe in the last three years.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has allocated the following funding directly to education:

UK Bilateral Education ODA Spend (excluding post-secondary)

£ millions

2017

2018

2019

Total UK

Total UK

Total UK

Congo, Dem. Rep.

9.2

9.9

4.8

Ethiopia

4.6

18.0

24.5

Ghana

7.3

5.9

7.5

Kenya

1.3

0.5

1.0

Mozambique

2.7

2.8

3.4

Nepal

1.1

1.0

0.9

Nigeria

31.1

25.6

26.3

Rwanda

8.8

18.5

10.8

Sierra Leone

12.4

10.6

9.6

Tanzania

28.1

26.6

21.2

Uganda

2.3

7.4

8.5

Zambia

1.6

0.5

0.3

Zimbabwe

13.8

15.5

5.2

Source: Final Statistics for International Development 2019 (SID)

~ is less than half the smallest unit displayed

Note 1: values exclude the OECD DAC "Post-secondary education" broad sector

Note 2: values include the OECD DAC "Education, Level Unspecified" broad sector, which may cross-cut all tiers of education

FCDO provides significant support to protect children from violence in developing countries, with child protection interventions embedded across our development and humanitarian programming. There are currently no markers within the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) database that allow for the systematic identification and tracking of all spending on violence against children. FCDO will consider engaging with the OECD about how this might be tracked via Official Development Assistance Statistics in the future.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to include protection of children as part of his Department's contribution to the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.

The UK Government is committed to protecting vulnerable children and helping them to grow up free from violence. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) plays a leading global role in efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 16.2 to end the violence, abuse and exploitation of children. Tackling violence against girls in particular is central to the Prime Minister's commitment to champion 12 years of quality education for every girl.

The Integrated Review and the creation of the FCDO are evidence of the Prime Minister's commitment to a unified British foreign policy that will maximise our influence around the world, ensuring the UK is a force for good in the world. Our aim continues to be for an ambitious and bold Integrated Review that is guided by the UK's foreign policy, national security and development objectives. The Integrated Review will conclude alongside the Spending Review in the Autumn and inform the priorities of FCDO.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy on funding for protection of vulnerable children overseas.

The UK Government is committed to protecting vulnerable children and helping them to grow up free from violence. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) plays a leading global role in efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 16.2 to end the violence, abuse and exploitation of children. Tackling violence against girls in particular is central to the Prime Minister's commitment to champion 12 years of quality education for every girl.

The Integrated Review and the creation of the FCDO are evidence of the Prime Minister's commitment to a unified British foreign policy that will maximise our influence around the world, ensuring the UK is a force for good in the world. Our aim continues to be for an ambitious and bold Integrated Review that is guided by the UK's foreign policy, national security and development objectives. The Integrated Review will conclude alongside the Spending Review in the Autumn and inform the priorities of FCDO.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much and what proportion of departmental funding for education in emergencies and protracted crises he allocates to ensuring that children are safe from violence and exploitation and able to attend school.

Reaching the world's most marginalised children is critical to global progress towards SDG4, and the UK is dedicated to supporting education in emergencies and protracted crises (EiEPC). We allocate over 50% of UK aid education funds to fragile and conflict affected states (FCAS). At a global level, the UK is the largest donor to Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the fund for education in emergencies.

All of our EiEPC funding aims to ensure that children are safe from violence and exploitation, and able to access education: we know that in emergency settings the protective element of education is as crucial as access to learning opportunities (whether inside or beyond formal schooling). Our unprecedented contribution to ECW (£90 million from 2019 to 2023), for instance, provides children safe spaces to learn and prepares teachers to provide psycho-social support in classrooms to help children recover from trauma.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy on the Government's policy to end forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking.

The Integrated Review will cover all aspects of international and national security policy, such as defence, diplomacy, development and national resilience. The UK Government is committed to the eradication of all forms of forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking worldwide by 2030 as set out in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8.7. Building on the 2017 Call to Action to end forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking, which has now been endorsed by 92 countries, the UK jointly launched the 'Principles to Combat Human Trafficking in Global Supply Chains' with the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand at the UN General Assembly in September 2018. These Principles commit governments to implementing a range of measures that help address modern slavery in global supply chains. We will continue to work alongside regional partners to drive international action and target our efforts around specific themes of the Call to Action encouraging member states who have endorsed to report on tangible action that has been taken as a result. We will also continue to look for opportunities to deliver on modern slavery objectives, and encourage political commitment and actions to make progress on SDG 8.7. Ending forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking will remain a core part of the Government's mission and remain a priority for the new FCDO.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking with his international counterparts to eliminate (a) violence against and (b)(i) the exploitation and (ii) abuse of children.

The UK Government is committed to protecting vulnerable children through our programmes and our international leadership. The UK is a founding Board member of, and the largest donor to, the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children (End Violence) which is driving the international movement to deliver Sustainable Development Goal 16.2. Through FCDO's Ending Violence, Abuse and Exploitation of Children programme, we provide £10 million to End Violence, including to deliver the Safe to Learn initiative to end violence in schools, and £10 million to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) to prevent and respond to violence, abuse, and exploitation of children on the move in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Sudan. FCDO also supports a range of child protection programmes and interventions in developing countries, embedded across our development and humanitarian programming.

The UK is a global leader in efforts to eliminate Child, Early and Forced Marriage, including as part of our work to deliver the Prime Minister's commitment to champion 12 years of quality education for girls. We will continue to promote the need for progress on a wide range of issues that hold girls back from accessing a quality education and achieving their potential. This must include global efforts to end child marriage and all forms of violence against girls and women.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how much funding he has allocated to Girls Education Challenge in (a) Ethiopia, (b) Ghana, (c) Kenya, (d) Democratic Republic of Congo, (e) Mozambique, (f) Nepal, (g) Nigeria, (h) Rwanda, (i) Sierra Leone, (j) Tanzania, (k) Uganda, (l) Zambia and (m) Zimbabwe in the 2020-21 financial year.

The forecasted spend for the Girls' Education Challenge in Financial Year (F/Y) 20/21 in these countries is broken down as follows:

Country

F/Y 20/21

Ethiopa

£6,292,667

Ghana

£6,731,469

Kenya

£15,531,221

DRC

£4,936,013

Mozambique

£3,165,930

Nepal

£4,235,398

Nigeria

£1,769,365

Rwanda

£0

Sierra Leone

£7,230,340

Tanzania

£2,189,224

Uganda

£3,253,799

Zambia

£693,339

Zimbabwe

£7,520,593

Total

£63,549,358

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he will take to ensure that his Department continues to prioritise the prevention of violence, exploitation and abuse of girls after the conclusion of the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.

The UK is a global leader in efforts to eliminate violence, exploitation and abuse of girls in all its forms and remains unwavering in our defence of women's and girls' right to live free from violence. The COVID-19 pandemic has further underscored the need for urgent, scaled-up action on gender-based violence (GBV). Ending child marriage will remain a key focus, including as part of our work to deliver the Prime Minister's commitment to champion 12 years of quality education for girls. FCDO's world-leading £50 million UK aid package to tackle FGM across the most-affected countries in Africa is the biggest single donor investment worldwide to date, and will run until 2025.

In September 2020, FCDO launched the tender for our new £67.5 million programme to scale up effective interventions to prevent Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) across development and humanitarian contexts, and to continue expanding the evidence base as a global public good. This is the largest investment by any donor government in programming and research to prevent VAWG globally. The UK has also taken up leadership of the new Global Action Coalition on GBV. We will take an evidence-based approach that prioritises the most marginalised and excluded women and girls, with a particular focus on adolescent girls. Safeguarding against sexual exploitation and abuse and sexual harassment in the aid sector also remains a priority. Last month the Government published a safeguarding strategy covering all UK aid spend which builds on commitments made at the 2018 London Safeguarding Summit.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the next steps are for the Integrated Review of Security, Defense, Development and Foreign Policy; and what consultation he plans to have with civil society groups as part of that review.

The FCDO is engaging widely on the Integrated Review, and will continue to do so over the course of the Review. As part of our engagement on the Integrated Review, we have worked with the Cabinet Office to deliver six in-depth dialogues through Wilton Park, bringing together domestic and international subject-matter experts from international politics, academia, business, civil society and youth groups. In September the Government issued a Call for Evidence to help inform the Integrated Review. This received more than 450 replies from a broad range of external stakeholders including think tanks, international organisations, NGOs and religious organisations.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy includes (a) youth, peace and security and (b) the rights of children in (i) conflict and (ii) peacebuilding.

