Written Question
Identity Cards
10 Aug 2020, 5:36 p.m.

Questioner: Scott Benton

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment she has made of the potential merits of introducing compulsory ID cards for British nationals; and when her Department last reviewed its policy on ID cards.

Answer (Kevin Foster)

The Home Office has made no recent assessment on compulsory ID cards. The previous identity card scheme was abolished by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition Government in 2010.


Written Question
Espionage: Russia
10 Aug 2020, 10:54 a.m.

Questioner: Lord Foulkes of Cumnock

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to introduce legislation to strengthen their ability to deal with (1) espionage, and (2) illegal behaviour, in the UK by (a) the government of Russia, and (b) people associated with that government.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

In the Queen’s Speech we committed to introduce legislation to provide the security services and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to disrupt hostile activity by foreign states. The Home Office is considering several measures for introduction via new primary legislation to make the UK a harder environment for adversaries to operate in.


Written Question
Forced Marriage
6 Aug 2020, 4:31 p.m.

Questioner: The Lord Bishop of St Albans

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government in how many cases the Forced Marriage Unit provided advice or support related to possible forced marriage (1) to a person aged under 16, (2) to a person aged between 16 and 18, and (3) to a person aged between 18 and 20, in (a) 2014, (b) 2015, (c) 2016, (d) 2017, (e) 2018, and (f) 2019.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

Information on Forced Marriage Unit statistics, including age breakdowns, can be found at this link: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/forced-marriage-unit-statistics. Providing the complete information requested would exceed the word limit for responses to written parliamentary questions so I have attached the following publication from the Forced Marriage Unit Statistics Unit.

I would also like to correct my response to the Lord Bishop’s question HL16427, from the 2017-19 session. This stated that in 2018 the Forced Marriage Unit gave advice or support related to a possible forced marriage in 1,764 cases via its public helpline and email inbox. The correct figure was 1,507.


Written Question
Mobile Phones: Sales
6 Aug 2020, 3:11 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the safety and security of consumers, and (2) the prevalence of criminal activity, in the secondhand mobile phone market.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

To help keep the public safe from crimes related to their phones, the Government works closely with the police, industry and other partners. As part of this work police forces issue advice to the public on keeping their property safe, including ensuring that the range of security features on devices are activated by consumers to prevent them being used if stolen.

The latest Crime Survey for England and Wales (year ending March 2019) shows that the proportion of mobile phone owners who experienced theft of their devices in the last year continued to follow a downward trend, falling to less than 1% compared with 2.1% in March 2009 https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/focusonpropertycrimeappendixtables


Written Question
Undocumented Migrants: English Channel
6 Aug 2020, 3:05 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Marlesford

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government under what circumstances migrants seeking to travel by sea from France to the UK who are picked up in distress from international waters by UK ships can be returned to France.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

The decision as to where to take a person rescued in international waters is a matter for the Coastguard who are responsible for that rescue zone and the master of the ship which has picked them up.

Usually persons will be taken to the nearest safe Port or the home Ports of the rescuing vessel (particularly if a Lifeboat) but there are many factors which could come into play such as any immediate medical or welfare issues.


Written Question
Undocumented Migrants: English Channel
6 Aug 2020, 1:04 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Marlesford

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many immigrants have been brought to the UK from the sea between France and England by ships controlled or owned by (1) the Government, or (2) their agencies, in each week during 2020.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

We do not routinely publish the information you have requested.


Written Question
Refugees: Families
5 Aug 2020, 11:05 a.m.

Questioner: Baroness Lister of Burtersett

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government when the report by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration into family reunion was delivered; and when they plan to publish it.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

The Home Secretary is considering the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s report on Family Reunion Applications and it will be laid in Parliament as soon as possible.

ICIBI reports can only be laid before Parliament when both houses are sitting.


Written Question
Visas: Voluntary Work
5 Aug 2020, 11:04 a.m.

