Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle Portrait

Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle

Green Party - Life peer

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Division Votes
Tuesday 23rd November 2021
Armed Forces Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 2 Green Party Aye votes vs 0 Green Party No votes
Tally: Ayes - 210 Noes - 190
Speeches
Thursday 25th November 2021
Migrants

My Lords, in following the noble Lords, Lord Green and Lord Lilley, I want to question one of many points …

Written Answers
Monday 22nd November 2021
Local Enterprise Partnerships: Aarhus Convention
To ask Her Majesty's Government how their obligations under Article 7 of the Aarhus Convention 1998 are discharged regarding Local …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
Wednesday 15th January 2020
House of Lords (Elections and Reform) Bill [HL] 2019-21
A Bill to make provision about elections to, and membership of, the House of Lords; and for connected purposes
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle has voted in 189 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle 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
Lord Bethell (Conservative)
(60 debate interactions)
Lord Callanan (Conservative)
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
(31 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Home Office
(78 debate contributions)
Department of Health and Social Care
(71 debate contributions)
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View all Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle's debates

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle, 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.


Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

1 Bill introduced by Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle


A Bill to make provision about elections to, and membership of, the House of Lords; and for connected purposes


Last Event - 1st Reading (Lords)
Wednesday 15th January 2020
(Read Debate)

Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


353 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
3 Other Department Questions
8th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that all new (1) residential, and (2) commercial, developments have Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems in their designs.

There is a clear expectation in the National Planning Policy Framework for the provision of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) in all new major developments, unless demonstrated to be inappropriate. The Framework also expects SuDS to be given priority in developments in flood risk areas.

Planning Practice Guidance (PPG) sets out further detail on SuDS options that favour non-sewer solutions and recognises the multiple benefits SuDS can provide including mitigating flood risk.

Furthermore, the Government has committed to undertake a review of the case for implementing Schedule 3 to the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 concerning SuDS. This review will look at methods for ensuring that SuDS are incorporated in future developments. The review commenced in October 2021 and is expected to be published in August 2022.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that recycled rainwater is used in (1) new dwellings, (2) refurbished dwellings, and (3) commercial buildings.

The Building Regulations 2010 Parts G & H include requirements relating to water efficiency and grey water harvesting. For new homes, statutory guidance for Part G of the Building Regulations includes a minimum standard for estimated water consumption set at 125 litres per person per day, and an optional standard of 110 litres per person per day, which may be adopted in water stressed areas at the discretion of the local planning authority.

In July 2021, Government responded to its consultation on Measures to Reduce Personal Water Consumption (attached) https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/water-conservation-measures-to-reduce-personal-water-use . Within this consultation response we committed to developing a roadmap, in 2022, towards greater water efficiency in new developments and retrofits, including the exploration of revised building regulations and how the development of new technologies can contribute to meeting these standards. We will ensure that the underlying legislation can, where appropriate, accommodate any potential future expansion of rainwater harvesting, water re-use and storage options.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many additional train services (1) within the UK, and (2) in continental Europe, are running to assist COP26 delegates in getting to and from the conference.

The UK Government and Transport Scotland have worked closely with rail operators to ensure that adequate cross border rail options are available to delegates wishing to travel between England and Scotland.

Delegates travelling from Europe and within the UK have been encouraged to travel by rail where possible. This has been supported by rail operators within the UK and Europe.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the collapse of Greensill Capital, what assessment they have made of the Crown Representative programme.

Crown Representatives act as independent advisors to support the Government’s relationships with strategic suppliers. They help the Government to act as a single customer and work across departments to:

  • ensure a single and strategic view of the government’s needs is communicated to the market

  • identify areas for cost savings

  • act as a point of focus for cross-cutting supplier-related issues.

Crown Representatives cover all sectors of service provision including small and medium enterprises, voluntary sector organisations, mutually owned organisations, large suppliers and specific sectors. All Crown Representatives complete Conflict of Interest declarations every six months.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to widen consultation on the operation of elections in future to include (1) independent representatives, and (2) parties with at least one MP.

Where it is appropriate to consult with political parties on the conduct of elections, the Government is committed to ensuring that all relevant views are taken into account. In developing recent guidance to support campaigning ahead of the May elections, the Government consulted a number of groups, including the Parliamentary Parties Panel, the Green Party and others, as well as the Local Government Association. We are committed to ensuring we take into consideration the views of independent candidates as effectively as possible.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to widen consultation over how elections are run to include (1) independent representatives, and (2) parties with at least one MP.

Democracy should not be cancelled because of covid. As outlined in my Written Ministerial Statement of 8 February 2021 (HLWS766), the Government has confirmed that the set of council, mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner elections scheduled for May will go ahead, and made a firm commitment that the Government will support the sector to deliver them.

The Government has published a Delivery Plan for the May elections, setting out how the Government will support local elections teams to deliver effective polls that are covid-secure for voters and staff. The Medical Officers advised Ministers in drawing up this delivery plan. The Government has committed to further engage with political parties through the Parliamentary Parties Panel and the Local Government Association; we are committed to ensuring we take into consideration the views of independent candidates as effectively as possible.

Campaigning is an essential part of democracy. Voters deserve to be well informed before going to the polls and there must be a level playing field for candidates. On 22 February the Prime Minister announced the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown and we have since published guidance on campaigning reflecting the updated COVID restrictions/guidance.

The whole of England remains in a national lockdown and will do so until 29 March. The current restrictions do not support door-to-door campaigning or leafleting by individual campaigners. Leaving home to undertake leafleting increases the risk of unnecessary social interactions and viral transmission both during travel and on doorsteps. Campaigners should instead ensure leafleting is carried out through existing commercial delivery services, which are already operating and delivering during the national lockdown. Any spending on this which is incurred during a regulated period must count towards a candidate’s spending limit.


From 8 March, individual activists will be able to campaign outdoors in a COVID-secure way. The rules will allow for individual campaigners to deliver leaflets and to engage with electors on their doorsteps - but they should always be socially distanced and not enter inside people’s homes.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
28th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what the fatality rate from COVID-19 is among (1) individuals with a residence permit with the condition of no recourse to public funds, and (2) individuals who are not subject to the residency condition of no recourse to public funds.

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


Dear Lady Bennett,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking what the fatality rate from COVID-19 is among (1) individuals with a residence permit with the condition of no recourse to public funds, and (2) individuals who are not subject to the residency condition of no recourse to public funds (HL9704).

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) publishes statistics on deaths in England and Wales. Mortality statistics are based on the information provided by doctors and coroners through death registration, which focuses on the causes of death and does not include all the circumstances of the deceased. We are unable to provide figures related to residency status.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
30th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to monitor (1) the level of political funding from companies and individuals associated with (a) the arms trade, (b) tobacco companies (c) private medical companies, (d) pharmaceutical companies, and (e) the financial sector, and (2) the percentage, individually and collectively, that funding by companies and individuals constitutes of the total amount of political spending.

Lawfully constituted UK companies may make permissible political donations. The Electoral Commission is responsible for regulating party financing. The Commission publishes information relating to donations and loans over £7,500, including the name of the donor and other appropriate such as their address and company registration number. Details are available online.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the level of corporate debt in companies providing essential public services through outsourcing, and (2) any risks such outsourcing presents to the continuation of public services.

The private sector has a vital role to play in delivering good value, innovative, and high quality public services. We continue to regularly monitor the financial health of suppliers, including all of our strategic suppliers. Throughout these unprecedented times, suppliers have worked with Government to protect the delivery of vital public services and aid the response to the pandemic.

The Outsourcing Playbook, which was updated in June 2020, includes 11 key policy reforms which help government and industry work better together to deliver quality public services.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
7th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they have spent on paid for sponsored advertising in (1) the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, (2) the Times, (3) the Telegraph, (4) the Express, and (5) in total, since 23 March; what is their planned future spend for such advertising; and which department is responsible for overseeing such advertising and its cost.

The Government has developed a strong national campaign to provide information and reassurance to the public about COVID-19. As part of this, we have utilised advertising in over 600 national, regional and local titles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Cabinet Office is responsible for overseeing these advertising costs. Cabinet Office publishes expenditure, including on public information campaigns, on a rolling monthly basis on GOV.UK as part of routine government transparency arrangements.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
27th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they do not wish the UK to align with EU regulations on environmental standards and workers' rights at the end of the transition period when they have committed to maintain or go further than those regulations.

The UK is committed to high standards, and has led the way in areas such as workers’ rights and environmental protection.

After the transition period, which ends on 31 December 2020, the UK will choose its own standards and regulations. This is a fundamental right of a sovereign nation; our Government will uphold our high standards, not because of obligations to European institutions and courts but through our own free will and that of our democratically elected Parliament.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
5th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by the Lord Privy Seal (Baroness Evans of Bowes Park) on 3 February (HL Deb, col 1663), what is their timetable for COP26 negotiations.

The Prime Minister demonstrated his focus on climate action on Tuesday 4 February 2020 by launching the COP26 Climate Summit. The text of the speech is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-speech-at-cop-26-launch-4-february-2020

Regarding meetings of the Cabinet, it is a long established precedent that information about the discussions that have taken place in Cabinet and its Committees, and how often they have met, is not shared publicly.

