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Written Question
Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme
21 Oct 2021

Questioner: John Lamont (CON - Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many installations have been supported by the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles as part of the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme in (a) the Scottish Borders, (b) Scotland and (c) the UK.

Answered by Trudy Harrison

Data on domestic charging devices funded by the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) are presented in the table. Figures are from 1 July 2021.

EVHS funded charging devices

Scottish Borders

352

Scotland

11,582

UK

157,652

The Department holds data on plug-in car grants but this database does not provide the geographic breakdown required.

The table below shows, up to the end of December 2020, the number of plug-in car grant eligible models registered for the first time in the respective geographies. The right hand column provides an estimate of the maximum financial value of the grant support for these vehicles. This was calculated from vehicle registration data by applying amount of available grant for eligible models at the time of registration. This estimate does not mean that every car registered received the grant or that other cars did not receive the grant before the end of December 2020 but had not registered the car yet.

Area of registration

Number of registrations for eligible models

Maximum potential grant support awarded 1

Scotland Borders Unitary Authority

308

£1.1 million

Scotland

17,266

£61 million

UK

301,096

£1,066 million

7 Scottish local authorities have been awarded grants totalling £1,065,381 through the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS), up to July 2021. The Scheme is administered on the Department’s behalf by Energy Saving Trust, who offer expert advice and support to local authorities throughout the application process. Energy Saving Trust, in partnership with the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles, also hosts a library of webinars and guidance documents focussing on the challenges that authorities face when installing charging infrastructure, while promoting the available funding.

In early 2022, in collaboration with the Institution of Engineering and Technology, we will publish an EV infrastructure guide for local authority EV officers, to assist with the transition to ZEVs. This guide will cover the steps needed to take in order to deploy chargepoints for residents. Scottish local authorities were involved in the scoping of the document and will be asked to comment at consultation stage in due course.

The Government wants to ensure that drivers can benefit from the transition to zero emission vehicles. The On-Street Residential Chargeoint Scheme (ORCS) is available to all UK local authorities to provide public chargepoints for their residents without access to private parking. £20 million is available in 2021-22 to UK local authorities through the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme.


Written Question
Electric Vehicles: Grants
21 Oct 2021

Questioner: John Lamont (CON - Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, how many plug-in car grants have been issued in (a) the Scottish Borders Unitary Authority, (b) Scotland and (c) the UK; and what is the financial value of those grants.

Answered by Trudy Harrison

Data on domestic charging devices funded by the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) are presented in the table. Figures are from 1 July 2021.

EVHS funded charging devices

Scottish Borders

352

Scotland

11,582

UK

157,652

The Department holds data on plug-in car grants but this database does not provide the geographic breakdown required.

The table below shows, up to the end of December 2020, the number of plug-in car grant eligible models registered for the first time in the respective geographies. The right hand column provides an estimate of the maximum financial value of the grant support for these vehicles. This was calculated from vehicle registration data by applying amount of available grant for eligible models at the time of registration. This estimate does not mean that every car registered received the grant or that other cars did not receive the grant before the end of December 2020 but had not registered the car yet.

Area of registration

Number of registrations for eligible models

Maximum potential grant support awarded 1

Scotland Borders Unitary Authority

308

£1.1 million

Scotland

17,266

£61 million

UK

301,096

£1,066 million

7 Scottish local authorities have been awarded grants totalling £1,065,381 through the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS), up to July 2021. The Scheme is administered on the Department’s behalf by Energy Saving Trust, who offer expert advice and support to local authorities throughout the application process. Energy Saving Trust, in partnership with the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles, also hosts a library of webinars and guidance documents focussing on the challenges that authorities face when installing charging infrastructure, while promoting the available funding.

In early 2022, in collaboration with the Institution of Engineering and Technology, we will publish an EV infrastructure guide for local authority EV officers, to assist with the transition to ZEVs. This guide will cover the steps needed to take in order to deploy chargepoints for residents. Scottish local authorities were involved in the scoping of the document and will be asked to comment at consultation stage in due course.

The Government wants to ensure that drivers can benefit from the transition to zero emission vehicles. The On-Street Residential Chargeoint Scheme (ORCS) is available to all UK local authorities to provide public chargepoints for their residents without access to private parking. £20 million is available in 2021-22 to UK local authorities through the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme.


Written Question
Electric Vehicles: Charging Points
21 Oct 2021

Questioner: John Lamont (CON - Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what engagement he has had with Scottish local authorities on the On-street Residential Chargepoint Scheme.