Questioner: Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the current Tier 5 Visa arrangements for non-EU citizens to be engaged as volunteers by registered sponsoring organisations for periods of up to a year will be extended to include EU citizens; and if not, what plans they have to put in place alternative arrangements to enable non-EU and EU citizens to volunteer in social care settings in the UK after 31 December.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

The current Tier 5 charity visa enables people from outside the EU to come to the UK to undertake unpaid charity work. Migrants on this route are also permitted to undertake a second job in the same sector at the same level as their main job for up to 20 hours per week. These arrangements will be extended to EEA citizens as part of the future points-based migration system.

We very much value the role many who have come to this country play in our healthcare sector, but we will not be introducing a general route for employers to seek cheaper labour from abroad, be those employees or volunteers.

The Migration Advisory Committee is clear that a solution to recruitment issues in social care cannot just be solved via the UK’s immigration system. Employers need to invest in technology, innovation and their existing workforce, focusing on making jobs more attractive for UK workers, not just looking to the migration system.

The Government is supporting the care sector in different ways, including through additional funding and launching a national recruitment campaign.


Written Question
Crime Prevention: Crimes of Violence
5 Aug 2020, 10:58 a.m.

Questioner: Lord Farmer

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the success of Violence Reduction Units in preventing gang and knife crime committed by those from families where there is little or no father involvement.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

This government is investing £70m over two years to support the development of Violence Reduction Units. Some VRUs have commissioned targeted initiatives aimed at parents and families which strengthen family-based decision-making, provide counselling support and support those with incarcerated parents. The impact of VRUs’ work will take time to be seen, and evidence from the Glasgow VRU suggests that the effect will be gradual and will accumulate over time.

The Home Office has commissioned an independent process evaluation of VRUs during 2019/20 which will be published later this summer. Evaluation of VRUs during 2020/21 will include both process and impact elements allowing us to investigate how and why any initial impact is occurring. The Youth Violence Commission has welcomed the Government’s commitment to VRUs and the package of challenge and support we have put in place for their success.

Whilst an assessment has not been made of the role of family hubs in preventing knife crime, this government has invested £1.085bn through the Troubled Families programme. The programme, which is delivered by local authorities and their partners, is driving public services to work together to provide effective, coordinated support to our most disadvantaged families. The risk of serious violence is one of the recently added criterion for suitability for the programme.

Similarly, this government has made early intervention and prevention a priority, investing £200 million in initiatives to support young people at risk of exploitation and involvement in serious violence, through the Youth Endowment Fund. We are also investing £500 million through the new DCMS Youth Investment Fund over five years, helping to build 60 new youth centres across the country, refurbish around 360 existing youth facilities, and provide over 100 mobile facilities for harder to reach areas. The YIF will also support the provision and coordination of high-quality services for young people, and an investment in the youth workforce.v


Written Question
Crime Prevention: Knives
5 Aug 2020, 10:58 a.m.

Questioner: Lord Farmer

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the current, and (2) the potential future, role of family hubs in preventing knife crime.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

This government is investing £70m over two years to support the development of Violence Reduction Units. Some VRUs have commissioned targeted initiatives aimed at parents and families which strengthen family-based decision-making, provide counselling support and support those with incarcerated parents. The impact of VRUs’ work will take time to be seen, and evidence from the Glasgow VRU suggests that the effect will be gradual and will accumulate over time.

The Home Office has commissioned an independent process evaluation of VRUs during 2019/20 which will be published later this summer. Evaluation of VRUs during 2020/21 will include both process and impact elements allowing us to investigate how and why any initial impact is occurring. The Youth Violence Commission has welcomed the Government’s commitment to VRUs and the package of challenge and support we have put in place for their success.

Whilst an assessment has not been made of the role of family hubs in preventing knife crime, this government has invested £1.085bn through the Troubled Families programme. The programme, which is delivered by local authorities and their partners, is driving public services to work together to provide effective, coordinated support to our most disadvantaged families. The risk of serious violence is one of the recently added criterion for suitability for the programme.