The negotiations timetable for COP26 will be set by the UK, as President of COP26, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat. The timetable will be informed by the outcome of negotiations, including at the intersessional meeting in Bonn in June. Details of the timetable for high level and public events will be announced by the Government in due course.

The UK Government is working closely with the Scottish Government and with operational delivery partners, including Police Scotland and Glasgow City Council, to ensure the successful delivery of COP26 in Glasgow. The security plan for the COP26 venue will be jointly developed and agreed on by the United Nations security team and UK counterparts. Discussions with delivery partners regarding costs for COP26 are ongoing, and final budgets and details are yet to be confirmed.

The UK Government is committed to working with the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive to deliver an ambitious and successful summit for the whole of the UK. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on GOV.UK

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
5th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they expect the COP26 venue to operate as one unit without internal security checks or other barriers for all its parts.

The Prime Minister demonstrated his focus on climate action on Tuesday 4 February 2020 by launching the COP26 Climate Summit. The text of the speech is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-speech-at-cop-26-launch-4-february-2020

Regarding meetings of the Cabinet, it is a long established precedent that information about the discussions that have taken place in Cabinet and its Committees, and how often they have met, is not shared publicly.

The negotiations timetable for COP26 will be set by the UK, as President of COP26, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat. The timetable will be informed by the outcome of negotiations, including at the intersessional meeting in Bonn in June. Details of the timetable for high level and public events will be announced by the Government in due course.

The UK Government is working closely with the Scottish Government and with operational delivery partners, including Police Scotland and Glasgow City Council, to ensure the successful delivery of COP26 in Glasgow. The security plan for the COP26 venue will be jointly developed and agreed on by the United Nations security team and UK counterparts. Discussions with delivery partners regarding costs for COP26 are ongoing, and final budgets and details are yet to be confirmed.

The UK Government is committed to working with the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive to deliver an ambitious and successful summit for the whole of the UK. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on GOV.UK

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
5th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the First Minister of Scotland about COP26.

The Prime Minister demonstrated his focus on climate action on Tuesday 4 February 2020 by launching the COP26 Climate Summit. The text of the speech is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-speech-at-cop-26-launch-4-february-2020

Regarding meetings of the Cabinet, it is a long established precedent that information about the discussions that have taken place in Cabinet and its Committees, and how often they have met, is not shared publicly.

The negotiations timetable for COP26 will be set by the UK, as President of COP26, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat. The timetable will be informed by the outcome of negotiations, including at the intersessional meeting in Bonn in June. Details of the timetable for high level and public events will be announced by the Government in due course.

The UK Government is working closely with the Scottish Government and with operational delivery partners, including Police Scotland and Glasgow City Council, to ensure the successful delivery of COP26 in Glasgow. The security plan for the COP26 venue will be jointly developed and agreed on by the United Nations security team and UK counterparts. Discussions with delivery partners regarding costs for COP26 are ongoing, and final budgets and details are yet to be confirmed.

The UK Government is committed to working with the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive to deliver an ambitious and successful summit for the whole of the UK. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on GOV.UK

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
5th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many times the Prime Minister has convened the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Climate Change; and when it will next meet.

The Prime Minister demonstrated his focus on climate action on Tuesday 4 February 2020 by launching the COP26 Climate Summit. The text of the speech is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-speech-at-cop-26-launch-4-february-2020

Regarding meetings of the Cabinet, it is a long established precedent that information about the discussions that have taken place in Cabinet and its Committees, and how often they have met, is not shared publicly.

The negotiations timetable for COP26 will be set by the UK, as President of COP26, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat. The timetable will be informed by the outcome of negotiations, including at the intersessional meeting in Bonn in June. Details of the timetable for high level and public events will be announced by the Government in due course.

The UK Government is working closely with the Scottish Government and with operational delivery partners, including Police Scotland and Glasgow City Council, to ensure the successful delivery of COP26 in Glasgow. The security plan for the COP26 venue will be jointly developed and agreed on by the United Nations security team and UK counterparts. Discussions with delivery partners regarding costs for COP26 are ongoing, and final budgets and details are yet to be confirmed.

The UK Government is committed to working with the Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive to deliver an ambitious and successful summit for the whole of the UK. Details of Ministerial meetings are published quarterly on GOV.UK

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
29th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they plan to take to ensure that the Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission is unbiased, and perceived to be unbiased.

I refer the noble Baroness to the answer I gave to PQ HL36 on 7 January 2020. Further details will be announced in due course.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
29th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they plan to take to ensure that the Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission enjoys broad public support, engagement and input.

I refer the noble Baroness to the answer I gave to PQ HL36 on 7 January 2020. Further details will be announced in due course.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
29th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to publish (1) proposals, and (2) the terms of reference, for the Constitution, Democracy and Rights Commission.

I refer the noble Baroness to the answer I gave to PQ HL36 on 7 January 2020. Further details will be announced in due course.

Earl Howe
Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
8th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how their obligations under Article 7 of the Aarhus Convention 1998 are discharged regarding Local Enterprise Partnership (1) plans, and (2) programs.

The Government requires each LEP to set out in their local assurance framework their arrangements for governance and transparent decision making in regard to LEP plans and programs. In relation to Article 7 of the Aarhus Convention 1998, these assurance requirements include:

1. Board membership, including an identified board member to represent and engage with the SME business community.

2. Collective engagement with local authority leaders in decision-making on growth priorities.

3. A dedicated website through which local partners and the public can check progress on the delivery of Growth Deals and access key documents such as the Strategic Economic Plan, ensuring that this information can be found easily and is accessible to all


4. Through their accountable body, ensure that Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Regulation requests are dealt with in line with relevant legislation


5. Ensure that there is ongoing local engagement with public and private sector stakeholders to inform key decisions and set out how they will evidence effective engagement


6. Ensure that there is local engagement with and feedback to the general public about future Local Enterprise Partnership strategy development and progress against delivery of the SEP, including key projects and spend against those projects and that this can be evidenced

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Nov 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that Local Enterprise Partnerships (1) are locally democratically accountable, and (2) are working co-operatively with local authorities.

In order to ensure that Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) are locally democratically accountable, and work co-operatively with local authorities, the Government requires each LEP to adhere to the National Assurance Framework. The Framework is available to view on the GOV.UK website.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking in developing green, low climate emission steel, substituting hydrogen for coking coal; and when is the first steel from this expected to be delivered.

Decarbonising UK industry is a core part of the Government’s ambitious plan for the green industrial revolution. The Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, published on 17 March, commits Government to work with the Steel Council to consider the implications of the recommendation of the Climate Change Committee to ‘set targets for ore-based steelmaking to reach near-zero emissions by 2035’. The Steel Council offers the forum for Government, industry and trade unions to work in partnership on the shared objective of creating an achievable, long-term plan to support the sector’s transition to a competitive, sustainable and low carbon future. Hydrogen-based steelmaking, Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS), and electrification are some of the technological approaches being examined as part of this process.

The UK steel sector will be given the opportunity to bid into industrial fuel switching innovation programmes under the £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP), which is intended to promote switching away from more carbon-intensive fuel sources. The Government has also announced a £250 million Clean Steel Fund to support the UK steel sector to transition to lower carbon iron and steel production, through investment in new technologies and processes.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote the recycling of used steel within the UK, including but not limited to using renewable energy for that purpose.

The UK has a strong domestic recycling market and currently retrieves 11.3 million tonnes of steel scrap per year through regulations such as end-of-life vehicles (ELV) and construction site waste management plans. Of this, around 2.6 million tonnes are currently recycled (melted in a steel plant or cast metals facility) domestically.

The Government published a report, undertaken by the University of Warwick in February 2021, entitled ‘Domestic Scrap Steel Recycling – Economic, Environmental and Social Opportunities’ which assesses long-term options for action to improve recycling rates of steel in the UK. The Government is currently considering the recommendations made in the report.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th Aug 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks of the Scotland Office Minister David Duguid on 16 August, what plans they have to deliver a programme of retaining oil from the Cambo oil field in barrels; what such a programme would cost; and what long-term environmental impacts have been identified.

No decision has yet been taken by regulators, the Oil and Gas Authority and the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning, on the request for approval for the Cambo field to proceed to production.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they plan to take in response to the report by the TUC Ranking G7 Green Recovery Plans and jobs, published on 2 June.

Under UK leadership at the G7, we have put Green Recovery from COVID-19 at the top of the international agenda and secured historic commitments such as the first ever ‘net zero G7’, with all countries committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The G7 agreed to phase out new direct government support for fossil fuel energy projects internationally, following a leading commitment made by the UK in December, and G7 members will end all new direct government support for unabated international thermal coal power generation by the end of 2021.

In order to deliver this, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan brings together £12 billion of government investment to unlock three times as much private sector investment by 2030; and support up to 250,000 jobs across the UK by 2030. On top of this, schemes such as the Contracts for Difference (CfD) incentivise investment. Up to £557m of annual support for future Contracts for Difference has been committed, providing renewables developers with the confidence they need to invest in bringing forward new projects.

We will build on this even further and deliver a stronger, greener, more sustainable economy after this pandemic. We have started with the Energy White Paper and Industrial Decarbonisation Plan, and we will continue to set out further measures as in the run up to COP26, including publishing our Net Zero Strategy.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
18th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they plan to take to ensure that palaeographic genetic data is kept in the public domain.