The Integrated Review will cover all aspects of international and national security policy, such as defence, diplomacy, development and national resilience. The Youth, Peace and Security agenda is an important component of the UK's work to promote human rights and support sustainable peace processes. At the UN Security Council on 14 July, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted UN Resolution 2535 on the vital role of youth in preventing and resolving conflict, as well as in building and maintaining peace. We continue to prioritise preventive diplomacy and mediation through the UN and push for greater collaboration on peacebuilding amongst international organisations. At the UN Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict on 23 June, the UK reaffirmed our commitment to tackling violations against children in armed conflict and highlighted the need for a transparent and credible framework for accountability based on a standardised and evidence-backed approach to de-listing and listing of state and non-state actors for violations. We also continue to drive more concerted, coordinated and scaled-up global action across the international system to prevent gender-based violence in conflict settings. Gender equality that includes youth and children's rights will remain a core part of the Government's mission and it is at the heart of the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether any girls' education programmes have been (a) paused, (b) undergone budget reductions and (c) ceased as a result of the £2.9 billion projected reduction in the Official Development Assistance budget in 2020.

Championing 12 years of quality education for all girls is a top priority for this Government and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. As the effects of the COVID-19 crisis play out, the socio-economic impact on girls has become increasingly clear and the focus on girls' education across the world is more important than ever.

Difficult decisions have been necessary to identify the savings needed to ensure we meet the 0.7 per cent Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment this year. As a result, some programme spend for this financial year has been reduced or deferred. The Foreign Secretary chaired a review process across government looking at all strands of the ODA budget, evaluating the impacts of spend and making sure the UK can maintain operational capacity. This process has made sure there continues to be support and commitment to ODA priorities, including girls' education long term.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will set out the critieria his Department uses to define a girls' education programme.

Girls' education programmes are FCDO investments to increase education access, attainment and opportunities for girls. Standing up for the right of every girl to 12 years of quality education is a major priority for this Government and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. As the effects of the COVID-19 crisis play out, the socio-economic impact on girls has become increasingly clear and the focus on girls' education across the world is more important than ever.

Between 2015 and 2020, the UK supported at least 15.6 million children to gain a decent education, of which 8.1 million were girls. Our bilateral programmes and funding to organisations like the Global Partnership for Education and Education Cannot Wait make the UK a global leader in promoting girls' education.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what effect the £2.9 billion projected reduction in the Official Development Assistance budget in 2020 has had on the Adolescent Girls' Education and Empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa Programme.

Championing the right of every girl to 12 years of quality education is a top priority for this Government and the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. As the effects of the COVID-19 crisis play out, the socio-economic impact on girls has become increasingly clear and the focus on girls' education across the world is more important than ever.

The review of the ODA budget has made sure there continues to be support and commitment to ODA priorities, including girls' education. We are continuing with plans for a new girls' education programme in Africa that will empower marginalised girls.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will commission an independent assessment on the situation of Uyghur Muslims in China.

There is a significant body of evidence about the range and extent of human rights violations in Xinjiang, including the Chinese authorities' own publicly-available government documents, and satellite imagery. The UN has made clear recommendations to China, including to release those arbitrarily detained in camps. We have repeatedly called on China to urgently implement those recommendations and allow unfettered access to the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN experts.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he is taking to assess the treatment of Uyghur Muslim refugees from China in Turkey.

We encourage the Turkish authorities to safeguard the welfare and respect the human rights of all refugees in Turkey.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of proposals to establish a monitoring mechanism for human rights abuses against Uyghurs in Xinjiang under the UN (a) Human Rights Council and (b) General Assembly.

The UK has played a leading role at the Human Rights Council, and in the UN Third Committee to call for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to be allowed meaningful access to Xinjiang. The UK is the only country to have led formal joint statements on Xinjiang in relevant UN fora, including on the issue of UN access. On 30 June, the UK read out a formal statement on behalf of 28 countries at the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council, and on 29 October 2019, the UK read out a statement on Xinjiang on behalf of 23 countries at the UN Third Committee in New York. We will continue to work with international partners at the UN to maximise pressure on the Chinese Government over its egregious human rights violations against Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what support his Department is providing to vulnerable Uyghur Muslim refugees from China in Turkey.

The UK recognises and supports the extraordinary generosity of Turkey in hosting over 4 million refugees - more than any other host country in the world. 3.6 million of these refugees are from neighbouring Syria where the brutal conflict is now in its tenth year.

The UK supports the efforts of the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, which provides assistance and protection to refugee population groups, irrespective of nationality, across Turkey and UNHCR's Global Operations.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will make it his policy to (a) retain and (b) promote the Strategic Vision for Gender Equality.

Advancing gender equality and women's rights are a core part of the UK Government's mission, and Global Britain's role as a force for good in the world, including fulfilling every girl's right to 12 years of quality education. The Government remains steadfast in its commitment to this agenda.

The new FCDO will continue to be a progressive force for women and girls, including for their sexual and reproductive health and rights and ensuring that their needs are central to our COVID-19 humanitarian response. We will work closely with partners across HMG to leverage the best development, diplomatic, defence and trade approaches to achieve maximum impact.

As part of the launch of the new Department, we will refresh and build on existing strategies, as well as develop new approaches, but we do not see the core ambitions of the Strategic Vision for Gender Equality changing. The challenges of advancing girls' education, sexual reproductive health and rights (SRHR), women's political empowerment, women's economic empowerment and ending violence against women and girls (VAWG) are as acute now, if not more so, as when we published the strategy in 2018.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effect of the change in the level of Official Development Assistance on global progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 5.

Given the likely decrease in the size of the economy this year, all Official Development Assistance (ODA) spending departments have identified changes to the budget.

The careful review process looked at every strand of the ODA budget, evaluating the impacts of spend and making sure we can maintain operational capacity. This has been a thorough process, but we have been able to ensure that the money we will still spend in 2020 includes prioritising poverty reduction for the 'bottom billion', and championing every girls' right to 12 years of quality education. Advancing gender equality and women's rights are critical to achieving these agendas and remains core to this government's mission.

The FCDO will build on the UK's world-leading track record on gender equality, which includes fighting successfully for SDG5, and targets on gender equality across the other goals. Since the goals began in 2015, we reached an average of 25.3 million total women and girls with modern methods of family planning per year, helping to save thousands of lives. The UK International Development Act (Gender Equality) 2014 also means that consideration of gender equality in all UK Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) is a legal requirement.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when (a) existing and (b) planned girls' education programmes have been paused or cancelled as a result of the change in the level of Official Development Assistance in 2020.

Championing 12 years of quality education for all girls is a top priority for this Government and the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. As the effects of the COVID-19 crisis play out, the socio-economic impact on girls has become increasingly clear and the focus on girls' education across the world is more important than ever.

Difficult decisions have been necessary to identify the savings needed to ensure we meet the 0.7 per cent Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment this year. The Foreign Secretary chaired a review process across government looking at all strands of the ODA budget, evaluating the impacts of spend and making sure the UK can maintain operational capacity. This process has made sure there is continued support and commitment to ODA priorities, including girls' education.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, when he plans to publish details of the £2.9 billion reduction in Official Development Assistance planned 2020.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's National Statistics publication - 'Statistics on International Development' will provide a full breakdown of UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) spend for the previous calendar year.

The Statistics for International Development published in Autumn 2021 will provide a full breakdown of the UK's ODA spend for 2020.

James Cleverly
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
14th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what plans he has to appoint a new FCDO Special Envoy for Gender Equality.

Gender equality is a core part of the FCDO's work as a force for good in the world. The UK has a proud track record in a number of areas. For example, the right of every girl around the world to receive 12 years of quality education remains a top priority. The Prime Minister appointed Baroness Sugg as the UK Special Envoy for Girls' Education in March 2020. Between 2015 and 2020, we supported 8.1 million girls gain access to a decent education. The Strategic Vision for Gender Equality reflects and responds to the UK Government's ambitions and works alongside our National Action Plan (NAP) on Women Peace and Security. As part of creation of the FCDO we will be building on existing strategies and reviewing structures and roles, including that of the Special Envoy for Gender Equality.

In 2019 the UK announced the biggest ever investment of £67.5 million by a single Government to prevent violence against women and girls. We are recognised internationally for our leadership on the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative to which we have committed £46 million since 2012, supporting over 85 projects across 29 countries. We also continue to reach girls and women with life-saving sexual and reproductive health services, including with an additional £10 million for UN Population Fund's COVID-19 response. We will mark the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in October with the support of HRH The Countess of Wessex, HMG's champion on Women Peace and Security and the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative. The FCDO network will mark the anniversary, focusing on elevating and legitimising the work of women peacebuilders. We are also supporting the International Civil Society Action Network's Protection Framework for Women Peacebuilders which will provide guidance to states and multilateral organisations on how to prevent and respond to reprisals against women peacebuilders.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether he has received representations on the resumption of the Government of Bangladesh pilot of the Myanmar curriculum in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps; and whether steps towards the resumption of that curriculum have been agreed.