Answered by Trudy Harrison

Data on domestic charging devices funded by the Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme (EVHS) are presented in the table. Figures are from 1 July 2021.

EVHS funded charging devices

Scottish Borders

352

Scotland

11,582

UK

157,652

The Department holds data on plug-in car grants but this database does not provide the geographic breakdown required.

The table below shows, up to the end of December 2020, the number of plug-in car grant eligible models registered for the first time in the respective geographies. The right hand column provides an estimate of the maximum financial value of the grant support for these vehicles. This was calculated from vehicle registration data by applying amount of available grant for eligible models at the time of registration. This estimate does not mean that every car registered received the grant or that other cars did not receive the grant before the end of December 2020 but had not registered the car yet.

Area of registration

Number of registrations for eligible models

Maximum potential grant support awarded 1

Scotland Borders Unitary Authority

308

£1.1 million

Scotland

17,266

£61 million

UK

301,096

£1,066 million

7 Scottish local authorities have been awarded grants totalling £1,065,381 through the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme (ORCS), up to July 2021. The Scheme is administered on the Department’s behalf by Energy Saving Trust, who offer expert advice and support to local authorities throughout the application process. Energy Saving Trust, in partnership with the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles, also hosts a library of webinars and guidance documents focussing on the challenges that authorities face when installing charging infrastructure, while promoting the available funding.

In early 2022, in collaboration with the Institution of Engineering and Technology, we will publish an EV infrastructure guide for local authority EV officers, to assist with the transition to ZEVs. This guide will cover the steps needed to take in order to deploy chargepoints for residents. Scottish local authorities were involved in the scoping of the document and will be asked to comment at consultation stage in due course.

The Government wants to ensure that drivers can benefit from the transition to zero emission vehicles. The On-Street Residential Chargeoint Scheme (ORCS) is available to all UK local authorities to provide public chargepoints for their residents without access to private parking. £20 million is available in 2021-22 to UK local authorities through the On-Street Residential Chargepoint Scheme.


Written Question
ICT: Northern Ireland
20 Oct 2021

Questioner: Gavin Robinson (DUP - Belfast East)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what plans he has to support proposals to establish a global centre for secure intelligent regulatory technologies in Northern Ireland.

Answered by John Glen

The government is committed to maintaining the UK’s position a world-leading destination for fintech.

In line with this ambition, the Government is taking forward key recommendations of the independent Kalifa Review of UK Fintech as part of ensuring the UK remains at the global cutting edge of technology and innovation in financial services.

Government funding for future years will be confirmed as part of the Spending Review which will be announced on 27th October.


Written Question
Judges
20 Oct 2021

Questioner: Nadia Whittome (LAB - Nottingham East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to prevent the last minute cancellation of court hearings as a result of a lack of availability of judges.

Answered by James Cartlidge

The timely delivery of justice is a priority for the government. The department is working closely with the judiciary to ensure we have the capacity required to maximise the number of court hearings taking place this year and to minimise disruption to cases listed for hearings. We allocated over a quarter of a billion pounds on recovery last financial year, making court buildings safe, rolling out new technology for remote hearings, recruiting additional staff and opening Nightingale courtrooms. We are now focused both on increasing capacity and maximising use of that which we already have. There is no limit on the number of days Crown Courts can sit this financial year and we are supporting temporary changes to court operating hours.

Judicial capacity is being boosted through a programme to recruit up to 1100 judges this year. When there is a business need, in any jurisdiction, the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice can approve extensions of relevant judges’ appointments past their mandatory retirement age and approve retired salaried judges to sit in retirement on an ad-hoc basis. Significant action is also being taken every day by both individual court and Regional Judicial Secretariats to ensure judges are available for all hearings. Every effort is made to contact judges to ensure a case can proceed, from contacting individual judges directly to request cover, to assessing whether other nearby courts can assist.


Written Question
Judges
20 Oct 2021

Questioner: Nadia Whittome (LAB - Nottingham East)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps his Department is taking to increase the number of judges available for criminal trials.

Answered by James Cartlidge

The timely delivery of justice is a priority for the government. The department is working closely with the judiciary to ensure we have the capacity required to maximise the number of court hearings taking place this year and to minimise disruption to cases listed for hearings. We allocated over a quarter of a billion pounds on recovery last financial year, making court buildings safe, rolling out new technology for remote hearings, recruiting additional staff and opening Nightingale courtrooms. We are now focused both on increasing capacity and maximising use of that which we already have. There is no limit on the number of days Crown Courts can sit this financial year and we are supporting temporary changes to court operating hours.