Similarly, this government has made early intervention and prevention a priority, investing £200 million in initiatives to support young people at risk of exploitation and involvement in serious violence, through the Youth Endowment Fund. We are also investing £500 million through the new DCMS Youth Investment Fund over five years, helping to build 60 new youth centres across the country, refurbish around 360 existing youth facilities, and provide over 100 mobile facilities for harder to reach areas. The YIF will also support the provision and coordination of high-quality services for young people, and an investment in the youth workforce.v


Written Question
Asylum: Housing
4 Aug 2020, 4:57 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Beecham

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking in response to the £3.1 million in service credits charged to Mears Group between September 2019 and January 2020 for poor performance in its contract to provide accommodation to asylum seekers.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

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

The AASC contracts have robust performance management system to which Providers are expected to deliver; where performance falls short of the required standard for each of the individual KPIs the failures are recorded and can result in the award of Points; which can result in a Service Credits being applied.

Mears performance is monitored closely with dedicated staff in each contract area who are in contact with the Provider on a daily basis. This is supplemented by a formal governance process which includes quarterly Strategic Review Management Boards and monthly Contract Management Groups. Service credits and subsequent improvement plans are discussed and monitored as part of this process.


Written Question
China: British National (Overseas)
4 Aug 2020, 11:20 a.m.

Questioner: Lord Alton of Liverpool

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take, when determining the eligibility of British National (Overseas) passport holders to settle in the UK, to ascertain whether the applicants (1) have supported the Chinese Communist Party in the past, and (2) are committed to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

The Home Secretary was pleased to recently announce details of the new immigration route for Hong Kong British National (Overseas) citizens, which can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hong-kong-bno-visa-policy-statement

The eligibility requirements are set out in the policy statement.


Written Question
Nitrous Oxide: Young People
3 Aug 2020, 1:58 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the adequacy of restrictions on the supply of nitrous oxide to young people; and what plans they have to strengthen those restrictions.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 (‘the 2016 Act’) provides the legislative framework for restrictions on supply of psychoactive substances, which includes nitrous oxide. The 2016 Act makes it an offence (with limited exemptions) to intentionally supply psychoactive substances , where the person knows, or is reckless as to whether, the psychoactive substance is likely to be consumed by a person for its psychoactive effects. A review of the Act was published in November 2018, concluding that it had been effective in addressing the open sale of psychoactive substances. Further action in relation to addressing online harms, including online supply of psychoactive substances for their psychoactive effect, is set out in the Online Harms White Paper which aims to make companies more responsible for their users’ safety online, especially for children and other vulnerable groups.


Written Question
Migrant Workers: Social Services
3 Aug 2020, 1:34 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Roberts of Llandudno

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to lower the income requirement for those from outside the UK seeking employment in the care sector.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

We very much value the role many who have come to this country play in our health and care sector, but we will not be introducing a general route for employers to seek cheaper labour from abroad. This follows advice from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).

The MAC is clear a solution to recruitment issues in social care cannot just be solved via the UK’s immigration system. Employers need to invest in technology, innovation and their existing workforce, focusing on making jobs more attractive for UK workers, not just looking to the migration system instead.

The Government is supporting the sector in many ways, including through additional funding and launching a national recruitment campaign.


Written Question
Registration of Births, Deaths, Marriages and Civil Partnerships
3 Aug 2020, 1:33 p.m.

Questioner: Baroness Blackstone

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made on plans to (1) move to an electronic system of marriage registration, (2) add mothers' names to marriage certificates, (3) allow conversions between opposite-sex marriages and civil partnerships, and (4) bring into force reforms to divorce, dissolution, and separation.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

The Home Office is currently working on implementation plans to introduce the provisions in the Civil Partnership, Marriages and Deaths (Registration Etc) Act 2019. This will facilitate the move to an electronic system of marriage registration and the update of the marriage entry to include the names of both sets of parents of a couple.