The Government of Bangladesh agreed earlier this year to ensure Rohingya children have access to the Myanmar curriculum. Since then the COVID-19 crisis has forced the closure of all learning centres in the camps. Education partners have tried to ensure continuity of learning; for example, by providing caregivers with learning materials. We hope learning centres will re-open soon, with measures in place to ensure the safety of pupils and teachers. This includes piloting the Myanmar curriculum. The Foreign Secretary has stressed the importance of this in his communication with the Government of Bangladesh. FCDO officials regularly engage on education for Rohingya refugees, including through the Myanmar curriculum, with stakeholders in Cox's Bazar, Dhaka and London.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations he has made to his counterpart in Bangladesh on a timetable for the reinstatement of internet services for Rohingya refugees.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has consistently engaged with the Government of Bangladesh on the importance of restoring internet services in the Cox's Bazar refugee camps since restrictions were introduced in September 2019. The Foreign Secretary raised this in a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in July. The Minister for South Asia, Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, has discussed the issue several times with the Bangladesh High Commissioner in London. The British High Commissioner in Dhaka has also spoken with the Prime Minister's Foreign Policy Adviser and with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On Friday 28 August, we were pleased to see internet services restored in the camps.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps he has taken to ensure his Department's management board is diverse in terms of (a) gender, (b) ethnicity and (c) experience.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) is committed to putting diversity and inclusion at its heart.

The people appointed to the interim Board bring a range of experience, including from FCDO, HM Treasury, BEIS, Cabinet Office, the private and voluntary sectors and academia. It is not possible to provide a breakdown by gender or ethnicity for the Board members as this would contravene GDPR principles. Biographies of all Board members can be found on Gov.UK.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the budget was for the Department for International Development's Afghanistan programmes in 2020-21; and how much that budget will be reduced by as a result of the proposed reduction of £2.9 billion in Official Development Assistance announced on 22 July 2020.

Revised ODA allocations for 2020/21 will be published by HM Treasury at Autumn Budget.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the total budget was this year for DFID's Indonesia programme; and with reference to his 22 July announcement of cuts to the aid budget of £2.9bn, how much will be cut from the programme's proposed spend.

Revised ODA allocations for 2020/21 will be published by HM Treasury at Autumn Budget.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the total budget was this year for DFID's Pakistan programme; and with reference to his 22 July announcement of cuts to the aid budget of £2.9bn, how much will be cut from the programme's proposed spend.

Revised ODA allocations for 2020/21 will be published by HM Treasury at Autumn Budget.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the total budget was this year for DFID's Overseas Territories programme; and with reference to his 22 July announcement of cuts to the aid budget of £2.9bn, how much will be cut from the programme's proposed spend.

Revised Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) allocations for 2020/21 will be published by HM Treasury at the Autumn Budget. The next step will be to discuss specific savings with suppliers and partners and revised ODA allocations will be published in due course after this has been completed.

The Statistics for International Development published in 2021 will provide a full breakdown of the UK's ODA spend for 2020.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the total budget was this year for DFID's Bangladesh programme; and with reference to his 22 July announcement of cuts to the aid budget of £2.9bn, how much will be cut from that programme's proposed spend.

Revised ODA allocations for 2020/21 will be published by HM Treasury at Autumn Budget. The next step will be to discuss specific savings with suppliers and partners and revised ODA allocations will be published in due course after this has been completed.

The Statistics for International Development published in 2021 will provide a full breakdown of the UK's ODA spend for 2020.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the total budget was this year for DFID's Nepal programme; and with reference to his 22 July announcement of cuts to the aid budget of £2.9bn, how much will be cut from the programme's proposed spend.

Revised ODA allocations for 2020/21 will be published by HM Treasury at Autumn Budget. The next step will be to discuss specific savings with suppliers and partners and revised ODA allocations will be published in due course after this has been completed.

The Statistics for International Development published in 2021 will provide a full breakdown of the UK's ODA spend for 2020.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the total budget was this year for DFID's Tajikistan programme; and with reference to his 22 July announcement of cuts to the aid budget of £2.9bn, how much will be cut from the programme's proposed spend.

Revised ODA allocations for 2020/21 will be published by HM Treasury at Autumn Budget. The next step will be to discuss specific savings with suppliers and partners and revised ODA allocations will be published in due course after this has been completed.

The Statistics for International Development published in 2021 will provide a full breakdown of the UK's ODA spend for 2020.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the total budget was this year for DFID's Caribbean programme; and with reference to his 22 July announcement of cuts to the aid budget of £2.9bn, how much will be cut from the programme's proposed spend.

Revised ODA allocations for 2020/21 will be published by HM Treasury at Autumn Budget. The next step will be to discuss specific savings with suppliers and partners and revised ODA allocations will be published in due course after this has been completed.

The Statistics for International Development published in 2021 will provide a full breakdown of the UK's ODA spend for 2020.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Sep 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the total budget was this year for DFID's Myanmar programme; and with reference to his 22 July announcement of cuts to the aid budget of £2.9bn, how much will be cut from the programme's proposed spend.

Revised ODA allocations for 2020/21 will be published by HM Treasury at Autumn Budget. The next step will be to discuss specific savings with suppliers and partners and revised ODA allocations will be published in due course after this has been completed.

The Statistics for International Development published in 2021 will provide a full breakdown of the UK's ODA spend for 2020.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many staff will be employed by his Department on 1 September 2020.

The total number of Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office staff is 7842 UK Based Staff and 9208 Local Staff/Staff Appointed in Country. This reflects the most recent data held by FCO and DFID

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Aug 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department plans to continue to use the Interserve agency to carry out work under their newly established Department.

Facilities management services are provided to us by Interserve FM via existing contracts and they will continue to deliver the services as originally contracted to do so.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what proportion of his Department's aid was targeted to projects with gender equality as a (a) principal objective, (b) significant objective and (c) not-gender related in each of the last 5 years.

The UK's Gender Equality Act 2014 (an amendment to 2002 International Development Act, IDA) requires all overseas development funding to consider the impact of how it will contribute to reducing gender inequality. The UK Aid Strategy prioritises the rights of women and girls under its fourth strategic goal of tacking extreme poverty and helping the world's most vulnerable. The FCO support a number of Official Development Assistance programmes targeted at promoting girls' education, empowering women peacebuilders and supporting female survivors of sexual violence in conflict. The programmes include lobbying efforts encouraging foreign governments to prioritise girls' education reforms, financial support for women mediator organisations, capacity building programmes for female judges and women peacebuilders and consultations with survivors of sexual violence.

Additional information on the FCO's ODA programmes can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/official-development-assistance-fco-programme-spend.

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs,what steps he is taking to support departmental staff affected by the proposed merging of his Department and the Department for International Development.

Merging the departments will mean changes for how teams are structured, and some roles and responsibilities will change. This work will take place over the coming months, and we are engaging fully with staff throughout this process. The full details of the merger will be set out in due course.

James Duddridge
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, which Official Development Assistance programmes that his Department funds are targeted at supporting women and girls.

The UK's Gender Equality Act 2014 (an amendment to 2002 International Development Act, IDA), legally requires all overseas development funding to meaningfully consider the impact of how it will contribute to reducing gender inequality. The UK Aid Strategy prioritises the rights of women and girls under its fourth strategic goal of tacking extreme poverty and helping the world's most vulnerable.

The FCO supports a number of Official Development Assistance programmes targeted at promoting girls' education, empowering women peacebuilders and supporting female survivors of sexual violence in conflict. The programmes include lobbying efforts encouraging foreign governments to prioritise girls' education reforms, financial support for women mediator organisations, capacity building programmes for female judges and women peacebuilders and consultations with survivors of sexual violence. Additional information on the FCO's ODA programmes can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/official-development-assistance-fco-programme-spend

Wendy Morton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what discussions he has held with regional stakeholders to help ensure the development of an effective response to Rohingya refugees displaced at sea.

The UK is clear that the Myanmar military is ultimately responsible for the mass displacement of the Rohingya, which has in turn led many to flee the camps in Bangladesh by boat. We will continue to work for a de-escalation of the current conflict in Rakhine State and a sustainable solution which allows the Rohingya to return to their homes.

The United Kingdom supports the UN's call for a regional effort to ensure the safety of the Rohingya refugees who are displaced at sea, and has held numerous discussions with regional stakeholders to seek a resolution.

On 29 May, the Minister of State for South Asia, Lord Ahmad, raised the issue with the Bangladesh High Commissioner and thanked her after the Bangladesh Navy rescued Rohingya refugees stranded at sea. The British High Commission in Dhaka have also raised the matter with the Government of Bangladesh. Officials from the British Embassy in Bangkok have discussed with the Thai Government the importance of the provision of humanitarian assistance to Rohingyas aboard vessels that enter Thai waters. Our High Commission in Kuala Lumpur continues to raise our concerns about the situation of the Rohingya community with the Malaysian Government. We continue to raise these issues with regional partners, including on how the Bali Process might play a role. The United Kingdom will continue its commitment towards protecting the Rohingya people, who are amongst the most vulnerable in the region.

Nigel Adams
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of whether the Palestinian state proposed in the US Administration’s Peace to Prosperity plan would be viable and sovereign.

The UK's longstanding position on the Middle East Peace Process is clear and has not changed: we want to see a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state; based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states, and a just, fair, agreed and realistic settlement for refugees. But exactly how that vision is achieved will be a result of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Only the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians can determine whether these proposals can meet the needs and aspirations of the people they represent.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether it remains the policy of the UK Government to support a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that would lead to Jerusalem as a shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states.