Judicial capacity is being boosted through a programme to recruit up to 1100 judges this year. When there is a business need, in any jurisdiction, the Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice can approve extensions of relevant judges’ appointments past their mandatory retirement age and approve retired salaried judges to sit in retirement on an ad-hoc basis. Significant action is also being taken every day by both individual court and Regional Judicial Secretariats to ensure judges are available for all hearings. Every effort is made to contact judges to ensure a case can proceed, from contacting individual judges directly to request cover, to assessing whether other nearby courts can assist.


Written Question
Courts: Coronavirus
29 Sep 2021

Questioner: Stuart Anderson (CON - Wolverhampton South West)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of resources available to effectively tackle court backlogs in the recovery from the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered by James Cartlidge

We have taken decisive action to ensure the courts have sufficient resources to tackle our outstanding caseloads in the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

We spent over a quarter of a billion pounds on recovery last financial year, making court buildings safe, rolling out new technology for remote hearings and recruiting an additional 1,600 HMCTS staff. We will run each Crown Court site to its fullest, with no limit on sitting days this financial year, so more cases can be heard and waiting times can come down. Following the lifting of social distancing restrictions, we are in the process of fully reopening our existing physical estate. We have also extended 32 of our Nightingale courtrooms until March 2022 to maximise our sitting capacity this year.


Written Question
Universities: Admissions
22 Sep 2021

Questioner: Lord Storey (LDEM - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many students have been paid to defer their university course for 12 months; and what the total amount of money spent is.

Answered by Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay

Throughout this year’s admissions cycle, we have encouraged providers to do everything they can to enable students who wish to enter higher education this year to do so. In a small number of cases, providers have seen more students meet the terms of their offers than they have capacity to accommodate, and these providers have agreed alternatives with these students, which may include a place on another course or an incentivised deferral. We do not record the number of students who have accepted incentivised deferrals at providers: this is a private arrangement between the provider and the individual student. In any year, some students choose to defer for a number of reasons.

The latest data for the admissions cycle (as at 28 days after A level results day) show that the total number of English students accepted has increased compared with 2020 and 2019, with both deferrals and non-deferrals increasing. The proportion of successful English applicants deferring this year is 0.7 percentage points greater than in 2019.

No funding has been provided by the government for incentivised deferrals. Rather, we have provided funding to increase capacity so that more students can take up their places this year, making available up to £10 million in additional grant funding to higher education providers through the Office for Students to help them to increase capacity in medical, dental, nursing, science, technology, engineering, maths, and other high-cost subjects. The government has also provided funding to provide incentives to students to switch from oversubscribed providers to providers with capacity in medicine and dentistry.

Alongside this, we have worked with universities, Health Education England, the Medical Schools Council and the General Medical Council to assess and agree how many additional places on medical and dentistry courses could be provided. Students who held a firm or insurance offer at an oversubscribed medical or dental school were contacted by their current university about a £10,000 incentive to change schools under the 2021 Medical School Student Incentivised Transfer Scheme. Students were given the opportunity to transfer to an alternative university which has space and to receive a financial incentive to do so. Participation in the scheme was entirely optional. This has supported more than 80 students to move from oversubscribed medical and dental schools to those which had additional capacity.


Written Question
Hikvision
21 Sep 2021

Questioner: Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 1 September (HL2328), (1) whether thy have now met with the Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner to discuss the issues raised in the correspondence with Hikvision, (2) if so, what the outcome of that meeting was, and (3) whether they intend to follow the decision of the government of the United States of America in banning Hikvision.

Answered by Baroness Williams of Trafford

I will be meeting with the Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner shortly to discuss the issues raised in the correspondence with Hikvision.

The UK is committed to promoting the ethical development and deployment of technology in the UK and overseas. We are aware of a number of Chinese technology companies linked to violations taking place in Xinjiang, and are monitoring the situation closely.

On 12 January, the Foreign Secretary announced a series of measures to help ensure UK businesses and the public sector are not complicit in human rights violations or abuses in Xinjiang. These measures, which are being implemented by the UK Government, include a review of export controls; the introduction of financial penalties under the Modern Slavery Act; increasing support for UK government bodies to exclude suppliers complicit in violations or abuses; and strengthening the Overseas Business Risk guidance to highlight that businesses engaged in the fields of surveillance, biometrics, or tracking technology are at heightened risk of complicity in human rights violations in Xinjiang.