Her Majesty’s Government supports the management of and access to research data, so that it can be widely used for research and innovation. The UK Research and Development Roadmap (copy attached) published last year emphasised the importance of data and open research.

The UK enjoys a well-established infrastructure and policy framework for good research data management and access, covering multiple disciplines, including national data centres such as the National Geosciences Data Centre. UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the UK’s largest public research funder, requires those in receipt of funding from Research Councils to ensure “that all parties engaged in the research make every reasonable effort to ensure that intellectual assets obtained in the course of the research, whether protected by intellectual property rights or not, are used for the benefit of society and the economy”.

UKRI and its Research Councils have policies that set out expectations and guidance on sharing and managing research data. It has a common set of principles on research data, including that publicly funded research data are a public good, produced in the public interest, which should be made openly available with as few restrictions as possible in a responsible manner. UKRI in partnership with research organisations developed the Concordat on Open Research Data to ensure that the research data gathered and generated by members of the UK research community is made available for use by others wherever possible.

UKRI work closely with international bodies to enable global sharing and access to data in the interest of the economy and society. Recently the OECD’s Recommendation on Access to Research Data from Public Funding was updated and this will guide further policy and support in the UK as well as across all OECD members.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to supporting the call by the European Commission and others for a moratorium on deep sea mining.

There is no deep sea mining currently happening in areas beyond national jurisdictions, there are no exploitation licences for deep sea mining, and no exploitation regulations have yet been agreed. Any mining licenced under future regulations is unlikely to begin for several years. In addition, the UK has committed not to sponsor or support the issuing of any exploitation licences for deep sea mining projects unless and until there is sufficient scientific evidence about the potential impact on deep sea ecosystems and strong and enforceable environmental regulations and standards have been developed by the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and are in place.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), it is the role of the ISA to regulate and control all mineral-related activities in the international seabed area for the benefit of mankind as a whole. In so doing, the ISA has the duty to ensure the effective protection of the marine environment from harmful effects that may arise from deep seabed activities.

The UK has a strong and respected voice in these international negotiations and the UK position emphasises the need to ensure that the highest possible environmental standards are met in the development of this new industry. We judge that engaging fully with these negotiations is the most effective way for the UK to work with others so that no deep sea mining takes place in the absence of strong and enforceable environmental regulations and standards. This includes requiring that Regional Environmental Management Plans are adopted for each region before any exploitation licence can even be considered, as well as the adoption of strong and enforceable environmental Standards as well as Guidelines.

Finally, on terminology, we note that the European Commission, in its recent sustainable blue economy strategy, has not made reference to a moratorium, but has set out that “In international negotiations, the EU should advocate that marine minerals in the international seabed area cannot be exploited before the effects of deep-sea mining on the marine environment, biodiversity and human activities have been sufficiently researched, the risks are understood and the technologies and operational practices are able to demonstrate no serious harm to the environment.” We understand from the statement that the outcomes we and the Commission are arguing for are essentially the same, that no deep sea mining should take place in the absence of strong and enforceable environmental regulations and standards.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
17th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the landing of a Chinese rover on Mars; and what plans they have, if any, to support the 1979 Moon Agreement, and in particular its principle that the resources of space should not be appropriated by any commercial or state interest.

Her Majesty’s Government has noted with interest the successful landing of the Zhurong rover on Mars and we welcome the increased scientific research and understanding of Mars that it will enable.

Her Majesty’s Government is not a signatory to the Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies; therefore, its principles do not apply to the United Kingdom.

However, the Government continues to support the principle that all nations operating rovers on Mars and other celestial bodies abide by the provisions of the UN Outer Space Treaty. The UK actively participates in the UN Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its Subcommittees to define best practice and associated guidelines.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Callanan on 15 February (HL12862) and 23 February (HL13155), what is the average time for individual payments for each of the final two stages of delivery of Green Homes Grant funds; and what is the longest time it has taken to complete individual payments for each stage.

The scheme administrator is prioritising the payment of the vouchers and we are continuing to see an increase in the number of vouchers being paid out to installers once work is complete.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking (1) to ensure that installers of measures under the Green Homes Fund are being paid promptly, and (2) to prevent those installers from (a) laying off staff, or (b) going out of business, due to delays in payment.

Installer payment is a four stage process: I refer the noble Baroness to the answer I gave the noble Lord Stunell on 15th February 2021 to Question HL12862. The Scheme Administrator, ICF, will release payment once the process is complete including all required checks. ICF are currently prioritising the payment of installers.

BEIS officials are working with consumers and installers to ensure they are clear on the information and checks required as part of the payment process, so that installers can be paid as quickly as possible. We will continue to work closely with ICF to identify further process improvements, increase the number of vouchers issued, and payments released.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how artworks created in the UK but from materials originating elsewhere will be treated by the EU under the region of origin rules as set out in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement reached between the United Kingdom and the European Union, published on 24 December 2020.

Artworks classified in Chapter 97 of the Harmonised System (Works of art, collectors’ pieces and antiques) are currently eligible for import at zero tariffs under both the UK Global Tariff and the EU Common External Tariff. This means that businesses who trade artwork between the UK and EU do not need to comply with Rules of Origin under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement to export or import under zero tariffs.

Traders should refer to the UK Global Tariff: (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tariffs-on-goods-imported-into-the-uk)

and to the EU Common External Tariff: (https://ec.europa.eu/info/business-economy-euro/trade-non-eu-countries/import-eu_en)

If in the future the EU Common External Tariff changed to make artwork subject to tariffs, artwork produced in the UK would have to comply with Rules of Origin to export zero tariff to the EU under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. In that scenario, UK producers should refer to the full Rules of Origin requirements set out in the text of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. Detailed guidance is available on GOV.UK:
 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rules-of-origin-for-goods-moving-between-the-uk-and-eu

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a value for money test is applied to all quotations submitted for partial support under the Green Homes Grant scheme; and if so, whether any such assessments are required to be made by appropriately qualified persons with knowledge of local conditions.

The scheme administrator checks all applications to ensure that they are eligible for the scheme, and that the applications are value for money and reflective of typical market prices. These checks take account of factors such as different sizes of property, types of system and geographic area. This ensures that government funding is spent appropriately.

The Green Homes Grant scheme aims to ensure that households are given the best possible service when installing greener adaptations. All primary installers must be TrustMark registered, as well as Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) certified for heat and Publicly Available Specification (PAS) certified for energy efficiency. It is through this that it is ensured that installations are of the highest quality.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Statement by Lord Callanan on 15 December (HLWS646), what plans they have to consult with civil society groups and the wider public as part of their review into how regulatory impacts are assessed in advance of setting the next Business Impact Target.

The Government is required by the Small Business, Enterprise, and Employment (SBEE) Act 2015 to set a Business Impact Target at the start of each Parliament, ensuring that we remain accountable and transparent to both business and the public for the decisions we make. As set out in the Manifesto, we “will strive to achieve the right regulatory balance between supporting excellent business practice and protecting workers, consumers and the environment” (p.33). The Government does not believe that the current methods for assessing regulatory impacts allow for this. Therefore, we will consult with civil society groups and the wider public to ensure the impact of regulations are reflected more effectively, so as to continue to provide the necessary protections without placing unnecessary burdens on business. The Government will set out the details of who we intend to consult when we come to announce proposals for the review of the Business Impact Target.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risk to consumers of untransparent terms and conditions for online payments, and in particular, the risk of signing up to continuous payments in error; and what steps they plan to take to address any such risk.

Under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, all terms of written contracts must be fair and transparent. If terms in a consumer contract are assessed by a court as unfair, they will not be binding on the consumer, even if the consumer has “accepted” them.

The Government is working closely with Citizens Advice and the Consumer Protection Partnership, which brings together key partners within the consumer protection framework, to examine ways to make it easier for consumers to cancel unwanted subscriptions and avoid them facing unreasonable charges.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) applications have been made to, and (2) vouchers issued under, the Green Homes Grant scheme; what is the total value of any such (a) applications, and (b) vouchers; and what is the regional distribution of (i) the applications, (ii) issued vouchers, and (iii) payouts, relating to that scheme.

As of 16:22, 11 January 2021, 60,759 grant applications have been received, corresponding to 93,569 vouchers and a total cost of works of £464.3m applications received1. Of these, 14,902 vouchers have been issued [reporting 12:19:59, 11.01.2021].

Grant applications2, given by region, are as follows [reporting 16:22:00, 11.01.2021]:

  • North East: 2,139
  • Yorkshire and the Humber: 8,621
  • North West: 10,481
  • East Midlands: 6,032
  • West Midlands: 7,243
  • London: 5,894
  • East of England: 6,083
  • South East: 7,153
  • South West: 6,831

Grant applications3 that have been issued vouchers, given by region, are as follows [reporting 16:22:00, 11.01.2021]:

  • North East: 492
  • Yorkshire and the Humber: 1,593
  • North West: 1,601
  • East Midlands: 1,491
  • West Midlands: 1,640
  • London: 1,373
  • East of England: 1,727
  • South East: 1,895
  • South West: 1,359

The first vouchers have been redeemed, and more vouchers are being redeemed every day. BEIS will continue to monitor application data as the scheme progresses.