The UK's longstanding position on the Middle East Peace Process is clear and has not changed: we support a negotiated settlement leading to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state; based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps and a just, fair, agreed and realistic settlement for refugees. It must also ensure Jerusalem is a shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states, with access and religious rights of both peoples respected.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the US Administration’s Peace to Prosperity plan in supporting a return to negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.

All serious proposals for peace deserve a fair hearing. A peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians that leads to peaceful coexistence could unlock the potential for the entire region, and provide both sides with the opportunity for a brighter future. Only Israeli and Palestinian leaders can determine whether these proposals can meet the needs and aspirations of the people they represent. We encourage them to give these plans genuine and fair consideration, and explore whether they might prove a first step on the road back to negotiations.

4th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to promote LGBT rights in (a) Commonwealth nations in which homosexuality is a criminal offence and (b) other Commonwealth nations.

We continue to raise the importance of countering discrimination within the Commonwealth, including on grounds of gender identity or sexual orientation. Working through the UN Human Rights Council, the Council of Europe, the Commonwealth and other multilateral fora, we regularly raise concerns about countries that do not comply with their human rights obligations and promote nondiscrimination against LGBT people. The UK was one of the founding members of the Equal Rights Coalition (ERC) a grouping of 42 like-minded countries working together with civil society to address violence and discrimination against LGBT individuals, and the ongoing criminalisation of same sex conduct in 70 countries.

The UK took over the role of ERC co-chair in June 2019, in partnership with Argentina and will host an international conference on LGBT rights in London on 27-29 May. The conference will address the issues of violence, discrimination and ongoing criminalisation and will set out how the ERC proposes to address those issues with the launch of a new ERC Strategy.

In her speech to the Commonwealth Forums in April 2018, the former Prime Minister set out the UK's readiness to support any member state wanting to reform outdated legislation that makes discrimination on the grounds of gender identity or sexual orientation possible and stressed the importance of our common value of equality, a value that is clearly stated in the Commonwealth Charter. As part of that offer the UK announced a £5.6m programme working with civil society organisations to support those countries seeking to reform outdated discriminatory legislation affecting women, girls and LGBT individuals.

24th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 17 October 2019 to question 261 on China: Uighurs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that items for sale in the UK do not originate from sources that use forced labour; and which agency is tasked with investigating suspicions of slavery in supply chains.

As I mentioned in my answer of 17 October 2019, the UK Government is taking steps to ensure goods sold in the UK do not originate from sources that use forced labour. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office works closely with the Home Office in helping companies and industry stakeholders understand their risks overseas, and officials continue to monitor the situation in China.

The Government is committed to the eradication of all forms of forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking as set out in Sustainable Development Goal 8.7, and has made tackling modern slavery a foreign policy priority. The Home Office have responsibility for ensuring compliance with Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, which obliges certain commercial organisations to publish a modern slavery statement for each financial year. The requirement to publish annual statements is designed to drive progress against long-term strategies, to assess risks and identify priority areas for business improvement. As the published statutory guidance sets out, the Modern Slavery Act emphasises a transparency-focused approach rather than investigations of due diligence.

The Home Office has written twice to the CEOs of companies identified as in scope of the legislation with clear information about how to meet their obligations. Following an Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act the Home Office has also consulted on proposals to strengthen the legislation and introduce new enforcement powers. The Home Office is currently analysing the responses to this consultation and will respond in due course.

24th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the Answer of 17 October 2019 to Question 261 on China: Uighurs, which body oversees compliance by companies with the Modern Slavery Act 2015; and how many companies that body has investigated in respect of providing (a) misleading and (b) insufficient evidence in their modern slavery statements.

As I mentioned in my answer of 17 October 2019, the UK Government is taking steps to ensure goods sold in the UK do not originate from sources that use forced labour. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office works closely with the Home Office in helping companies and industry stakeholders understand their risks overseas, and officials continue to monitor the situation in China.

The Government is committed to the eradication of all forms of forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking as set out in Sustainable Development Goal 8.7, and has made tackling modern slavery a foreign policy priority. The Home Office have responsibility for ensuring compliance with Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, which obliges certain commercial organisations to publish a modern slavery statement for each financial year. The requirement to publish annual statements is designed to drive progress against long-term strategies, to assess risks and identify priority areas for business improvement. As the published statutory guidance sets out, the Modern Slavery Act emphasises a transparency-focused approach rather than investigations of due diligence.

The Home Office has written twice to the CEOs of companies identified as in scope of the legislation with clear information about how to meet their obligations. Following an Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act the Home Office has also consulted on proposals to strengthen the legislation and introduce new enforcement powers. The Home Office is currently analysing the responses to this consultation and will respond in due course.

7th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether he plans to provide British National Overseas passport holders in Hong Kong with (a) full UK citizenship and (b) a pathway to full citizenship.

As the Foreign Secretary stated in Parliament on 26 September, the status of British Nationals (Overseas) (BN(O)) was a part of the delicate balance in negotiations that led to the Sino-British Joint Declaration. We are not seeking to change the status of any one part of that package but rather to ensure it is respected by both sides. As such, we have no plans to change the status of BN(O) or to provide pathways to full citizenship beyond those that already exist. The best outcome for BN(O) is for the high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms set out in the Joint Declaration and provided for in the Basic Law to be upheld. This is where we are focusing our efforts.

20th Apr 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will provide urgent financial support to taxi drivers at risk of having their vehicle repossessed.

The government has provided an unprecedented package of support for individuals through the pandemic. The majority of taxi drivers are self-employed and so may have been able to benefit from the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), which was extended at Budget, through a fourth and fifth grant, until September.

Taxi drivers are amongst the 1.5 million businesses that have accessed the Bounce Back Loan scheme over the past 11 months, which has provided facilities totalling £46.5billion. Taxi drivers experiencing hardship can also apply to the Recovery Loan Scheme, launched earlier this month, which maintains a generous 80% guarantee to ensure lenders continue to have the confidence to lend.

Beyond these schemes, taxi drivers may be able to access other elements of support, including continuation of the uplift in Universal Credit, rental support, mortgage holidays, enhanced Time to Pay for taxes, VAT cuts and deferrals, and other business support grants. At the budget, an extra £425 million business grant funding was announced, on top of the £1.6 billion already allocated, for local authorities to use at their discretion to support local businesses not eligible for Restart Grants, but nonetheless experiencing severe impacts on their business. The taxi and private hire sector may be able to benefit from these recently extended schemes.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
24th Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will announce a long term funding settlement for fire and rescue services in Budget 2021.

The 2020 Spending Review increased funding for fire services across local authorities in line with inflation, building on the 2019 Spending Round where standalone Fire and Rescue Services (FRAs) received an increase in their core spending power of 3.2 per cent in cash terms. We will consider long-term funding for fire and rescue services at the next Spending Review.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
22nd Feb 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what level of financial support he has allocated to Bolton in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

Throughout this crisis, the government has sought to protect people’s jobs and livelihoods while also supporting businesses and public services across the UK, including in Bolton. To do this, the government has put in place an economic package of support which will provide businesses and individuals with certainty over the coming months, even as measures to prevent further spread of the virus change. The government has spent over £280 billion this year to provide this support.

Businesses in Bolton which are forced to close can claim grants of up to £3,000 per month, based on their rateable value, through the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed). They can also claim a one-off grant of up to £9,000, in addition to the monthly grant. Businesses in Bolton which are not able to receive these grants for closed businesses may be able to benefit from the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG). We recently increased the funding available under this scheme to £1.6 billion across England. It is up to each local authority to determine eligibility for this scheme based on their assessment of local economic need; however, we encourage local authorities to support businesses which have been impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, but which are ineligible for the other grant schemes.

In addition to funding for these grant schemes, local authorities in Bolton which were subject to enhanced restrictions on socialising (such as a ban on indoor household mixing) between 1 August and 5 November, and between 2 December and 5 January, will have received funding from the Local Restrictions Support Grant (Open) scheme to enable them to make backdated grants to hospitality, leisure, and accommodation businesses worth 70% of the monthly grants for closed businesses.

Businesses are also able to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which was introduced to help employers whose operations have been affected by COVID-19 retain their employees and protect the UK economy. All businesses across the UK can access the scheme, which will run until the end of April 2021, with employees receiving 80% of their usual salary for hours not worked, up to £2,500 per month. As at 31 December, provisional statistics show that there were about 15,300 employments furloughed in Bolton North East, Bolton South East, and Bolton West, representing a roughly 12% takeup rate among eligible employments.

Businesses across the UK have also received billions in loans, tax deferrals, Business Rates relief, and general and sector-specific grants. Individuals and families have benefited from increased welfare payments, enhanced Statutory Sick Pay, a stay on repossession proceedings and mortgage holidays.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to help protect homeowners who have exhausted the six-month mortgage payment holiday from having their homes repossessed.

