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Written Question
Local Goverment: Coronavirus
16 Sep 2021

Questioner: Lord Moylan (CON - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Greenhalgh on 7 December 2020 (HL10627), when they expect to publish the three-month review of the spending of the £30 million allocated on 8 October 2020 to help local authorities in England fund their COVID-19 compliance and enforcement work.

Answered by Lord Greenhalgh

In November 2020, a £30 million ringfenced Compliance and Enforcement Grant was allocated to all district and unitary authorities in England to spend on COVID-19 compliance and enforcement related activities. In January 2021 MHCLG issued an activity and spend survey to all councils in receipt of the grant. The responses from this informed a review of how the grant was being utilised.

The Department have no plans to release the findings of the three-month review. Information was provided in confidence by local authorities during the grant period to support the development of Government policy. The information gathered as part of the review was used to inform successive iterations of the Local authority COVID-19 compliance and enforcement good practice framework’, (attached) which was archived on 19 July 2021 but it still available for reference.


Written Question
District Councils: Liverpool
27 Jul 2021

Questioner: Lord Storey (LDEM - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Liverpool City Council: Best Value inspection report by Max Caller CBE, published on 24 March, which recommended that single-member district council wards be implemented in Liverpool for 2023, whether they intend to proceed with the district council elections in that city in 2022 with the existing ward arrangements.

Answered by Lord Greenhalgh

On 10 June, the Secretary of State announced via a Written Ministerial Statement his intention to make an Order using his powers in the Local Government Act 2000 providing for whole council elections from 2023. He confirmed that the Order would postpone for one year the May 2022 elections of one third of Liverpool City Councillors and their extend terms of office accordingly. The announcement can be viewed (attached) here:https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-06-10/hcws84

In this announcement, the Secretary of State also clarified that he had directed the Council to consider and consult upon a new submission to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE), as part of the current boundary review, to include consideration of a proposal to reduce the number of Councillors to those consistent with elections on the basis of predominantly single member wards; that is single member wards across the whole Council area save where the LGBCE consider a multi member ward is essential to balance their statutory duties of delivering electoral equality, reflecting interests and identities of local communities, and of promoting effective and convenient local government. The new warding arrangements following the boundary review will be in place ahead of the 2023 elections.


Written Question
Unitary Councils: Somerset
5 Jul 2021

Questioner: Ian Liddell-Grainger (CON - Bridgwater and West Somerset)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what assessment he has made of the implications of the outcome of the referendum held by the district Councils in Somerset on the matter of unitary authorities.

Answered by Luke Hall

On 27 April I said in response to the Hon Member’s questions of 20 April (UIN 184363, 184364, 184365, 184366, 184367, 184368) that thousands of responses had been received to the consultation on local government reorganisation in Somerset, and that these responses were being analysed. I can now confirm that over 5,000 responses have been received from this consultation on the two proposals for unitary local government in Somerset.

The Secretary of State is now carefully considering the reorganisation proposals for Somerset to decide which, if any, should be implemented, subject to Parliamentary approval. In doing so, he will have regard to all the relevant information available to him, including the results of the local poll, and to all the representations he has received, including representations about the local poll and its conduct.

The Secretary of State expects to announce his decisions on the unitary proposals before the summer along with a summary of consultation responses.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Quarantine
27 May 2021

Questioner: Imran Ahmad Khan (IND - Wakefield)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the £12 million of additional funding for self-isolation announced by his Department on 24 May 2021, how much of that funding will be allocated to (a) Wakefield Metropolitan District Council and (b) councils in the West Yorkshire region.

Answered by Jo Churchill

Funding to support self-isolation pilots is not currently due to be allocated directly to Wakefield Metropolitan District Council or other councils in the West Yorkshire region. This pilot funding is in addition to the significant investment in supporting local outbreak management through the Contain Outbreak Management Fund (COMF). Local authorities should use the COMF funding first before submitting a bid for pilot funding.

Of the £12 million funding allocated to support self-isolation pilots across areas in England with higher COVID-19 prevalence rates, £548,592 has been allocated to undertake a pilot which will be run across the whole of the Yorkshire and Humber region.


Written Question
Levelling Up Fund and UK Shared Prosperity Fund
27 Apr 2021

Questioner: Rachael Maskell (LAB - York Central)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what support he is making available to applicants for applications to the (a) Levelling Up fund and (b) UK Shared Prosperity fund.