Homeowners and landlords submit grant applications for energy efficiency and clean heat measures they want to install in their properties, under the scheme. Once approved, vouchers are issued for each measure that has been applied for.

1 This value has been derived by taking the sum of the cost of all works applied for within the scheme, for all applications to date.

2 The total grant applications by region is 60,477. This differs from the headline total of 60,759 due to a slightly different reporting period.

3 The values provided for this figure describes the regional breakdown of grant applications that have been issued vouchers. This is different to the regional breakdown of vouchers, in that more one application may generate more than one voucher.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 23 December (HL11338), what suggestions the International Union of Railways have made "to enhance the take up of rail travel to Glasgow from Europe".

The International Union of Railways is one of a number of organisations and transport operators that are engaged as the COP26 Unit develops the transport plan. In order to enhance the take up of rail travel from Europe to Glasgow, a robust communications campaign that encourages those who can, to travel by rail to the UK, will be put in place.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 23 December (HL13338), whether the draft of their multifaceted travel plan will be available for public consultation.

The COP26 Unit is developing the Transport Plan alongside transport operators with the interests of user groups in consideration throughout. As with other large events, a public consultation on transport is not planned. The Transport Plan will include a comprehensive communications strategy that will engage with delegates and the public on transport options available and the potential impact of COP26 on the existing transport system.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 6 August (HL7322), what progress they have made on the travel plan for COP26; and what plans they have (1) to block book trains or carriages, (2) arrange special trains or carriages, and (3) to appoint official agents to arrange travel, for those attending COP26.

We continue to encourage all delegates to consider low-carbon travel options, such as rail, particularly those arriving from Europe. We have had early engagement with the International Union of Railways to understand what may be done to enhance the take up of rail travel to Glasgow from Europe.

Rail travel within the UK will certainly be encouraged and we are in the process of developing a multifaceted transport plan that is ISO2012 compliant, supports the delegate experience and has sustainability at its core.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to introduce the Employment Bill announced in the Queen's Speech.

In the Queens’ Speech, we announced we will bring forward measures to deliver on a range of Manifesto commitments.

Our legislation will make workplaces fairer, by providing better support for working families, new protections for those in low-paid work, and by encouraging flexible working.

It it is important that we work closely with stakeholders to make sure we get the legislation right, and we e will bring forward details of the Employment Bill in due course.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much of the Green Homes Grant fund has been (1) applied for, and (2) paid out.

The Green Homes Grant opened to applications on 30th September 2020. As of 6th November 2020, 34,027 grant applications have been received. The first vouchers have been issued, however will only become redeemable once scheduled works are completed. BEIS will continue to monitor application data as the scheme progresses.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of (1) the total number of trained energy assessors, (2) the percentage of such assessors who have completed PAS 2030 training, and (3) the average time taken to secure an energy assessment in each region of the UK.

Based on data from The Property Energy Professionals Association (PEPA), there are currently approximately 10-12,000 trained, and practicing, Domestic Energy Assessors (DEAs); this includes DEAs who have lodged assessments in the last 2 years.

PEPA is a trade body which represents companies that are engaged in the provision of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) in the domestic sector and members of the Association are primarily composed of the accreditation companies that oversee energy assessors in the production of EPCs. They also cover energy assessors in the non-domestic sector for the provision of Display Energy Certificates (DECs).

The average time to secure an energy assessment is 5 working days unless there are property complexities where further evidence is required; the maximum time permitted then is 28 days. For sales and rentals, an energy assessment must be ordered within the first 7 days of a property going onto the market, however the vast majority are completed within 5 working days. The energy assessors routinely adapt to fluctuations in demand.

PAS 2030 is a technical standard for the installation of specific measures (such as solid wall and loft insulation) and does not cover energy assessments or assessors.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
4th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the number, and (2) the capacity, of Trustmark assessors relative to service demand; what is the average waiting time for an assessment in each region of the UK; and what assessment they have made of the impact of the announcement on the Green Homes Grant on those figures.

The Green Homes Grant scheme has been designed to help stimulate economic recovery and create and support tens of thousands of green jobs. As of 2nd November, there were 1,141 businesses that are TrustMark registered and hold the necessary certifications to install measures under the voucher scheme.

BEIS officials are working closely with the industry to increase the number of installers available and with TrustMark scheme providers and certification bodies to support installers to get certified as quickly as possible, including streamlining certification processes where possible. We are also supporting the growth of the industry through a £6.9m skills competition to provide training opportunities for energy efficiency and low carbon heating supply chains to deliver works and scale up to meet additional consumer demand.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Callanan on 19 October (HL8705), how many schemes have been set up for training Green Homes Grant skills; where in the UK such schemes are located; what the capacity to deliver such training is in each region of the UK; what academic level the training is; and how many students have (1) enrolled in, and (2) completed, the training.

The Department launched a £6.9m skills competition to provide training opportunities for energy efficiency and low carbon heating supply chains, to deliver works and scale up to meet additional consumer demand. This could deliver up to 5,000 training opportunities in support of the scheme, dependent on how the funding is allocated. The competition recently closed, and the bids are being assessed. The Department received bids from all regions in England (Midlands, North East, Yorkshire & Humber, North West, South East, South West) and for all work packages. Training will commence once successful applicants have been informed.

Funding will be provided to support training individuals with existing skills and those new to the sector, along with support for installation companies to gain PAS 2030 or MCS accreditation as required by the Green Homes Grant scheme. Training courses will be carried out against the following specific technology standards – National Occupational Standards (NOS), PAS 2030: 2017, 2019 or MCS standards or higher. The work packages within the competition cover retrofit assessor and retrofit coordinator, insulation, non-insulation fabric measures, heat pumps & solar thermal; heating and hot water controls.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for extending the Green Homes Grant scheme to March 2022; and what plans they have to provide funding for that purpose.

Any extension to the Green Homes Grant Voucher Scheme would be subject to the outcome of the Spending Review.

The Government is committed to improving the building stock as part of reaching our net zero targets, up to £65bn investment will be needed in housing retrofit across the 2020s.

We have confirmed that the delivery dates for Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery scheme and the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Demonstrator will extend into 2021/22 to provide assurance that work will be available. Outside of those schemes, we are creating the regulatory environment to drive retrofit and on 30th September we published a consultation on further improving the energy performance of privately rented homes over the 2020s, which provides a clear signal on how Government is committed to improving the housing stock.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
20th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government which organisations, groups or contractors were involved in the (1) development, (2) construction, and (3) contents, of the Simple Energy Advice website.

The Simple Energy Advice Service (SEA) was launched in 2018, in response to the Government-commissioned Each Home Counts Review, as a new digital and phoneline service to provide homeowners with impartial and tailored advice on how to cut their energy bills and make their homes greener. It also provides information on any available local and national financial support.

Softwire were, and remain, contracted to develop, and construct the website with content provided by BEIS Policy teams.

In order to feature on the website, businesses and tradespeople must be registered with TrustMark and appropriately certified to install energy efficiency and low carbon heat measures. TrustMark is the government-endorsed quality scheme covering work a consumer chooses to have carried out on their home.

The content of the site is regularly reviewed and updated by BEIS policy teams and we also gather feedback from external stakeholders. In addition, local authorities and NGO’s can also submit information on area specific projects to support consumers in their local area.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the postponement of their autumn comprehensive spending review, what plans they have to accelerate measures to address (1) climate change, and (2) biodiversity loss.

Last week, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister set out his determination for the UK to be at the forefront of the green industrial revolution, as we accelerate our progress towards net zero emissions by 2050. This year, the government has set out billions in support for addressing climate change, including over £3 billion to transform energy efficiency in homes and public buildings. We will be bringing forward sectoral decarbonisation plans, such as an Energy White Paper, as part of our leadership on global climate action through our COP26 and G7 Presidencies. We are also continuing to deliver our ambitious agenda for adapting to climate change, outlined in the second National Adaptation Programme (NAP). This includes £5.2 billion over six years from April 2021 in a major upgrade to flood and coastal protection.

Our 25 Year Environment Plan marked a step-change in ambition for wildlife and the natural environment. We announced new funding at Budget this year – up to £25m Nature Recovery Fund and £640m Nature for Climate Fund, of which £40m has been brought forward under the recently opened Green Recovery Challenge Fund. These funds will kick start a programme of nature-based projects to address the twin challenges of halting biodiversity loss and tackling climate change.

The Environment Bill will drive the long-term action nature needs to recover, through legally binding targets in at least four priority areas: air, water, biodiversity, and waste and resources. We are also developing a new Environmental Land Management scheme that will reward farmers and land managers for delivering environmental public goods as set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan, including thriving plants and wildlife.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
5th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the capacity of the building sector, particularly small independent builders, to meet the Green Home Fund deadline for training and registering of companies and sole-traders, commissioning, completing and documenting works before the deadline of 31 March 2021; and whether they have considered extending (1) the time frame, and (2) the funding made available.

We are working closely with TrustMark and wider actors in the supply chain to market the scheme and encourage suppliers who could become TrustMark registered and PAS or MCS certified to do so. We have recently launched the Green Homes Grant skills training competition to fund programmes which can deliver training and support towards becoming certified, among other things. This is scheduled to deliver 5,000 training opportunities in support of the scheme.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
10th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to reports of issues relating to construction and security at Liverpool Hope Hospital, Manchester Uptown, and the University of Sheffield, what plans they have to improve (1) the oversight, (2) the management, and (3) the quality of the outcome, of construction projects in the UK.