For borrowers that have already taken a full six months payment holiday and who continue to face ongoing financial difficulties, the FCA’s guidance sets out that firms should continue to provide support through tailored forbearance options. This could include granting new mortgage payment holidays. As part of this guidance any forbearance granted beyond six months of payment holidays will be reflected on the consumer’s credit file in the usual manner. As borrowers still requiring assistance after that point could be in serious financial distress the FCA believe it is right that lenders are able to understand their financial position in order to lend responsibly.

We understand this remains an uncertain time, and to reassure homeowners the period that lenders cannot repossess homes for has been extended. The FCA’s guidance released on 17 November sets out that lenders cannot issue a warrant for repossession until after 31 January 2021.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
6th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 28 September 2020 to Question 91828, whether he has made an estimate of the number and proportion of PAYE freelancers who are currently contracted by public service broadcasters who have not been granted furlough by their employer; and whether he is providing financial assistance to those PAYE freelancers.

The information requested is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will (a) conduct and (b) publish an equality impact assessment of the (i) financial and (ii) social measures the Government has taken to support people during the covid-19 outbreak.

The Treasury takes care to pay due regard to the equality impacts of its policy decisions relating to the Covid-19 outbreak, in line with all legal requirements and the Government’s commitment to promoting equality. There are internal procedural requirements and support in place for ensuring that such considerations inform decisions taken by Ministers.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what fiscal steps he is taking to support self-employed people not eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is helping those that have been adversely affected by COVID-19, and has already provided over £13 billion of support. Those not eligible for the SEISS may still be eligible for other elements of the unprecedented package of financial support available. This package includes Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, mortgage holidays, and other business support grants. All 11 million UK self-assessment taxpayers will also be able to benefit from the recently enhanced Time to Pay ‘self-service’ facility to form a 12-month, interest-free payment arrangement for up to £30,000 of self-assessment debt.

Furthermore, the Chancellor has announced additional funding to support cash grants of up to £2,100 per month primarily for businesses in the hospitality, accommodation and leisure sector who may be adversely affected by the restrictions in high-alert level areas. These grants will be available retrospectively for areas which have already been subject to restrictions, and come on top of higher levels of additional business support for Local Authorities moving into Tier 3 which, if scaled up across the country, would be worth more than £1 billion. These grants could benefit about 150,000 businesses in England, including hotels, restaurants, B&Bs and many more which are not legally required to close but have been adversely affected nonetheless by local restrictions.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the adequacy of (a) funding for education and (b) skills provision to support the unemployed.

Treasury Ministers regularly meet with the Secretary of State for Education to discuss education funding. The Government has committed to a £1 billion package to help students catch up on lost learning and £100 million to boost remote education. This is in addition to the £7.1 billion of core funding for schools announced at the 2019 spending round.

On skills provision to support the unemployed, in his Plan for Jobs, the Chancellor announced: new incentives to boost apprenticeships, funding to triple the number of traineeships and sector-based work academy placements, additional investment in the National Careers Service to support more adults with high quality careers guidance, and funding for school and college leavers to study high value courses when there are not employment opportunities available to them.

Additionally, from next April, adults who do not have a full Level 3 qualification will be able to take Level 3 qualifications in high value subjects for free. This support complements existing support for unemployed adults, funded through the Adult Education Budget.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will hold discussions with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the potential merits of reopening business support grant funding schemes for allocation by local authorities.

The Chancellor recently announced that we will be providing additional funding to Local Authorities in Tier 2 areas to allow them to make grants of up to £2,100 per month to hospitality, leisure, and hotel/B&B businesses affected by the restrictions on socialising in those areas.

In addition, any business across England which is legally closed will receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month.

Finally, additional funding has been provided local authorities in Tier 3, to enable them to support businesses which can remain open but which are nonetheless severely affected by restrictions on socialising.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he has taken to ensure that businesses in the wedding industry can access suitable insurance for delays and cancellations resulting from the covid-19 outbreak.

The Government is working closely with the insurers, the trade bodies and regulators to understand what more the industry can do to support firms as the economy reopens. We also continue to gather and monitor information on how different sectors, including the wedding industry, are being affected by the current crisis and the availability of cover.

The Government would need to assess access to insurance alongside any other barriers to a sector re-opening, such as social distancing restrictions, when determining the appropriate course of action.

Wedding operators are eligible for assistance through the wider Government support package if they are in financial difficulty. We continue to keep this package under close review.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
20th Oct 2020
To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, what assessment she has made of the effect of the Government’s covid-19 (a) health restrictions and (b) economic measures on people over the age of 75 years.

We are undertaking a wide range of analysis to support decision making across government. We are keeping Parliament and the wider public updated on the analysis of covid including through several survey publications on business and social impacts available at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-statistics-and-analysis#social-impacts.

More broadly, equality impacts have been identified as part of an ongoing process to support policy development and have been a key part of the decision-making process. The responsibility for equalities impact assessments lies with departments, who take this responsibility very seriously. Impact assessments are kept under review.

Kemi Badenoch
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
18th Sep 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what financial assistance is available to PAYE freelancers whose employers will not register them for support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The Government has committed to an unprecedented package to support individuals through this difficult time. Those not eligible for the CJRS or SEISS may have access to other measures which are designed to ensure that people get help at this time.

The Government has injected an additional £9.3 billion into the welfare system according to OBR estimates. These changes include a £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit (UC) standard allowance and Working Tax Credit basic element, and a nearly £1 billion increase in support for renters through increases to the Local Housing Allowance rates for UC and Housing Benefit claimants.

Jesse Norman
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which Official Development Assistance programmes that his Department funds are targeted at supporting women and girls.

HM Treasury allocates Official Development Assistance budgets to other government departments. The UK’s Gender Equality Act 2014 (an amendment to 2002 International Development Act, IDA), legally requires all overseas development funding to meaningfully consider the impact of how it will contribute to reducing gender inequality.

Steve Barclay
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
7th Jan 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will review the transparency, clarity and regulation of litigation loans for divorces to ensure that customers are fully aware of the implications of those loans before taking them out.

On 1 April 2014, the Government fundamentally reformed regulation of the consumer credit market, transferring regulatory responsibility to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Like other types of credit, litigation funding in the form of credit is regulated by the FCA and therefore its Consumer Credit Sourcebook applies to these products.

The FCA is looking at whether consumer harm needs to be mitigated in this sector and continues to monitor new firms providing credit to fund legal fees.

John Glen
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that students from Myanmar whose visas will soon expire will be able to temporarily stay into the UK until such time as it is safe for them to return to that country.

If an individual continues to meet the requirements of the Student route, they are open to apply to extend their permission. If they are no longer students, but wish to stay in the UK, they can apply for any alternative route for which they qualify.

For individuals who are unable to return to their home country due to the impact of the COVID pandemic they can apply under the Exceptional Assurance process which can be found at the following link;

Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Kevin Foster
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 29 June 2020 to Question 63287 on Home Office: Overseas Aid, how much her Department spent on the (a) End Violence against Children Programme, (b) modern slavery Victim Care Contract and (c) Modern Slavery Fund in each of the last three years; and what her Department's planned spending is for those projects in the next year.

The Home Office Official Development Assistance (ODA) spend in each of the last three years for the End Violence against Children Programme and Modern Slavery Fund are published to https://devtracker.dfid.gov.uk/department/HO.

The Department spend on the ODA element of the Victim Care Contract (VCC) in 2018/19 was £5.8m and £9.24m in 2019/20 – We began reporting the ODA eligible proportion of VCC expenditure in 2018/19.

Home Office planned ODA spend in the next year is dependent on the outcome of the Spending Review.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, which Official Development Assistance programmes that her Department funds focus on supporting women and girls.

The UK’s Gender Equality Act 2014 (an amendment to 2002 International Development Act, IDA), legally requires all overseas development funding to ‘meaningfully consider’ the impact of how it will contribute to reducing gender inequality.

The programmes that the Home Office funds that focus on supporting women and girls are the End Violence against Children Programme, the modern slavery Victim Care Contract, and the Modern Slavery Fund.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when the Government will publish its response to the Transparency in Supply Chains consultation which closed in September 2019.

In response to recommendations of the Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, (published on 22 May 2019), the Home Office ran a public consultation ahead of potential changes to section 54 (transparency in supply chains requirements) of the Modern Slavery Act. The consultation ran from 9 July to 17 September 2019 and sought views on a range of proposals intended to strengthen the reporting requirement. The Government is currently considering the findings of this consultation and will publish a response in due course.

Victoria Atkins
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to clause 20 of the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019, whether a timetable has been agreed for the (a) application, (b) interview and (c) appointment process to appoint a reviewer for the Prevent programme in order to achieve the 18-month timeframe set by that statute.

The Government is committed to the Independent Review of Prevent and launched a full and open recruitment competition to appoint the next Independent Reviewer of Prevent on 27 April 2020. Applications closed on 22 June 2020. Interviews are due to take place in July. The successful candidate will be announced in due course.