Answered by Luke Hall

To support applicants to the Levelling Up Fund, capacity funding will be allocated to the local authorities measured as highest need in England, and all local authorities in Scotland and Wales to help them build a new relationship with the UK Government. This capacity funding will help support the relevant local authorities develop high-quality bids for the Fund and ensure that investment is targeted where it is needed most. In Northern Ireland, there will be a different approach to capacity funding based on the funding landscape. This will see all district councils and some other identified bidding entities receive capacity funding.

We are reserving up to £14 million of the UK Community Renewal Fund as capacity funding to support local places to prepare for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. This will be made available later in 2021 and we will publish further details, including eligibility for capacity funding, nearer the time.


Written Question
Local Government: Somerset
27 Apr 2021

Questioner: Ian Liddell-Grainger (CON - Bridgwater and West Somerset)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, how many responses his Department received to its consultation on local government reform in Somerset, which closed on 19 April 2021, were recorded in favour of Somerset's four district councils' Stronger Somerset proposal.

Answered by Luke Hall

Thousands of responses have been received to the consultation on local government reorganisation in Somerset which closed on Monday 19 April. The Secretary of State will now be carefully considering the reorganisation proposals for Somerset to decide which, if any, should be implemented, subject to Parliamentary approval. In doing so he will have regard to all relevant information available to him, including the representations from the consultation which are now being analysed, and all other representations he has received.

He intends before the summer to announce his decisions on the unitary proposals and publish a summary of consultation responses.


Written Question
National Leisure Recovery Fund
13 Apr 2021

Questioner: Alison McGovern (LAB - Wirral South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to his Department's press release entitled Government announces allocation of £100 million to support recovery of leisure centres, published on 20 March 2021, what steps he has taken to ensure that the process of allocating recovery funding is (a) equitable and (b) transparent.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

The National Leisure Recovery Fund sought to support eligible public sector leisure centres to reopen to the public, giving the sport and physical activity sector the best chance of recovery to a position of sustainable operation over the medium term.

A total of £100 million was available as a biddable fund to eligible local authorities in England, which was allocated in a single funding round. Eligible local authorities include: those in England who hold responsibility for the provision of leisure services, those who have outsourced their leisure provision to an external body to and those whose outsourced leisure arrangements have ended since 20 March 2020 and services are now delivered as an in-house function. This is in addition to the wider financial support provided to councils throughout the pandemic.

To help ensure an equitable distribution of the National Leisure Recovery Fund, a Notional Funding Allocation was calculated for each eligible local authority and funding awards were only made in excess of the Notional Funding Allocation in the most exceptional circumstances. The basis of the Notional Funding Allocation is a per capita allocation. This has then been adjusted to take into consideration physical activity levels, number of facilities and health outcome indicators.

Government has worked closely with the Local Government Association (LGA), ukactive, the District Councils' Network, Community Leisure UK, Chief Cultural and Leisure Officers Association and others to make sure the application and funding process is as fast and simple as possible.


Written Question
National Leisure Recovery Fund
13 Apr 2021

Questioner: Alison McGovern (LAB - Wirral South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to his Department's press release entitled Government announces allocation of £100 million to support recovery of leisure centres, published on 20 March 2021, what assessment he has made of the potential effect of that funding on trends in the level of leisure centre closures; and if he will make a statement.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

The National Leisure Recovery Fund sought to support eligible public sector leisure centres to reopen to the public, giving the sport and physical activity sector the best chance of recovery to a position of sustainable operation over the medium term.

A total of £100 million was available as a biddable fund to eligible local authorities in England, which was allocated in a single funding round. Eligible local authorities include: those in England who hold responsibility for the provision of leisure services, those who have outsourced their leisure provision to an external body to and those whose outsourced leisure arrangements have ended since 20 March 2020 and services are now delivered as an in-house function. This is in addition to the wider financial support provided to councils throughout the pandemic.

To help ensure an equitable distribution of the National Leisure Recovery Fund, a Notional Funding Allocation was calculated for each eligible local authority and funding awards were only made in excess of the Notional Funding Allocation in the most exceptional circumstances. The basis of the Notional Funding Allocation is a per capita allocation. This has then been adjusted to take into consideration physical activity levels, number of facilities and health outcome indicators.

Government has worked closely with the Local Government Association (LGA), ukactive, the District Councils' Network, Community Leisure UK, Chief Cultural and Leisure Officers Association and others to make sure the application and funding process is as fast and simple as possible.