The Government is committed to improving the productivity and performance of the construction sector. For this reason, we published the Construction Sector Deal in 2018, which aims to transform the productivity of the sector.

One key element of the Sector Deal is £420 million of combined investment from industry and the Government in digital and offsite manufacturing technologies. Digital techniques deployed at all phases of design will deliver improved safety during the construction and operation of buildings, producing better, surer results. Offsite manufacturing technologies will help to minimise the wastage, inefficiencies, and delays that affect onsite construction.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to submit an upgraded nationally determined contributions plan for the 26th UN Climate Change Conference by the deadline at the end of the year; and what steps they are taking as chair of that conference to encourage other nations to meet that deadline.

As part of our incoming COP Presidency, in partnership with Italy, we are urging all countries to come forward with new NDCs representing their highest possible ambition as soon as possible – and noting the expectation in the Paris Agreement that NDCs are submitted in 2020. The UK will play its part and we are preparing to come forward with an enhanced NDC well ahead of COP26. It is our priority in doing so to contribute to the greatest possible momentum and ambition ahead of COP26.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to improve enforcement of minimum wage legislation in the garment sector in the UK.

We are deeply concerned by the reports of labour exploitation in the Leicester textiles industry. In light of these serious allegations, a multi-agency Taskforce, led by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) has been set up in Leicester to enable the relevant enforcement bodies to work together at pace to take appropriate action against unscrupulous employers who exploit workers. The taskforce includes HMRC’s National Minimum Wage (NMW) team.

Since 2012/13, HMRC’s NMW team has investigated more than 150 garment trade employers, including multiple employers operating in Leicester. To date, HMRC has recovered over £215,000 in wage arrears for 411 textile workers and issued over £325,000 in corresponding penalties to employers. Since 2015, HMRC have facilitated 19 director disqualifications relating to the textile sector. HMRC are also exploring outreach activities with local groups in Leicester, such as holding community events, designed to promote HMRC NMW rights for workers, and support employers and agency partners.

The Government is committed to improving enforcement of employment rights. We have announced the intention to introduce a Single Enforcement Body, which will provide a clearer route for workers to raise a complaint and get support, enabling more coordinated enforcement action and the use of pooled intelligence to better target proactive enforcement. We are also extending state enforcement to cover holiday pay for vulnerable workers and umbrella companies operating in the agency worker market.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to include (1) citizen, and (2) business, particularly small independent business, representation on the independent advisory body referred to in the UK Internal Market White Paper published in July, to report to Parliament on the functioning of that Internal Market.

The White Paper sets out proposals for independent functions to support the smooth running of the Internal Market. These proposals are being consulted on, and we encourage the public to share their views on the White Paper proposals through the consultation, which will close on 13 August.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to assist and support new small independent businesses to start up to cater for the needs of the increasing numbers of home workers across the UK.

In the context of supporting employers during Coronavirus as the economy reopens, from 1 August Government will give employers more discretion on how their employees carry out their roles. We would expect employers and employees to discuss their working arrangements and the best way that roles can be carried out safely. Working from home is one way to do this, but workplaces can also be made COVID-secure using Government guidance if employers wish their workforce to return to the workplace.

Regarding wider support for new businesses who wish to start up, or existing businesses wishing to scale up, all advice, guidance – including employee support, tools to identify the right finance, and checklists for setting up the business in line with regulations – is provided nationally on the gov.uk website, via the government-backed British Business Bank (BBB) online Finance Hub and in England through the network of 38 government-backed growth hubs.

In England, small and medium-sized businesses that are adversely affected by coronavirus will have access to grants of between £1,000 - £5,000 (typical grant £3,000) to help them access new technology and other equipment as well as professional, legal, financial or other advice to help them get back on track. This will be available through the existing network of growth hubs, or where there is no growth hub in the area, via an existing ERDF business support provider.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that all firms based in, and selling products in, the UK comply with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in conducting due diligence on the impact of the products they sell.

The Government supports the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights - the authoritative, voluntary international framework, which encourages businesses to conduct due diligence as part of their approaches to protecting human rights. The Government also drives transparency from our businesses to hold them to account on human rights. UK listed companies cover relevant human rights issues as part of their annual corporate reporting and our large businesses publish supply chain transparency statements according to the Modern Slavery Act, including on due diligence approaches where these are followed. In May, the Government published two policy papers which provide an update on what the Government has done to implement the UN Guiding Principles and to give an overview of how each government department contributes to this work.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
27th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they are making, as hosts of COP26, to ensure that participants are able to travel to the conference in the lowest-carbon manner possible, including by (1) train from all parts of Europe, and (2) by sleeper trains.

We will encourage all delegates to consider low-carbon travel options, such as rail, particularly those arriving from Europe. Rail travel within the UK will certainly be encouraged and we are in the process of developing a multifaceted transport plan that supports the delegate experience and has sustainability at the core.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in rolling out Property Assessed Clean Energy programmes in the UK.

Our ambition is for as many UK homes as possible to be EPC Band C by 2035, where practical, cost-effective and affordable. We have launched a Green Home Finance Innovation Fund, which will provide £1.8 million to support three organisations to produce new green lending products for owner-occupiers to install energy efficiency improvements. We have also committed to a consultation on the merits of setting requirements for lenders to help the households they lend to improve their energy performance. Finally, we are working closely with the Green Finance Institute’s Coalition for the Energy Efficiency of Buildings to further develop the green finance market.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
16th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to implement the recommendations of Sir Donald Brydon’s Independent Review into the Quality and Effectiveness of Audit, published in December 2019.

We have had three independent reviews on aspects of audit: Sir Donald Brydon’s review, Sir John Kingman’s review of the Financial Reporting Council, and the CMA’s market study of statutory audit. The Government is committed to acting on their recommendations, including legislating to create a stronger regulator as soon as parliamentary time allows, and will publish proposals in the coming months.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in the implementation and roll out of the retrofitting standard PAS 2035; and whether they anticipate the implementation and roll out of the standard to be completed in time for the planned start of the Green Homes Grants.

PAS 2035 was published in June 2019 and is already being implemented under the Energy Company Obligation. Obligated energy suppliers currently have an incentive to install measures to PAS 2035 and all measures will have to be installed to the standard from 1 July 2021.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
7th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to fund energy efficiency improvements for (1) rental, (2) council, and (3) other social, housing.

In his Summer Economic Update, my Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a £2bn Green Home Grant scheme that will support homeowners and landlords of rented homes in England to improve the energy efficiency of their properties, reducing energy bills and carbon emissions, and supporting a green economic recovery.

The funding will be spent on paying for accredited tradespeople to install a range of measures, for example insulation, to improve the energy performance of their homes. Further detail on the eligibility for the scheme will be announced in due course before the scheme’s full launch in the Autumn.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what criteria they have used (1) to permit hairdressers to open, and (2) to decide that the providers of other close contact businesses, including (a) massage, and (b) wellbeing and holistic, services should not open, from 4 July. [T]

Following my Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s announcement, from 4 July hairdressers and barbers in England will be able to reopen, to offer hairdressing services, once they are following the COVID-secure guidelines.

We are taking a phased, cautious approach to reopening our economy, and other close contact services, like massage plus wellbeing and holistic services, remain closed until further notice. There is often greater risk of transmission due to prolonged periods of face-to-face contact and close proximity between staff and customers.

We appreciate that this is difficult for businesses, and we are working with businesses, trade associations and medical experts on the safest way to reopen close contact services, such as massage plus wellbeing and holistic services, as it is safe to do so. Our approach is guided by the scientific and medical advice, and every step is weighed against the evidence.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reduce UK consumption emissions in line with the report by the Committee on Climate Change Reducing UK emissions: 2020 Progress Report to Parliament, published on 25 June.

The UK follows the agreed international approach for estimating and reporting greenhouse gas emissions under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol, which is for countries to report the emissions produced within their territories.

Nevertheless, as the CCC highlight, we recognise the importance of also monitoring emissions on a consumption basis i.e. including emissions embedded in imports, and we publish data on this annually. Our consumption emissions fell by 21 per cent between 2007 and 2017, and by 3 per cent between 2016 and 2017.

We will formally respond to the Committee on Climate Change’s detailed recommendations in October.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the conclusion of the report by the Committee on Climate Change Reducing UK emissions: 2020 Progress Report to Parliament, published on 25 June, that "Energy Performance Certificate ratings have had issues with inconsistent or inaccurate estimations and measurements, leading to the likelihood that homes that do not meet efficiency standards can be rented", what plans they have to strengthen the Energy Performance Certificate system.

Since 1 April 2020, The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and wales) Regulations 2015 require that, subject to certain exemptions, all domestic private rented sector landlords in scope improve their properties to a minimum energy efficiency standard of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band E.

An EPC Call for Evidence ran from 26 July 2018 to 19 October 2018 and sought evidence on how EPCs performed against three attributes: quality, availability, and encouraging action to improve energy efficiency. The forthcoming Summary of Responses will outline the evidence received, including on effectiveness of EPCs. Alongside this, we will publish an EPC Action Plan to maximise the effectiveness of EPCs as a tool for the future.