The UK Government has also published guidance to help cutting-edge UK firms negotiate the ethical, legal and commercial questions they may encounter when working with Chinese businesses, supporting safe and appropriate UK-China collaboration in digital and tech. The guidance provides firms with clear, up-to-date information and specialist support which reflect the UK's values and take account of national security concerns.


Written Question
Administration of Justice: Standards
15 Sep 2021

Questioner: Ruth Jones (LAB - Newport West)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent steps he has taken to tackle the increase in the number of cases being withdrawn as a result of court delays and case backlogs.

Answered by Alex Chalk

Recovering the courts from the impact of Covid is a key priority for this Government. We allocated over a quarter of a billion pounds on recovery last financial year, making court buildings safe, rolling out new technology for remote hearings, recruiting additional staff and opening Nightingale courtrooms. We are encouraged by the level of cases now flowing through the courts, with our most recently published data showing reductions in the Crown Court’s outstanding caseload.

We are now focused both on increasing capacity and maximising use of that which we already have. There is no limit on the number of days Crown Courts can sit this financial year and we are supporting temporary changes to court operating hours, where the local judge wants to use this, to hear more cases. The relaxing of social distancing means around 60 existing courtrooms in the Crown Court estate have been reopened, and we are extending our 32 Crown Nightingale courtrooms until April 2022.

In further attempts to prevent cases from being withdrawn, we have increased funding for victim support services, with £151 million this year, including £27 million to increase the number of independent advisors for sexual violence and domestic abuse victims by over 40 per cent. Beyond significant increases in funding to victims’ services, the Government has taken a range of actions to ensure that victims and witnesses receive the support they need.


Written Question
Defence: Procurement
15 Sep 2021

Questioner: Owen Thompson (SNP - Midlothian)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps his Department is taking to tackle potential supply chain delays and disruptions to defence supply chains as a result of the (a) covid-19 outbreak and (b) UK's departure from the EU.

Answered by Jeremy Quin

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) takes the health and resilience of its supply chains very seriously and we always work with suppliers to understand and take action on any threats that could result in their disruption. The initiatives that are in place include an extensive MOD-wide Supply Chain Resilience and Risk Programme, which aims to map our most critical supply chains to ensure that any potential impact on the delivery of Defence outputs is minimised.

The MOD is also active in the pan-government Global Supply Chains initiative to review those critical supply chains so that vulnerabilities can be assessed, and mitigations considered. In addition, we have worked closely together with industry at all levels and maintained an open dialogue, to identify and put in place the measures needed to protect the supply chains of our key programmes, and to maintain the resilience of the UK's industrial and technology base.

Throughout the COVID crisis the MOD supported the Defence sector with increased government financial assistance including the Cabinet Office led initiative to support strategically important suppliers and the use of payments to maintain business continuity (commonly known as interim payments).


Written Question
Higher Education: Finance
14 Sep 2021

Questioner: Sam Tarry (LAB - Ilford South)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential effect that the reduction to the Strategic Priorities Grant allocated to universities and higher education colleges for the 2021-22 financial year will have on students in London.

Answered by Michelle Donelan

In January 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, asked the Office for Students (OfS) to reform the Strategic Priorities Grant for the academic year 2021/22. The Strategic Priorities Grant is a limited funding pot provided by government to support the provision of higher education. Reprioritisation of this funding is needed to ensure value for money, and support strategic priorities across the sector, including provision of courses vital for the economy and labour markets, and continued support for disadvantaged students and underrepresented groups. The reforms for 2021/22 included the removal of the London Weighting element of the grant.

The OfS consulted on the Secretary of State for Education’s proposals and has recently published its conclusions[1]. The consultation responses were carefully analysed, and the issues raised were considered by both the OfS and the Secretary of State for Education in reaching their respective decisions about the allocation of the Strategic Priorities Grant for the 2021/22 academic year.

The London Weighting (additional grant money given to London-based providers to cover the higher costs of delivery in London) accounts for a small proportion of London-based providers’ income. Providers in London received around £64 million London Weighting in the 2020/21 academic year, which is less than 1% of their estimated total income.