Written Question
Levelling Up Fund: Northern Ireland
9 Apr 2021

Questioner: Lord Browne of Belmont (DUP - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to support infrastructure projects in Northern Ireland through the Levelling Up Fund.

Answered by Lord Greenhalgh

The £4.8 billion Levelling Up Fund will invest in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, including regenerating town centres and high streets, upgrading local transport, and investing in cultural and heritage assets.

The Fund will operate UK-wide, extending the benefits of funding for priority local infrastructure across all regions and nations.

In Northern Ireland, the UK Government will accept bids at the most local level, from a range of local applicants, including but not limited to businesses, voluntary and community sector organisations, district councils, the Northern Ireland Executive and other public sector bodies.


Written Question
Coronavirus: Fines
12 Mar 2021

Questioner: Harriet Harman (LAB - Camberwell and Peckham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how many people have been designated powers to issue fixed penalty notices under paragraph 9 (a)(iii) of Regulation 11 of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020; how many fixed penalty notices have been issued by those people; and for what reason those powers are required.

Answered by Nadine Dorries

District councils, county councils, London borough councils, the Common Council of the City of London, in its capacity as a local authority, and the Council of the Isles of Scilly were delegated enforcement powers under the equivalent designation provisions in a number of previous Coronavirus Restrictions Regulations.

Paragraph 5 of Schedule 5 of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020 (the All Tiers Regulations) carries across these designations to continue under the All Tiers Regulations. The specific power in 9 (a)(iii) of (the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 has not been used to make designations to date. However, it is considered necessary to retain this option, to ensure that enforcement can remain comprehensive.


Written Question
Property Flood Resilience Scheme
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Layla Moran (LDEM - Oxford West and Abingdon)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will extend the Property Flood Resilience Grants Scheme to cover people who have been flooded since December 2020.

Answered by Rebecca Pow

Flooding has a devastating impact on communities, businesses and individuals. The Government closely monitors the impact on affected areas.

The decision to trigger financial support from central Government is taken collectively by Ministers in the event of severe weather events with significant impacts on a wide area. In reaching a decision, Ministers consider factors such as severity, duration and extent of the impacts.

During unprecedented flooding in the winter of 2019/2020, the Government announced Property Flooding Resilience (PFR) repair grants of up to £5,000 to help eligible properties affected by floods become more flood resilient. The repair grants apply to those affected in district or unitary authorities that have 25 or more severely flooded properties. Currently, 52 district and unitary councils with over 7700 properties are eligible in England for the November 2019 and February 2020 PFR repair schemes.

The reported impacts during events since December 2020 suggest the numbers of internally flooded properties have been lower than would justify activation of the PFR Repair Scheme. With localised flooding incidents, local authorities are expected to have well established contingency arrangements in place and to be able to support their local communities from within existing budgets. Councils have discretionary powers to fund grants or loans for home improvements, this can include funding for PFR measures.


Written Question
Leisure: Coronavirus
8 Mar 2021

Questioner: Colleen Fletcher (LAB - Coventry North East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department has taken to support leisure centres in Coventry during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

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

The National Leisure Recovery Fund seeks to support eligible public sector leisure centres to reopen to the public, giving the sport and physical activity sector the best chance of recovery to a position of sustainable operation over the medium term. A total of £100 million was available as a biddable fund to eligible local authorities in England. Coventry City Council will be notified shortly of the outcome of their application to the scheme.

Government has worked closely with the Local Government Association (LGA), ukactive, the District Councils' Network, Community Leisure UK, Chief Cultural and Leisure Officers Association and others to make sure the application and funding process is as fast and simple as possible.


Written Question
Leisure: Coronavirus
25 Feb 2021

Questioner: Sajid Javid (CON - Bromsgrove)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps his Department is taking to ensure leisure services operated by district councils are supported during the covid-19 pandemic.

Answered by Nigel Huddleston

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

The National Leisure Recovery Fund seeks to support eligible public sector leisure centres to reopen to the public, giving the sport and physical activity sector the best chance of recovery to a position of sustainable operation over the medium term.

A total of £100 million is available as a biddable fund to eligible local authorities in England, which will be allocated in a single funding round covering the period 1 December 2020 to 31 March 2021. Eligible local authorities include: those in England who hold responsibility for the provision of leisure services, those who have outsourced their leisure provision to an external body to and those whose outsourced leisure arrangements have ended since 20 March 2020 and services are now delivered as an in-house function. This is in addition to the wider financial support provided to councils throughout the pandemic.