Additionally, BEIS is in the process of updating the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) – the methodology used to generate EPC scores. SAP is updated in line with the updates to Part L of the Building Regulations, usually every 3-5 years. The next version of SAP (SAP 10), was consulted on in 2017 and is due to come into force with the updated version of Part L of the Building Regulations.

This SAP update together with the EPC Action Plan will help ensure home energy performance assessments are as accurate as possible.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the future support for low carbon heat consultation failed to include the option of large-scale heat pump projects, and proposed support only for off-grid domestic settings and district heat initiatives.

The aim of the Clean Heat Grant scheme for heat pumps and biomass is to provide targeted support to households and small and medium-size enterprises, where upfront cost is a particular barrier in transitioning to low-carbon heat. The scheme is focussed on supporting the installer base that will be required to implement regulations to phase out the installation of high-carbon fossil fuel heating off the gas grid. The Government is committed to doing this during the 2020s, as set out in the Clean Growth Strategy.

While off-gas-grid areas are therefore the focus of the scheme, and BEIS expects uptake to be higher in such areas, we do not propose to exclude support for heat pumps on the gas grid. We are also proposing to support installations in non-domestic buildings up to a capacity of 45kW.

The Clean Heat Grant scheme has been designed as part of a broader package of measures to support the decarbonisation of heat in buildings and in heat networks. The Government intends to publish a Heat and Buildings Strategy later this year, which will set out the wider actions that we will take for reducing emissions from buildings.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
9th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to removing restrictions on Sunday trading in England and Wales; what assessment they have made of the impact of the removal of such restrictions on the (1) (a) physical, and (b) mental, health of retail workers, and (2) quality of the (a) environment, and (b) air.

We are currently examining Sunday trading laws in the light of covid-19, as we did with the 2012 Olympics. This work includes understanding the impact upon workers and other stakeholders.

We will keep measures like this under review as we find ways to support supermarkets and other large shops manage social distancing, and shoppers to buy food and goods more conveniently.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the decision of the High Court which found that their consent for two gas-power units at Drax followed legal procedures, what plans they have to review their consent for these facilities to account for any increased role of renewable electricity generation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are no plans to review the consent granted on 4 October 2019 for the Drax Power Station Re-Powering Project.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Chartered Institute of Building Understanding Mental Health in the Built Environment, published on 11 May; and what steps they are taking in response.

The health and wellbeing of our construction workforce is of the utmost importance. The Government welcomes the Chartered Institute of Building’s report on mental health in the sector, and will consider its recommendations.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that households unable to pay utility bills will not face disconnection from their utilities for non-payment between 1 October 2020 and 1 March 2021.

The utilities are taking measures to support customers whose ability to pay their bills is being impacted.

In energy, all domestic energy suppliers have agreed to a set of principles to support energy customers impacted by Covid-19. These principles include the suspension of energy credit meter disconnections and support for prepayment meter customers to stay on supply.

All of the UK's major internet service and mobile providers have committed to working with customers who find it difficult to pay their bill as a result of Covid-19 to ensure that they are treated fairly and are appropriately supported.

In the water sector, existing legislation means water companies cannot disconnect household water supply if consumers are unable to pay their bills.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the deployment of (1) offshore, and (2) onshore, wind energy.

The UK is the world’s largest offshore wind market with 9.8GW installed, which is expected to rise to 14GW by 2023 and 19.5GW by 2026. On 23 July 2018, the Government announced the timetable for future Contracts for Difference auctions, which is the main mechanism for deploying new renewable technologies. The auctions have the potential to deliver up to 2GW of new offshore wind every year in the 2020s, which has given long term vision and clarity to the offshore wind sector.

The Offshore Wind Sector Deal, published on 7 March 2019, will build on the UK’s global leadership in offshore wind bringing a strategic approach to deliver increased capacity of offshore wind, while boosting the UK economy, enhancing growth in the regions while continuing to reduce costs.

Onshore wind has also deployed successfully to date in the UK, recently exceeding 14GW of installed operational capacity. Onshore wind continues to fall in cost and has resulted in several merchant onshore wind sites being deployed to date.

13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that the Navitus Bay wind farm site is successfully developed.

It is for developers to come forward with proposals for potential locations of generating stations including offshore windfarms.

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change assessed an application for development consent for a wind farm on the Navitus Bay wind farm site in 2015. The Secretary of State issued a decision on 11 September 2015 refusing the grant of development consent for the proposed Navitus Bay offshore wind farm.

The decision was in line with the recommendation of the Planning Inspectorate, which examined a wide range of issues related to the potential benefits and impacts of the project in reaching its conclusion. The Secretary of State’s decision letter sets out her consideration of those issues.

13th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the viability of the Navitus Bay wind farm site.

It is for developers to come forward with proposals for potential locations of generating stations including offshore windfarms.

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change assessed an application for development consent for a wind farm on the Navitus Bay wind farm site in 2015. The Secretary of State issued a decision on 11 September 2015 refusing the grant of development consent for the proposed Navitus Bay offshore wind farm.

The decision was in line with the recommendation of the Planning Inspectorate, which examined a wide range of issues related to the potential benefits and impacts of the project in reaching its conclusion. The Secretary of State’s decision letter sets out her consideration of those issues.

9th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to (1) promote, (2) encourage, and (3) support, charitable status for public interest journalism.

As set out in the response to the Cairncross Review, published in January 2020, the government has concluded that the current Charities Act system accommodates appropriate options for public interest journalism. Therefore the government has worked with the Charity Commission which has published advice on when undertaking or funding public interest journalism can be charitable. This advice also raises awareness of the more detailed guidance available for those publishers in England and Wales interested in pursuing charitable status.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to issue a response to the study by RunRepeat Racial Bias in Football Commentary, published on 10 July.

Racial bias or any form of discrimination has no place in football or society.

The Government is committed to working with the whole of sport to ensure it is diverse and inclusive, and to supporting greater diversity in the media, which plays a vital role in British society. It is important that the media reflects modern Britain with its diversity of thought and experience, both on and off screen and this can only be possible with a representative, and diverse workforce.

We will continue to liaise closely with all the football authorities to tackle discrimination in the game. To this end, I welcomed the Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background player-to-coach placement scheme jointly announced recently by the Premier League, English Football League and Professional Footballers’ Association to increase diversity in football coaching.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
16th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to intervene in the National Railway Museum’s decision to move Locomotion No. 1 from Darlington to Shildon.

The historic locomotive, Locomotion No.1, is owned by the Science Museum Group, and it is up to the Museum itself to determine where and to whom it loans objects from its collection. The Science Museum Group operates independently, at Arm’s Length from Government. We will not become involved in, or seek to influence, curatorial decisions.


Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to use the commissioning of public artworks as a mechanism to support the cultural sector during and after the COVID-19 pandemic; and if they have any such plans, how they intend to do so.

DCMS is working with partners to ensure all major programmes and policies support the national renewal. Festival 2022 will begin its commissioning phase this year through funded R&D with the sectors, and the Government Art Collection, which directly supports emerging and established British artists and galleries in the visual arts sector through their annual acquisitions budget, is looking to ensure this year’s acquisitions respond to the current situation.

The Government has already announced an unprecedented package of measures in place to provide immediate and vital support to the cultural sector during this pandemic. These include the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the Self Employment Support Scheme, the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, business rates relief and cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses.

DCMS has also worked with various Arms Length Bodies to create tailored funding packages to support the cultural sector at this time. Arts Council England has announced a £160m emergency response package to complement the financial measures already announced by the Government and support the resilience of this vital sector. This funding package will support organisations and individuals who need the most support to see them through this crisis.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
7th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by Baroness Morgan of Cotes on 6 February (HL Deb, col 1937) that the Government “supported all the recommendations apart from one: the proposal to establish an institute for public interest news” and “the Government have decided that it is not for the Government to take that recommendation forward”, what assessment they made to inform that decision; what support they intend to give, if any, to the establishment by other organisations of an institute for public interest news; what discussions they have had with other organisations about establishing such an institute; and with which organisations they have discussed any such plans.

The Government acknowledges the value the ‘Institute for Public Interest News’, proposed by Dame Frances Cairncross in her Review, is intended to achieve, in bringing different initiatives together in order to amplify their impact, and acting as a channel for collaboration. However, the Government recognises the concerns of many in the publishing industry regarding the inherent challenge an organisation with such a purpose will face in defining what qualifies as ‘public interest’ news, and what might therefore be deserving of support. It is not for the Government to define what qualifies as 'public interest' news. While any institute would be at arm’s length from the Government, we recognise concerns that even an arm’s length relationship risks perceptions of inappropriate Government interference with the press. The Government has therefore decided that it is not for the Government to take the recommendation forward.

There are a number of existing initiatives set up by the industry in this area, for example, the Google News Initiative, Facebook’s Community News Project, the Public Interest News Foundation set up by Impress, and the BBC’s proposed Local Democracy Foundation — with more potentially under development across the sector. Parts of the sector have shown a desire to help share approaches and best practice. It remains open for the sector to support the existing initiatives or form others as they see fit.