We have included in the Counter Terrorism and Sentencing Bill a measure to remove the existing statutory deadline for the Review set out in the Counter Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 while maintaining the legislative commitment to undertake it. This is to ensure that the new Reviewer has sufficient time to complete the Review. The Government aims for the Review to be completed by August 2021.

James Brokenshire
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how much Official Development Assistance his Department was allocated in the financial years (a) 2019-20 and (b) 2020-21; and what estimate his Department has made of the amount of Official Development Assistance his Department will be allocated for the financial year 2021-22.

The Ministry of Defence was allocated £5.5 million in Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding for financial years 2019-20 and 2020-21. Given the Department receives a ring-fenced budget for ODA expenditure, it is expected the allocation for 2021-22 will be similar to the previous two financial years.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
23rd Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether he has allocated Official Development Assistance to any programmes that are targeted at supporting women and girls.

Only a very small proportion of Ministry of Defence expenditure counts as Official Development Assistance. The majority of this is spent on certain categories of Defence education. We have recently implemented measures to improve the representation of women on these educational programmes, in support of the UK National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.

James Heappey
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence)
23rd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent estimate he has made of the number of people awaiting a council property in England.

The number of households in local authorities' waiting lists by local authority and region in each year since 1997 is reported in live table 600 which is published here https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-rents-lettings-and-tenancies. The latest available figures relate to 31 March 2020.

The number of households on the waiting list is not the same as the number of households waiting. Households may apply to multiple authorities and authorities only periodically review their lists to remove households who no longer require housing, so the total number of households on waiting lists is likely to overstate the number of households who still require housing. The frequency of reviews varies considerably and waiting list size may also be affected by other factors.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
22nd Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, if he will publish data on the number of social housing properties bought under the Right-to-Buy scheme in Bolton since 2010.

The number of properties sold to tenants under the Right to Buy scheme by local authorities since 2006-07 can be found in Live Table 691 here https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-social-housing-sales .

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent estimate he has made of the number of homes needed to be built per year to meet demand.

The Government is committed to building one million homes over the course of the Parliament, and in 2019/20 net additions to the housing stock totalled 243,770 – the highest total for over thirty years. The Government recently published a revised standard method for calculating local housing need which is used by Local Planning Authorities in planning for the housing needs in their area.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
19th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many affordable homes were built in Bolton in each year since 2010.

The number of affordable homes delivered by local authority, broken down by new build and acquisitions can be found in Live Table 1011, which can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-affordable-housing-supply.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
1st Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he has taken to support households with rent arrears since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Government has put in place unprecedented measures to protect and support renters during the Covid-19 pandemic, which includes support for households with rent arrears.

Under the Coronavirus Act 2020, landlords are required to give tenants 6 months’ notice except in the most serious circumstances such as anti-social behaviour, fraud and arrears of more than 6 months. Housing possession cases were suspended in the courts from 27 March until 20 September. Landlords are now once again able to progress their claims, and the most serious cases are being prioritised by the courts. To further protect tenants, the Government has changed the law to ensure bailiffs do not enforce evictions in England until 11 January 2021, except in the most serious circumstances such as illegal occupation, anti-social behaviour or rent arrears of more than 9 months accrued before 23 March.

The Government has also put in place an unprecedented financial package, which is supporting renters and ensuring that they can continue to afford their housing costs. This includes support for businesses to pay staff salaries through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has now been extended until March 2021. We have also boosted the welfare system, including increasing Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit by up to £1,040 for the year and increasing Local Housing Allowance rates so that they cover the lowest 30 per cent of market rents. For those who require additional support, Discretionary Housing Payments are available. As announced at the spending round for 2020/21 there is already £180 million for local authorities to distribute in Discretionary Housing Payments for supporting renters with housing costs in the private and social rented sectors.

The Government believes this strikes the right balance between prioritising public health and supporting the most vulnerable renters, while allowing landlords to obtain possession of their property in the most egregious cases.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
17th Nov 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what steps he is taking to protect (a) renters from eviction and (b) homeowners from repossession during the covid-19 outbreak.

The stay on housing possessions ended on 20 September and possession claims can now be actioned through the courts, but evictions will not be enforced apart from in the most serious cases. The Government has now changed the law to ensure that bailiffs do not enforce evictions in England over the period of national restrictions or over the Christmas period. No eviction notices are to be served until 11 January 2021 at the earliest and, given the 14-day notice period required, no evictions are expected to be enforced until 25 January 2021 at the earliest. The only exceptions to this are the most serious circumstances: illegal occupation, false statement, anti-social behaviour, perpetrators of domestic abuse in social housing, where a property is unoccupied following the death of a tenant and extreme rent arrears equivalent to 9 months’ rent with any arrears accrued since 23 March discounted.

To protect homeowners from repossession, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced a moratorium on the enforcement of lender repossession until 31 January 2021, except for in exceptional cases such as a borrower requesting proceedings to continue. For homeowners, mortgage holidays have been extended with applications open to 31 March 2021. Additionally, borrowers that have been affected by Coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday, will be entitled to a six-month holiday. Those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded on their credit file.

Christopher Pincher
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)
21st Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many Crown court cases have been listed for mention in each of the last 18 months.

The table below shows the number of cases which have been listed for mention in the Crown court over the last 18 months:

April 2018 - September 2019

Month

Cases

Apr-18

4588

May-18

4423

Jun-18

4442

Jul-18

4562

Aug-18

4352

Sep-18

4318

Oct-18

4874

Nov-18

4801

Dec-18

3517

Jan-19

4601

Feb-19

4228

Mar-19

4529

Apr-19

4254

May-19

4565

Jun-19

4198

Jul-19

4710

Aug-19

4212

Sep-19

4298

Notes:

1. These data has been extracted from the Crown Court Xhibit database, and run until September-19 in line with published data.

2. Xhibit is a live system and data can change over time.

3. The hearing codes used to extract these data are those recorded by the court listing officer and reflect the hearing type as shown on the daily list.

4. If a case has two or more hearings within the same month it has only been counted once. Should the hearings be on different months they have been counted in each month.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 6 February 2020 to Question 9643 on Debts: VAT, when his Department plans to publish guidance on the circumstances and manner in which a cost equivalent to VAT may be recovered from the debtor under the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) 2014.

As Chris Philip set out in his Answer of 6 February 2020 to Question 9643, the Ministry of Justice intends to publish guidance on the circumstances and manner in which a cost equivalent to VAT may be recovered from a debtor under the Taking Control of Goods legislation, as soon as possible.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
11th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answer of 29 October 2019 to Question HL133 on Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014, what his policy is on debtors being charged VAT.

Creditors are the recipients of High Court enforcement services, which are subject to VAT. Therefore, creditors are liable for VAT on the fees charged by High Court Enforcement Officers. Creditors who are VAT registered are in turn able to recover VAT from HMRC, subject to the normal rules.

However, there are circumstances under the Taking Control of Goods legislation, where this cost may be recovered from a debtor as part of enforcement costs. The Ministry of Justice is currently clarifying the circumstances and manner in which a cost equivalent to VAT may be recovered from a debtor and intends to publish guidance on this as soon as possible.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what risk assessments took place to ensure that workplaces were suitable and safe for the introduction of digital working in court rooms using the (a) Digital Markup Service and (b) common platform.

I am answering these questions together.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service’s Health and Safety policy requires that a trained general risk assessor inspects each court room on a quarterly basis to ensure it is compliant with health and safety standards, and to report any non-compliance so that remedial work can be undertaken.

Where Display Screen Equipment is used, including courtrooms across the estate into which we are continuing to introduce digital ways of working as part of our Reform Programme, the policy requires that workstations must comply with the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 (as amended).

Accordingly, the designated Senior Person on Site at all of our court and tribunal buildings is required to ensure that each workstation is routinely assessed; any non-compliance is reported and remedied; and any risk is appropriately mitigated.

We do not collate centrally details of the numbers of courtroom assessments that have taken place over particular periods. Instead, the HMCTS Corporate Safety & Security team seeks and receives regular assurance from senior managers about compliance with these and wider requirements.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
10th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many court rooms have been assessed for (a) general health and safety standards and (b) their suitability for digital working in the last 12 months.

I am answering these questions together.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service’s Health and Safety policy requires that a trained general risk assessor inspects each court room on a quarterly basis to ensure it is compliant with health and safety standards, and to report any non-compliance so that remedial work can be undertaken.

Where Display Screen Equipment is used, including courtrooms across the estate into which we are continuing to introduce digital ways of working as part of our Reform Programme, the policy requires that workstations must comply with the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992 (as amended).

Accordingly, the designated Senior Person on Site at all of our court and tribunal buildings is required to ensure that each workstation is routinely assessed; any non-compliance is reported and remedied; and any risk is appropriately mitigated.

We do not collate centrally details of the numbers of courtroom assessments that have taken place over particular periods. Instead, the HMCTS Corporate Safety & Security team seeks and receives regular assurance from senior managers about compliance with these and wider requirements.

Lucy Frazer
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
5th Feb 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of introducing speeding fines linked to the income of the offender.