Government has worked closely with the Local Government Association (LGA), ukactive, the District Councils' Network, Community Leisure UK, Chief Cultural and Leisure Officers Association and others to make sure the application and funding process is as fast and simple as possible.

In addition, the Local Government Income Compensation Scheme looks to compensate authorities for eligible losses income from sales, fees and charges.


Written Question
Floods: Grants
12 Feb 2021

Questioner: Daniel Kawczynski (CON - Shrewsbury and Atcham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to fairly assess people who have been affected by flooding on an individual basis for grant funding.

Answered by Rebecca Pow

Flooding has a devastating impact on communities, businesses and individuals.

With localised flooding incidents, local authorities are expected to have well established contingency arrangements in place and to be able to respond and support their local communities from within existing budgets.

The decision to trigger financial support from Government is taken collectively by Ministers in the event of a severe weather events with significant wide area impacts. In reaching a decision, Ministers consider factors such as severity, duration and extent of the impacts. The reported impacts from Storm Christoph up until now have been lower than would justify activation of the Flood Recovery Framework of support schemes. We continue to monitor the impact on affected areas and will assess whether further support is needed.

During the unprecedented flooding in November 2019 and the storms which followed in winter 2019/2020, the Government announced Property Flooding Resilience (PFR) repair grants of up to £5,000 to help eligible properties affected by floods (homes, charities and businesses) become more flood resilient. The repair grants apply to those affected in district or unitary authorities that have 25 or more severely flooded properties. The grants are administered by eligible local authorities, with Defra reimbursing local authorities for grants paid for eligible properties. Local authorities are responsible for assessing eligibility of applications. The most recent figures show that 47 district or unitary councils with over 7000 properties are eligible in England for the November 2019 and February 2020 PFR repair schemes. This includes 458 properties in the county of Shropshire.

The Government has doubled the amount it invests in the flood and coastal defence programme in England to £5.2 billion over six years. This will better protect a further 336,000 properties including homes and non-residential properties such as schools and hospitals. On 1 February 2021, Defra published a Call for Evidence to explore whether any specific changes should be made to strengthen the assessment of local circumstances in this programme. This includes looking at potential changes to the funding formula to provide further benefit to frequently flooded communities. It will also explore further ways to increase the uptake of property flood resilience measures to enable householders and businesses to better prepare for flooding. The Call for Evidence closes on 29 March 2021.


Written Question
Floods: Grants
12 Feb 2021

Questioner: Daniel Kawczynski (CON - Shrewsbury and Atcham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will take steps to allocate grant funding to those who have been affected the most by flooding.

Answered by Rebecca Pow

Flooding has a devastating impact on communities, businesses and individuals.

With localised flooding incidents, local authorities are expected to have well established contingency arrangements in place and to be able to respond and support their local communities from within existing budgets.

The decision to trigger financial support from Government is taken collectively by Ministers in the event of a severe weather events with significant wide area impacts. In reaching a decision, Ministers consider factors such as severity, duration and extent of the impacts. The reported impacts from Storm Christoph up until now have been lower than would justify activation of the Flood Recovery Framework of support schemes. We continue to monitor the impact on affected areas and will assess whether further support is needed.

During the unprecedented flooding in November 2019 and the storms which followed in winter 2019/2020, the Government announced Property Flooding Resilience (PFR) repair grants of up to £5,000 to help eligible properties affected by floods (homes, charities and businesses) become more flood resilient. The repair grants apply to those affected in district or unitary authorities that have 25 or more severely flooded properties. The grants are administered by eligible local authorities, with Defra reimbursing local authorities for grants paid for eligible properties. Local authorities are responsible for assessing eligibility of applications. The most recent figures show that 47 district or unitary councils with over 7000 properties are eligible in England for the November 2019 and February 2020 PFR repair schemes. This includes 458 properties in the county of Shropshire.

The Government has doubled the amount it invests in the flood and coastal defence programme in England to £5.2 billion over six years. This will better protect a further 336,000 properties including homes and non-residential properties such as schools and hospitals. On 1 February 2021, Defra published a Call for Evidence to explore whether any specific changes should be made to strengthen the assessment of local circumstances in this programme. This includes looking at potential changes to the funding formula to provide further benefit to frequently flooded communities. It will also explore further ways to increase the uptake of property flood resilience measures to enable householders and businesses to better prepare for flooding. The Call for Evidence closes on 29 March 2021.