The removal of London Weighting is required to enable the reprioritisation of the Strategic Priorities Grant towards the provision of high-cost subjects that support the NHS and wider healthcare policy, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and specific labour market needs. As a result of these reforms, including the removal of London Weighting, total funding for high-cost subjects for the 2021/22 academic year, such as medicine and engineering, is 12% higher than last year, an increase of £81 million. This additional high-cost subject funding will be available to providers in London, supporting provision for London-based students.

[1] https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/publications/consultation-on-recurrent-funding-for-2021-22/


Written Question
Diabetes: Medical Equipment
8 Sep 2021

Questioner: Kim Leadbeater (LAB - Batley and Spen)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the use of Freestyle Libra glucose monitoring equipment in the NHS to help monitor and control diabetes.

Answered by Jo Churchill

The NHS Long Term Plan set out a commitment that “in line with clinical guidelines, patients with type 1 diabetes benefit from life changing flash glucose monitors from April 2019, ending the variation patients in some parts of the country are facing”. This commitment was followed by published guidance in March 2019, which set out new national funding arrangements and included a specific target for 20% of all type 1 diabetics in England to receive access to flash glucose monitoring by March 2021.

By July 2020, 31.5% of all people living with type 1 diabetes in England had access to this technology. By March 2021, uptake had risen to 47%. As of 1 April 2021, commissioning and financial responsibility reverted to local commissioners, who are continuing to support patient access to this technology.


Written Question
Cryptocurrencies
6 Sep 2021

Questioner: Daniel Kawczynski (CON - Shrewsbury and Atcham)

Question

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential merits of introducing a sterling- based stable coin in the UK.

Answered by John Glen

The Government launched a consultation on its regulatory approach to cryptoassets and stablecoins on 7 January. This set out the view that stablecoins, which seek to stabilise their value, could be used as widespread means of payment and potentially deliver improvements in cross-border transactions. At the same time, depending on scale and nature of use, these developments could pose similar financial stability and consumer risks as traditional regulated payment systems.

The Government’s proposed approach would make sure stablecoins meet the same high standards we expect of other payment methods. The Government is considering responses and will outline next steps in due course. Any steps taken in light of this consultation will aim to balance the potential risk to consumers with the ambition to foster competition and innovation in the sector.

Alongside this, the UK, like many countries globally, is actively exploring the potential role of central bank digital currencies: an electronic form of central bank money that could be used by households and businesses to make payments. The Bank of England published a discussion paper in March 2020, which considered the possibility of a retail central bank digital currency.

At Fintech Week 2021, the Chancellor announced a new Taskforce led by HM Treasury and the Bank of England to lead the UK’s exploration of a central bank digital currency, with separate forums to engage civil society and technology experts. The Taskforce aims to ensure a strategic approach is adopted between the UK authorities as they explore a central bank digital currency, in line with their statutory objectives, and to promote close coordination between them. The Government and the Bank of England have not yet made a decision on whether to introduce a central bank digital currency in the UK, and will engage widely with stakeholders on the benefits, risks and practicalities of doing so.


Written Question
Hikvision
1 Sep 2021

Questioner: Lord Alton of Liverpool (CB - Life peer)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they intend to take in response to the correspondence between the Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner and Hikvision on 16 July and 20 August, regarding the use of that company's technology in Uyghur internment camps in China; and whether they intend to follow the decision of the government of the United States of America in banning Hikvision.

Answered by Baroness Williams of Trafford

I will be meeting with the Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner to discuss the issues raised in the correspondence with Hikvision.

The UK is committed to promoting the ethical development and deployment of technology in the UK and overseas. We are aware of a number of Chinese technology companies linked to violations taking place in Xinjiang, and are monitoring the situation closely.

On 12 January, the Foreign Secretary announced a series of measures to help ensure UK businesses and the public sector are not complicit in human rights violations or abuses in Xinjiang. These measures, which are being implemented by the UK Government, include a review of export controls; the introduction of financial penalties under the Modern Slavery Act; increasing support for UK government bodies to exclude suppliers complicit in violations or abuses; and strengthening the Overseas Business Risk guidance to highlight that businesses engaged in the fields of surveillance, biometrics, or tracking technology are at heightened risk of complicity in human rights violations in Xinjiang.

The UK Government has also published guidance to help cutting-edge UK firms negotiate the ethical, legal and commercial questions they may encounter when working with Chinese businesses, supporting safe and appropriate UK-China collaboration in digital and tech. The guidance provides firms with clear, up-to-date information and specialist support which reflect the UK's values and take account of national security concerns.