The Government Equalities Office ran a six-week consultation on the future of conversion rights in summer 2019. We are analysing the responses and will publish the government response and bring forward any necessary legislation in 2020.

The Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act received Royal Assent in June. The Government has been clear implementing its reforms will be a significant and complex task. Given the scale of the work needed, we are working to an indicative timetable of Autumn 2021.


Written Question
Islamic State: British Nationals Abroad
3 Aug 2020, 1:30 p.m.

Questioner: Lord Alton of Liverpool

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Daesh fighters are known to have returned to the UK; how many such fighters and individuals assisting Daesh in different capacities have been prosecuted in the UK courts, including anyone who has (1) financed, or (2) recruited for, Daesh; on what charges any such individuals have been prosecuted; and what progress they have made on the proposal to establish an international ad-hoc tribunal for Daesh.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

Around 900 people have travelled from the UK to engage with the conflict in Syria and Iraq, against the advice of the Foreign Office.  Of these, approximately 20% have been killed in the conflict and around 40% have returned to the UK.

The Governments priority is the safety and security of the people who live here. All of those who have returned, have been investigated and the majority have been assessed to pose no, or a low security risk. Around 40 individuals have been convicted on their return from Syria/Iraq, either because of offences committed overseas or for other activity linked to their involvement in terrorism. Individuals can be convicted in UK courts of offences committed overseas (including preparation of terrorism, encouragement of terrorism and membership of a proscribed organisation). Furthermore, through the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019, we have extended this to new offences including: inviting or recklessly expressing support for a proscribed organisation and for sharing their propaganda.

The UK continues to work with international partners, as well as partners in the region in seeking to secure the prosecution of individuals who have committed crimes in the name of Daesh. Any such justice mechanism must respect human rights and the rule of law.


Written Question
Police: Finance
30 Jul 2020, 3:14 p.m.

Questioner: Baroness Greengross

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that financial pressures on local authorities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic do not lead to cuts to local police force funding.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

The Government has been clear that the police will get the financial support they need to keep our communities safe through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government took immediate steps to increase the availability of funding for forces to meet cashflow pressures caused by the pandemic. We flexed half of the £168 million Police Uplift ringfenced grant to include expenditure on COVID-19 related pressures for the first six months of the financial year. We also brought forward payment of the £142.6 million police pensions grant, which forces received in April this year.

The Government also recently announced that council tax and business rates collection fund deficits accumulated 2020-21 can be phased over three years rather than paid off in 2021-22. This will give police and other local authorities in England a breathing space when setting their budgets for next year.

The Home Office continues to gather evidence of forces’ additional Covid-19 related expenditures since the introduction of social distancing measures, de-veloped in close consultation with policing sector finance leads. We will use this evidence base to inform cross-Government decisions on the police’s fu-ture funding needs.


Written Question
Police: Training
30 Jul 2020, 3:11 p.m.

Questioner: Baroness Greengross

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with police forces in England and Wales about ensuring that all police officers undertake unconscious bias training.

Answer (Baroness Williams of Trafford)

The public rightly expect police officers to meet high standards of professional conduct. In this country, the power of the police to fulfil their duties is wholly dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour and on their ability to secure and maintain this public respect.

The College of Policing, which sets and maintains training standards for policing, published the Code of Ethics in 2014. This includes a set of principles for policing, including that all officers and staff should take active steps to oppose discrimination and make their decisions free from prejudice. This is a cornerstone of police training and development.

The College of Policing’s foundation training for all those entering the service includes substantial coverage of police ethics and self-understanding, including the effects of personal conscious and unconscious bias. Initial training covers hate crimes, ethics and equalities, and policing without bias.

Forces also provide local training and development at several different levels ranging from initial entry, leadership and ongoing development to reflect and reinforce organisational values.