Courts are required by statute to take into account the financial circumstances of the offender, insofar as these can be assessed, when setting a fine for any offence including speeding offences. Guidelines issued by the independent Sentencing Council require the court to assess the seriousness of a speeding offence based upon the speed of the vehicle in relation to the speed limit of the road. Once the seriousness is established a fine amount is set which relates to the income of the offender.

The relevant sentencing guideline is set out below:

https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/offences/magistrates-court/item/speeding-revised-2017/

Where an individual fails to provide information about their financial circumstances, the court may assess the fine amount as it sees fit and, the sentencing guideline provides for the court to fall back on an average earnings figure.

Full details on fines can be found here:

https://www.sentencingcouncil.org.uk/explanatory-material/magistrates-court/item/fines-and-financial-orders/approach-to-the-assessment-of-fines-2/1-approach-to-the-assessment-of-fines-introduction/

In simple cases the police have the power to offer a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN), which consists of a fixed non-means-tested fine, and penalty points. The Department for Transport is responsible for fixing the penalty levels for speeding related FPNs. FPNs do not take means into account as they are designed to operate as a simple on-the-spot process. Individuals may refuse a FPN, in which case the matter may be taken before a court.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the average length of time is between the listing of a case to a first hearing for non-custody trials in each court circuit in England and Wales.

The information requested could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many Crown court sitting days there were in each of the court circuits in England and Wales in (a) 2017, (b) 2018 and (c) 2019.

The number of days sat in the Crown Court for each of the court circuits in England and Wales in (a) 2017, (b) 2018 and (c) 2019 are set out in the attached spreadsheet.

Sitting days are based on the number of cases we expect the court to hear and, with fewer cases making it to the Crown Court, were reduced accordingly. The number of outstanding Crown Court cases has reduced by almost 40% since 2014.

We keep sitting days under constant review and in November allocated an extra 850 days to the Crown Court to ease immediate pressure on the court. We have allocated a minimum of 87,000 to inform listing decisions in the first half of 2020/21 which is an increase of 4,700 on last year’s allocation.

Notes:

  • The attached HMCTS data covers the number of days in which a Crown Court room was sat by any number of judges.

  • In some circumstances, judges will ‘share’ a courtroom to conduct judicial business; in most instances this will involve a returning judge for sentencing purposes only. These figures may therefore differ from the number of judicial sitting days at Crown Court as published in MoJ official statistics (which can, for example, also include days sat in chambers).

The information for 2019 covers January to March, as the National Statistics on judge sitting days for 2019 are due to be released in June 2020. Access to statistics before their publication is strictly controlled, with rules and principles on pre-release access set out in the Pre-release Access to Official Statistics Order 2008.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
30th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many Crown court sitting days there were in each month of (a) 2017, (b) 2018 and (c) 2019.

The number of days sat in the Crown Court for each month of (a) 2017, (b) 2018, and (c) 2019 are set out in the attached spreadsheet.

Sitting days are based on the number of cases we expect the court to hear and, with fewer cases making it to the Crown Court, were reduced accordingly.The number of outstanding Crown Court cases has reduced by almost 40% since 2014.

We keep sitting days under constant review and in November allocated an extra 850 days to the Crown Court for this financial year to ease immediate pressure on the court.We have allocated a minimum of 87,000 to inform listing decisions in the first half of 2020/21 which is an increase of 4,700 on last year’s allocation.

Notes:

  • The attached HMCTS data covers the number of days in which a Crown Court room was sat by any number of judges.
  • In some circumstances, judges will ‘share’ a courtroom to conduct judicial business; in most instances this will involve a returning judge for sentencing purposes only. These figures may therefore differ from the number of judicial sitting days at Crown Court as published in MoJ official statistics (which can, for example, also include days sat in chambers).

The information for 2019 covers January to March, as the National Statistics on judge sitting days for 2019 are due to be released in June 2020. Access to statistics before their publication is strictly controlled, with rules and principles on pre-release access set out in the Pre-release Access to Official Statistics Order 2008.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the average length of time was between a three day trial being listed and the first hearing of that case at (a) Hove Crown Court and (b) Southwark Court Court in each of the last three years.

This information could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many cases had to be rescheduled on the day of a hearing in that case as a result of insufficient availability of court space in each month of 2019.

This information could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many cases had to be rescheduled on the day of a hearing in that case due to insufficient availability of court space in each month of 2018.

This information could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many cases had to be rescheduled on the day of a hearing in that case due to insufficient availability of court space in each month of 2017.

This information could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether he is taking steps to compensate debtors who have been charged VAT on debts under the incorrect application of the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) 2014 Regulations.

As the recipient of High Court enforcement services, which are subject to VAT, creditors are liable for VAT on the fees charged by High Court Enforcement Officers. Creditors who are VAT registered are in turn able to recover VAT from HMRC, subject to the normal rules.

Under the Taking Control of Goods legislation, however, there are circumstances where this cost may be recovered from a debtor as part of enforcement costs. The Ministry of Justice is in the process of clarifying the circumstances and manner in which a cost equivalent to VAT may be recovered from a debtor and intends to publish guidance on this shortly.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether HM Courts and Tribunals Service conducts comparative assessments of the time from cases first being listed in the Crown court to first hearing dates for each court centre.

At court house level, HM Courts and Tribunals Service conducts comparative assessments of the time from offence to charge, charge to first listing, first listing to completion. These are published national statistics and the latest data can be found within the Criminal Court Case Timeliness Tool at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-court-statistics-quarterly-july-to-september-2019

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what proportion of cases were heard in more than one Crown Court in 2019.

The information requested is not available due to disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what methodology HM Courts and Tribunals Service uses for comparing the length of time taken at each court between the first listing of a case and the first hearing; and if he will publish that data.

Data on time from first listing to completion is published in the Criminal Court Statistics: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/criminal-court-statistics. This includes the Crown Court Case Timeliness Tool, which provides first listing to completion statistics for each Crown Court.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what criteria his Department uses to assess whether the average time from first listing of a case to trial in a Crown court is (a) increasing and (b) decreasing; and whether the length of that period is assessed in each Crown court in England.

Data on time from first listing to completion is published in the Criminal Court Statistics: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/criminal-court-statistics. This includes the Crown Court Case Timeliness Tool, which provides first listing to completion statistics for each Crown Court.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the average time was between the first appearance of a case in the Crown Court to the commencement of the trial in (a) Southwark Crown Court, (b) Lancaster Crown Court and (c) Brighton Crown Court in 2019.

The information requested is not available due to disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
27th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what proportion of listed cases are listed as floaters each month.

Listing is a judicial matter and approaches vary from court to court. There is not a comprehensive data set available that would provide an answer to this question.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many cases were listed in each court in England in each month in 2019.

The number of cases listed in each court in England in each month in 2019 is provided in the attached tables at annex A.

Note:

The attached data are broken down by court type.

The data contained within these tables are Management Information extracted from live case management systems. They can, therefore, change over time, and are not subject to the same level of checks as those applied to official statistics.

The data contained within these tables count each hearing. Some cases will, therefore, appear in these figures more than once.

Each dataset includes its own set of caveats and exclusions.

The timeframe of these data is in line with published MI data (January-19 to Sept-19)

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
22nd Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, pursuant to the Answers of 20 January to Questions 3722 and 3721, whether a timetable has been set by when the correct statistics will be made available for (a) judge and (b) recorder sitting hours; and whether he expects those sitting hours to be less in total than in 2018.

The official statistics for judge sitting days (tables 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3 of the Civil Justice Statistics Quarterly, January to March 2019) were withdrawn on 5 September 2019, due to data discrepancies that were discovered after publication on 6 June 2019 and deemed potentially misleading to users. These discrepancies remain under investigation and, in line with the Code of Practice on Statistics, the Chief Statistician and Head of Profession decided to withdraw these tables until the investigations were complete.

The corrected figures will be published in the March 2020 publication if our investigation shows that the corrected figures meet the expected quality standards before then; if the appropriate quality standards cannot be met by then, the correct figures will be published in June 2020. This is the date when 2019 sitting days figures are due to be published as part of the normal publication cycle.

Until these investigations and corrections have been concluded, it is not possible to make a comparison against 2018 data.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many adjournments took place in (a) Crown courts and (b) Magistrates' courts in each month of 2019.

The number of adjourned cases in the magistrates’ and Crown Court fluctuates from month to month and is dependent upon the volume and type of cases received and the plea entered.


The information requested about the number of cases which have been adjourned in (a) Crown courts and Magistrates’ courts in each month of 2019 can be found in the table below

Cases Adjourned January to September 2019

Magistrates

Crown

Jan-19

53,725

13,542

Feb-19

46,461

12,486

Mar-19

48,943

13,402

Apr-19

48,887

13,223

May-19

51,178

14,010

Jun-19

47,845

12,593

Jul-19

55,025

14,161

Aug-19

50,499

12,910

Sep-19

49,827

13,189

Cases can be adjourned for a number of reasons including when counsel request more time to prepare their case or when more information is required ahead of sentencing.