Notwithstanding that it is not for the Government to play a role in leading or designing an institution, there are some challenges and functions that Dame Frances envisaged as potentially being undertaken by an institute that the Government is minded to support through other routes. A key function where we see a potential role for Government to support is the funding of research into news provision and its impact on communities. The Government has recently put out an invitation to tender for research to support policy development on news sustainability and will continue to explore how it can commission further research into these areas, to provide a solid evidence base for future policy interventions.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
18th Aug 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure full professional and community engagement in its Initial teacher training (ITT) market review given it is taking place while schools are closed for the holidays.

The report from the Initial Teacher Training (ITT) Market Review was published on 5 July, around two weeks before the end of the school term, and the department launched a public consultation at the same time. The department recognises some of the consultation period fell during the school summer holidays, but this reflects the ambitious timetable that has been set for the review. We want to deliver any improvements decided upon as soon as is feasible as trainees, schools and pupils ultimately stand to benefit. The ITT Market Review is central to the department’s wider COVID-19 recovery plans and our approach to further narrowing attainment gaps to improve outcomes for all children and young people. During the spring, the department engaged with a broad range of sector representatives to help shape the report and will continue these discussions as we work towards publishing our response to the recommendations and ensuring all trainees have access to the highest quality ITT.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Global Future Silenced Voices, published on 10 March; and what plans they have to help community language teaching (1) recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and (2) increase.

The government remains committed to increasing take-up of all languages at GCSE through the English Baccalaureate (EBacc). Languages serve to broaden young people’s horizons and, as referred to in the Global Future Silenced Voices report, provides them with a number of employment opportunities and equips them with valuable skills that help ensure they can compete in the global market.

Since 2014, the national curriculum was reformed to include a modern or ancient language from age 7 to 11 at key stage 2. The expectation for secondary schools is to teach a modern language from age 11 to 14 at key stage 3 and for an increasing proportion of 14 to 16 year olds at key stage 4 to study a GCSE in a foreign language. Since 2010, the proportion of pupils at the end of key stage 4 entering modern foreign language GCSEs has increased from 40% to 46%.

We do not prescribe which languages schools should teach. Schools are free to teach any languages, including community languages, for whatever reasons they consider relevant, such as local demographics, social unity, or opening up wider career and future education opportunities. There is a broad range of community languages on offer in which pupils can take a GCSE or A level and we would like this to continue to be the case.

The Global Future Silenced Voices report mainly focuses on the importance of those studying GCSEs or A levels in a community language receiving a grade this year – in particular, those who have been studying outside a mainstream school environment. Private candidates can work with a centre to be assessed on a range of evidence, which could include evidence from an established educational provider and the board-provided assessment materials. The Joint Council for Qualifications has issued guidance for centres about assessing private candidates, taking into account their different circumstances.

To support centres with the additional requirements of assessing private candidates this year, and avoid the cost being passed on to candidates, we are providing a grant for centres to claim £200 per private candidate entry. The government is encouraging all available exams centres to sign up to help these candidates achieve their qualifications in this exceptional year.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to replace the eTwinning scheme, which ended when they withdrew from the Erasmus+ programme.

The new Turing Scheme, which replaces the Erasmus+ programme, will provide funding for school pupils to participate in international placements and exchanges, and the scheme is now open for schools to apply to. The scheme does not provide a like-for-like replacement of the eTwinning online platform. In considering what elements of the Erasmus+ programme we would immediately replicate under the Turing Scheme, we prioritised funding school pupils and students to participate in exchanges in person, to ensure that as many pupils as possible can benefit, including a focus on widening access for disadvantaged students. We want to give as many pupils as possible the opportunity to travel abroad to experience different cultures, improve their language skills, and build their independence.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
9th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Berridge on 14 January (HL Deb, col 882), what do they consider a reasonable maximum profit for a contractor to make on the new Edenred school food voucher scheme.

The government has taken unprecedented and substantial action to ensure that children do not go hungry as we take measures to tackle COVID-19, including in relation to free school meals.

Schools were free to decide the best approach for their free school meal pupils. They could provide lunch parcels, locally arranged vouchers, or the national voucher scheme.

The department does not comment on the commercial arrangements of third parties, but can confirm that we are only paying for the face value of goods delivered, which in this case is vouchers.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of counsellors in schools have specialist training in (1) assisting young victims of intimate partner violence, and (2) dealing with perpetrators of intimate partner violence.

The Department for Education does not collect data on the specialist training of counsellors working in schools. It is up to schools decide what support to offer to pupils, depending on their circumstances. To support the provision of counselling support in schools, the Department published a blueprint for school counselling services.  This provides schools with practical, evidence based advice, informed by schools and counselling experts, on how to deliver high quality school based counselling and is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/counselling-in-schools.

The guidance reflects the importance of using qualified and experienced counsellors and strongly advises that counsellors should have a diploma and be on an Accredited Voluntary Register. The precise qualifications held will depend on the role being carried out by the counsellor and how what they do fits with wider school support.

Headteachers and governing bodies are responsible for making decisions about how best to educate staff on their school’s responsibilities for safeguarding and child protection. All staff should undergo safeguarding and child protection training. This training should be in line with advice from the local three safeguarding partners, considering the specific needs of individual schools. In addition, designated safeguarding leads have a duty to ensure each member of staff has access to and understands the school’s child protection and procedures.

Schools should consider reflecting domestic abuse in this training. The ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ statutory guidance also makes it clear that if a child has been harmed or is at risk of harm a referral should be made to children’s social care immediately and, if appropriate, the police. The guidance includes an annex providing additional information on specific types of harm and abuse and additional information for staff on identifying and responding to domestic abuse. The guidance sets out that all schools should have an effective child protection policy.

The founders of Operation Encompass, an information sharing, safeguarding initiative between police and schools, have set up a teachers’ helpline to assist staff in educational settings to support children who may be experiencing domestic abuse. Currently funded by the Home Office, with contribution from the Department for Education, the helpline is available weekdays from 8am to 1pm during term-time. It is manned by educational psychologists who can offer support and guidance to teachers, to help them to better understand the effect of domestic abuse on a child and to discuss strategies to help support the child during the school day. Further information about the helpline and resources for teachers are available here: https://www.operationencompass.org/school-participation/resources-for-teachers.

7th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that those people from EU member states due to participate in the Eramus+ scheme in the UK have access to the Turing scheme.

Under the Withdrawal Agreement negotiated with the EU, the UK will continue to participate fully in the 2014–20 Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps programmes. This means that the projects successfully bid for during the current programmes will continue to receive funding for the full duration of the project, including those where it runs beyond 2020 and the end of the transition period.

The government has decided that it is not in the UK's interests to seek continuing participation in the next Erasmus+ programme. Instead, we are introducing a new international educational exchange scheme which has a genuinely global reach. Under the Turing scheme, UK universities, colleges, and schools will be able to bid for funding to enable their students to travel abroad for study and work placements – for any of their students, regardless of nationality.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
6th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on greenhouse gas emissions of the replacement of the Erasmus+ Scheme with the Turing scheme; and what plans they have to mitigate any such impact.

The government is committed to bringing all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 – being the first major economy in the world to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming in this way. In order to achieve this target, we are building on our Clean Growth Strategy and recognise the importance of considering the environmental impact across all policy areas, including the recently announced Turing Scheme. We also note the importance of academic and educational exchange in driving forward international work to combat this shared challenge.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
28th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to assist private candidates denied a centre assessment grade due to the cancellation of exams this year; and what plans they have to prevent a similar situation in 2021.

The department recognises that there is a small group of students for whom there was not enough evidence for a grade to be awarded in the summer. These students will have the opportunity to sit exams in all subjects in the autumn. These candidates should be supported by their previous exam centre to enter the series, even if the student is no longer enrolled at that centre or where they are a private candidate. The department’s exam support service will help schools and colleges with any additional costs associated with running exams in the autumn, including fees charged by awarding organisations, sites and invigilation.

The government is committed to ensuring that students taking exams in 2021 receive the qualifications they deserve and that next year’s exam series proceeds fairly, efficiently and commands public confidence. We recognise that students due to sit exams and assessments next year will have experienced disruption to their education due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We have been working closely with Ofqual, the exam boards and groups representing teachers, schools and colleges to consider our approach to exams and other assessments next year. Although we are clear in our expectation that exams will go ahead in 2021, we are preparing for all eventualities and this includes considering arrangements for private candidates next year.

27th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to set the Adoption Support Fund on a stable basis rather than making year-by-year announcements; whether they will consider lifting the cap for individual support above £5,000; and whether they plan to extend their support to respite care and psychological support for parents, on the same basis to that currently provided to foster families.

The Adoption Support Fund provides funds to local authorities and regional adoption agencies to pay for essential therapeutic services for children who have left the care system either through adoption or special guardianship order. Since its launch in 2015, the Adoption Support Fund has approved £168 million to deliver support, such as therapeutic parenting, creative therapies, and specialist assessments to 59,000 families.

The government acted quickly to establish the Adoption Support Fund COVID-19 Scheme in April 2020, and has provided over £6 million to local authorities and regional adoption agencies to support up to 61,000 families to meet needs arising from the COVID-19 outbreak. The funding included support for activities, such as couples counselling, which would normally be outside the scope of the standard Adoption Support Fund.