Written Question
Mukhtar Ablyazov
30 Jul 2020, 1:10 p.m.

Questioner: Mr Ben Bradshaw

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what investigations are being made of the financial activities of Mukhtar Ablyazov in the UK.

Answer (James Brokenshire)

The Home Office does not confirm or comment on individual operational matters.


Written Question
Counter-terrorism
29 Jul 2020, 5:14 p.m.

Questioner: Alicia Kearns

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment she has made of the level of risk under the Prevent programme of the European Institute for Human Sciences and its operations in the UK.

Answer (James Brokenshire)

Prevent works closely with local people and organisations to stop vulnerable people being drawn into terrorism. Any indication that an individual or organisation is radicalising others is investigated and, if substantiated, appropriate multi-agency action is taken to address it. There are tried and tested mechanisms in place to address extremism in the charity sector.


Written Question
Mukhtar Ablyazov
29 Jul 2020, 5:13 p.m.

Questioner: Mr Ben Bradshaw

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment the Government has made of the (a) scale and (b) number of victims of the financial crimes committed by Mukhtar Ablyazov and his associates.

Answer (James Brokenshire)

The Home Office does not confirm or comment on individual operational matters.


Written Question
Asylum: Brexit
29 Jul 2020, 9:26 a.m.

Questioner: Bell Ribeiro-Addy

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking with her EU counterparts to help ensure that take charge requests are submitted to the UK before its departure from the EU.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The UK continues to meet its obligations under the Dublin III Regulation. It is for the requesting Member State to ensure timely submission of Take Charge Requests. We will continue to work closely with them to facilitate that process until the end of the Transition Period and will continue to process any Dublin family reunion cases that enter the system prior to 31 December.


Written Question
Immigrants: Employment
29 Jul 2020, 9:24 a.m.

Questioner: Bell Ribeiro-Addy

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many employers have used the digital checking service for right to work checks since the launch of that service.

Answer (Chris Philp)

Statistics on use of the online right to work service are published as part of the Home Office’s Transparency data. The most recent publication for online right to work statistics was in February 2020, covering the full year 2019: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/home-office-data-february-2020.

The next publication of online right to work statistics will be released by the Home Office in due course, covering Q1 and Q2 2020.


Written Question
Undocumented Migrants: Financial Services
29 Jul 2020, 9:22 a.m.

Questioner: Bell Ribeiro-Addy

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people have been identified as being unlawfully resident in the UK as a result of status checks undertaken by banks and building societies under the terms of the Immigration Act 2014.

Answer (Chris Philp)

Under the 2014 Immigration Act, banks and building societies are required to conduct an immigration status check against the Home Office disqualified person data before a current account is opened. Where this check confirms the applicant is a disqualified person, the bank or building society is prohibited from opening the account. There is no requirement for banks or building societies to notify the Home Office if they refuse to open an account.


Written Question
Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre
29 Jul 2020, 9:20 a.m.

Questioner: Richard Fuller

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people were detained at Yarl's Wood Detention Centre for each night from 1 March 2020 to 15 July 2020.

Answer (Chris Philp)

The Home Office publishes statistics on people in detention in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly Release’ (https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/immigration-statistics-quarterly-release). Data on people in detention under immigration powers as at 31 March 2020 by place of detention, are published in Table Det_03a of the ‘Summary tables’ (attached). The ‘contents’ sheet contains an overview of all available data on detention.

A report on Statistics relating to Covid-19 and the immigration system, May 2020 (https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/statistics-relating-to-covid-19-and-the-immigration-system-may-2020), released on 28 May 2020, provides further high-level information relating to immigration detention and the impact of Covid-19.

Figures on numbers in detention at 30 June 2020 will be published on 27 August 2020. Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’ (https://www.gov.uk/search/research-and-statistics?content_store_document_type=upcoming_statistics&organisations%5B%5D=home-office&order=release-date-oldest).