Notes:
Data are taken from a live management information system and can change over time

Data are management information and are not subject to the same level of checks as official statistics

The data provided is the most recent available and for that reason might differ slightly from any previously published information

Magistrates: The data provided is a count of Criminal Cases Heard, rather than Defendants, where the following Libra Result Code Sets were present: ADJ, ADJAREM, ADJR, ADJSD, ADJYREM, RCB, REMITA, REMITY, RIC, ROC, ROREC, RUB, SUMRTH, SUMRTO

Therefore, the data supplied includes cases which were Adjourned, Remanded in Custody/On Bail or Remitted for a further hearing as well as cases originally listed under the Single Justice Procedure which were subsequently adjourned for a Summons to be issued for a Court Hearing (SUMRTH & SUMRTO).
The data is in line with PQ 4971 & 7111, although the data has been refreshed
Crown: A hearing has been counted as adjourned where the data field IS_ADJOURNED has been marked 'Y'. If a case involves more than one defendant and only one has their case adjourned then it has been counted in the above figures. DATA in line with PQ 4971& 7111, although the data has been refreshed.
For both the Magistrates' and Crown Court, if a case is adjourned in different months then each adjournment is counted once for each month.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many cases cracked on the day of the trial in (a) Crown courts and (b) Magistrates' courts in each month of 2019.

The information requested about how many cracked cases there have been in each month in 2019:

Please find attached tables providing:

- Number of cracked trials at the magistrates’ court and Crown Court in England and Wales in each month in 2019.

Table 1: Number of cracked trials in criminal courts, by court type and month, 20191,2,3,4

Magistrates' court

Crown Court

January

4,241

890

February

3,632

711

March

3,829

717

April

3,558

702

May

3,434

668

June

3,367

696

July (p)

3,996

776

August (p)

3,184

608

September (p)

3,722

763

Notes: (p) = provisionald.

1) The total number of cracked trials listed during the reporting period indicate

2) Cracked trial is a trial that does not go ahead on the day as an outcome is reached and so does not need to be re-scheduled. This occurs when an acceptable plea is offered by the defendant or the prosecution offers no evidence against the defendant.

3) Latest published data available to September 2019.

Source: Criminal Court Statistics (PQ 3718)

The Ministry of Justice publishes annual and quarterly data on cracked trials in England and Wales, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-court-statistics-quarterly-july-to-september-2019.

In these statistics a cracked trial is defined as: “a trial which does not commence on the scheduled date and the trial is not rescheduled, as it is no longer required. Cracked trials are usually the result of an acceptable guilty plea being entered by the defendant on the day or the case ending as the prosecution decides not to proceed (offers no evidence) against the defendant.”

It is not possible to separately identify if the trial was cracked on the day of trial or at any prior point from the data centrally collated by the Ministry of Justice. As a result, identifying the proportion of trials that were ‘cracked on the first day of the trial’ would require a search of court records, which would be of disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many cases were cracked in (a) Crown courts and (b) Magistrates' courts in each month of 2019.

The information requested about how many cracked cases there have been in each month in 2019:

Please find attached tables providing:

- Number of cracked trials at the magistrates’ court and Crown Court in England and Wales in each month in 2019.

Table 1: Number of cracked trials in criminal courts, by court type and month, 20191,2,3,4

Magistrates' court

Crown Court

January

4,241

890

February

3,632

711

March

3,829

717

April

3,558

702

May

3,434

668

June

3,367

696

July (p)

3,996

776

August (p)

3,184

608

September (p)

3,722

763

Notes: (p) = provisionald.

1) The total number of cracked trials listed during the reporting period indicate

2) Cracked trial is a trial that does not go ahead on the day as an outcome is reached and so does not need to be re-scheduled. This occurs when an acceptable plea is offered by the defendant or the prosecution offers no evidence against the defendant.

3) Latest published data available to September 2019.

Source: Criminal Court Statistics (PQ 3718)

The Ministry of Justice publishes annual and quarterly data on cracked trials in England and Wales, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-court-statistics-quarterly-july-to-september-2019.

In these statistics a cracked trial is defined as: “a trial which does not commence on the scheduled date and the trial is not rescheduled, as it is no longer required. Cracked trials are usually the result of an acceptable guilty plea being entered by the defendant on the day or the case ending as the prosecution decides not to proceed (offers no evidence) against the defendant.”

It is not possible to separately identify if the trial was cracked on the day of trial or at any prior point from the data centrally collated by the Ministry of Justice. As a result, identifying the proportion of trials that were ‘cracked on the first day of the trial’ would require a search of court records, which would be of disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how much was spent on consultancies by (a) HM Courts & Tribunals Service and (b) his Department in each month of 2019.

Please find below the total spend on consultancy for HMCTS and for MoJ in total for the period January 19 to November 19. Please note the spend is taken from our spend analysis tool and is an accurate figure of what has been invoiced and paid during the period. Invoice and payment data for December 19 is not yet available.

Consultants are engaged to deliver short-term on projects where specialist skills required are not available within the organisation. By making use of consultants, the department can save on salary, national insurance and pension costs associated with permanently employing individuals whose skills may not be needed after a set period

HMCTS Only

All MoJ (inc HMCTS)

Jan_19

£753,599.80

£826,620.80

Feb_19

£48,755.00

£731,940.55

Mar_19

£2,292,766.92

£2,482,758.97

Apr_19

£1,677,992.05

£2,079,137.53

May_19

£1,052,152.70

£1,551,874.13

Jun_19

£158,923.48

£326,955.16

Jul_19

£979,392.51

£1,150,230.51

Aug_19

£79,558.52

£338,141.85

Sep_19

£1,214,269.72

£1,413,668.13

Oct_19

£1,355,668.58

£1,883,496.23

Nov_19

£144,059.67

£1,016,306.27

Total

£9,757,138.95

£13,801,130.13

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many recorder hours were (a) sat in each month of 2019 and (b) are expected to be sat in 2020.

We hold data in terms of ‘sitting days’ rather than hours.

(a) The official statistics for judge sitting days (tables 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3 of the Civil Justice Statistics Quarterly, January to March 2019) were withdrawn on 5 September 2019, due to data discrepancies that were discovered after publication on 6 June 2019 and deemed potentially misleading to users. These discrepancies remain under investigation and, in line with the Code of Practice on Statistics, the Chief Statistician and Head of Profession decided to withdraw these tables until the investigations were complete. The revised figures will be published in due course, and will provide the total sitting days in Family, Civil and Crown courts.

(b) We have not been provided with sitting day allocations for financial year 2020/21, but expect that all Recorders will be offered sufficient days to maintain and build up their skills and experience.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many days judges sat in total in England in each month of 2019.

The official statistics for judge sitting days (tables 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3 of the Civil Justice Statistics Quarterly, January to March 2019) were withdrawn on 5 September 2019, due to data discrepancies that were discovered after publication on 6 June 2019 and deemed potentially misleading to users. These discrepancies remain under investigation and, in line with the Code of Practice on Statistics, the Chief Statistician and Head of Profession decided to withdraw these tables until the investigations were complete. The revised figures will be published in due course, and will provide the total sitting days in Family, Civil and Crown courts.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
15th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how much was spent on communications and public relations by (a) his Department and (b) HM Courts & Tribunals Service in 2019.

In the financial year 2018/19 the departments communications budget was £7.94m. This delivered:

  • A 24 hour, 7 days per week media relations operation for MOJ, HMPPS, HMCTS, LAA, OPG and CICA.
  • A strategic communication and campaigns function, delivering campaigns for MOJ and HMG priority policy areas.
  • A digital communications function to support key MOJ announcements, policies and campaigns and to help increase citizen engagement.
  • A corporate communications function, delivering internal campaigns to increase staff engagement and productivity in MOJ, OPG and LAA.
  • An HMPPS communications function, supporting over 49,000 prison and probation staff.
  • Services from the cross-government D102 design agency.

Regarding HMCTS expenditure, I refer you to the previous answer for PQ6328 answered on 31st October 2019, in which HM Courts and Tribunals Service expenditure for last three financial years was provided.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)
14th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Answer of 4 November 2019 to Question 7113 on Prosecutions, what proportion of trials were cracked on the first day of the trial in each month in (a) 2019, (b) 2018 and (c) 2010.

The Ministry of Justice publishes annual and quarterly data on cracked trials in England and Wales, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/criminal-court-statistics-quarterly-july-to-september-2019.

In these statistics a cracked trial is defined as: “a trial which does not commence on the scheduled date and the trial is not rescheduled, as it is no longer required. Cracked trials are usually the result of an acceptable guilty plea being entered by the defendant on the day or the case ending as the prosecution decides not to proceed (offers no evidence) against the defendant.”

It is not possible to separately identify if the trial was cracked on the day of trial or at any prior point from the data centrally collated by the Ministry of Justice. As a result, identifying the proportion of trials that were ‘cracked on the first day of the trial’ would require a search of court records, which would be of disproportionate cost.

Chris Philp
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)