On 17 July 2020, my right hon. Friend, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced the 2020 Comprehensive Spending Review, which will set out the government’s spending plans for the next three years. The Comprehensive Spending Review will be published in the autumn. We will consider future funding, scope and fair access limits for the Adoption Support Fund as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review discussions.

8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide a healthy and nutritious school lunch programme for the forthcoming academic year.

We expect that kitchens will be fully open from the start of the autumn term and normal legal requirements will apply about provision of food to all pupils who want it, including for those eligible for benefits-related free school meals or universal infant free school meals.

The Schools Food Standards provide the legislative framework to ensure schools provide children with healthy food and drink options, and to ensure that children get the energy and nutrition they need across the school day.

The standards define the foods and drinks that must be provided, which foods are restricted, and those, which must not be provided. They apply to all food and drink provided to pupils on and off school premises and during an extended school day (up to 6pm), including school trips, breakfast clubs, tuck shops, mid-morning break, vending and after school clubs.

The department's advice on school food standards is available here:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/standards-for-school-food-in-england.

A summary of the standards and a practical guide are available from the school food plan website at:
http://www.schoolfoodplan.com/resources/.

We believe that the School Food Standards have been transformational in the way schools operate their meal services, but we know we must do more. We will be updating these standards to bring them into line with revised nutritional recommendations on sugar and fibre, and looking at how we can make the standards more consistent across the school day.

7th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether payments for the COVID Summer Food Fund are to continue for Year 11 and 13 pupils after 26 June.

The COVID Summer Food Fund is available to provide support where needed to year 11 and year 13 pupils, who were confirmed as eligible and claiming benefits-related free school meals during the summer term, regardless of whether they remain registered with the school.

30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce the need for children to be taken into care or classified as "in need" of child support.

The government wants every child to be in a stable, loving home that is right for them.

One of the key principles of the legislation that underpins the UK’s child protection system is that children are best looked after within their families.

The government is funding several programmes that seek to reduce need and support more children to stay at home in stable family environments, where this is in the child’s best interests. We are investing £84 million over five years as part of the Strengthening Families, Protecting Children programme and over £17 million to support families through the Supporting Families: Investing in Practice programme. The government has also committed £1.085 billion to the Troubled Families Programme to achieve significant and sustained improvement for families with multiple, high-cost problems by 2021.

Good social work practice is key to helping families who need support to provide a safe and nurturing environment for their children. This is why we have invested over £100 million since 2017 on child and family social worker development programmes to ensure every social worker has the skills and knowledge they need.

Across the government, we are tackling the problems that cause children to be in need in the first place. This includes better supporting those with alcohol-dependent parents, the introduction of landmark legislation for those affected by domestic abuse, preventing young people being drawn into serious violence, and unprecedented investment in early years education and support for children and young people’s mental health.

11th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the announcement by the Prime Minister on 3 June that young people “should be guaranteed an apprenticeship”, what plans they have to introduce a scheme to ensure this guarantee is realised; what (1) ages, and (2) categories of people, will be able to participate in any such scheme; and how will the (a) employers, and (b) training opportunities, be (i) found, and (ii) funded.

Apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities, particularly for young people, and supporting employers in all sectors to access the skilled workforce they need to recover and grow post COVID-19. We are looking to support employers of all sizes, and particularly smaller businesses, to take on new apprentices this year. We will set out further details in due course. We will also ensure that there is sufficient funding to support small businesses wanting to take on an apprentice this year.

9th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reintroduce a 'play strategy' for England to help to tackle the (1) mental, and (2) physical, impact of COVID-19 on children.

The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Statutory Framework sets the regulatory standards for learning and development and safeguarding and welfare for all early years providers caring for children from birth to 5. The framework defines seven areas of learning and development, including physical development and personal, social and emotional development. The framework is clear that each area must be implemented through planned, purposeful play and through a mix of adult-led and child-initiated activity. The framework is available at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/early-years-foundation-stage-framework--2.

The EYFS does not promote a particular pedagogical approach. It is for individual early years settings to determine how the areas of learning should be implemented to support children to meet the expected level of development by the end of the Reception year. The priorities at this time are helping young children to adapt to their new routines and supporting children to settle back into the setting, especially where there have been staffing changes. Continuing to support their early language and communication skills is essential. Children who have had limited opportunities for exercise should be encouraged to exert themselves physically.

9th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of a possible reduction in the number of international students attending universities in England in the next academic year; and what plans they have to encourage more home students into universities in England in the light of any such reduction.

We have been working closely with the Higher Education (HE) sector to monitor the likely impacts of COVID-19 on international student numbers. We understand that the COVID-19 outbreak and a possible reduction in the number of international students poses significant challenges.

On Monday 4 May my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced a package of measures to stabilise university admissions this autumn and ensure sustainability in HE at a time of unprecedented uncertainty.

We have introduced temporary student number controls for domestic and EU students for the academic year 2020/21 to ensure a fair, structured distribution of students across providers. These measures mean that providers will be able to recruit students up to a temporary set level, based on provider forecasts, which allows additional growth of up to 5% in the next academic year. The Secretary of State for Education, will also have the discretion to allocate an additional 10,000 places, of which 5,000 will be allocated to students studying nursing or allied health courses, to ensure growing numbers that will support our vital public services. This measure will only apply to full-time undergraduate UK/EU domiciled students, with certain specified exemptions. These controls will not apply to international (non-EU) students.

The government has been clear that the UK HE sector is ‘open for business’, remains world class and is looking forward to welcoming both domestic and international students in the future. To support international student recruitment, we are taking steps to further promote the new Graduate route (due to be launched in Summer 2021) which will provide an opportunity for international students who have been awarded their degree to stay and work in the UK at any skill level for 2 years. This represents a significant improvement in our offer to international students and will help ensure our HE sector remains competitive internationally.

The government has been in close communication with partners in the HE sector, who are considering educational provision for the academic year 2020/2021 and how to best reopen campuses. HE providers are autonomous institutions and will make their own judgements based on the latest public health guidance, taking account of the need to minimise risk to staff and students.

To help providers make informed decisions about their provision, the government has issued guidance, which is complemented by the Universities UK’s principles for reopening of campuses to students and staff. We anticipate HE providers will be open for the autumn term with a blend of online teaching and in-person tuition that they consider appropriate and which minimises risk. HE providers will be flexible in accommodating applicants’ circumstances where possible, including if they are unable to travel to the UK in time for the start of the academic year.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) computers or tablets, and (2) WiFi routers they have supplied to (a) pupils in care, (b) Year 10 pupils, and (c) those being supported by social workers, in line with their announcement of plans to do so on 19 April.

The government is providing laptops and tablets to vulnerable and disadvantaged children who would otherwise not have access and are preparing for examinations in year 10, receiving support from a social worker, including pre-school children, or are a care leaver. The government is also providing over 50,000 4G wireless routers to care leavers, children with a social worker at secondary school and disadvantaged children in year 10 who do not have internet connections.

The department has also partnered with BT to give 10,000 young people free access to BT WiFi hotspots, who do not have access to good internet by other means.

Local authorities and academy trusts are best placed to identify and distribute the laptops and tablets to children and young people who need devices. The Department invited local authorities to order devices for the most vulnerable children first - children with a social worker and care leavers.

Devices are being delivered to local authorities daily and will continue to be distributed throughout June as planned.

14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential health benefits of using outdoor spaces to teach; and what plans they have to (1) support, and (2) encourage, schools to make increased use of outdoor spaces as learning environments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We recognise that outdoor education can be beneficial for the health and wellbeing of children and young people, and that outdoor space offers additional benefits to allow for distance between people during the coronavirus outbreak. Our guidance to help schools and other education settings prepare for wider opening to more pupils from 1 June, explicitly encourages the use of outdoor space and outdoor education where possible. In particular, we are asking schools to consider which lessons or activities could take place outdoors as part of a range of approaches they can take to help reduce transmission. We are also asking schools to use their outside space for exercise and breaks.

14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how long they plan to postpone Ofsted inspections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government recognises that this is an extremely challenging time for staff in school and care settings.

In the current circumstances, it is right that routine Ofsted inspections in the school, further education, early years, local authority, and care sectors are suspended. Ofsted retains the power to inspect in all these areas and will use its powers if it has significant concerns. Ofsted also continues to register and regulate children’s social care, childminding and nurseries.

No date has been set for a return to routine inspection at this time. We will continue to work closely with HM Chief Inspector, and the sectors Ofsted inspects, in determining when it will be appropriate to re-start routine inspections.

We continue to keep the situation under review and will keep Parliament updated accordingly.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many students are currently living in on-campus accommodation at (1) colleges and (2) universities; of these, how many are (a) UK students (b) EU students, and (c) non-EU international students; how many are minors; and whether those students are housed in adequately maintained conditions and have access to the basic facilities they require.

As both my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Statistics on the numbers of further and higher education (HE) students resident in on-campus accommodation following 23 March’s lockdown are not held centrally.

However, Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data show that approximately 360,000 students at UK higher education institutions in 2018/19 were resident in provider-maintained property, including some 117,000 international students, of which 31,000 were from the EU.

Levels of current occupancy of accommodation vary widely between different institutions with those students still resident likely to include care leavers, students estranged from their families and international students for whom there is no alternative accommodation easily available or who are not able to get home because of travel restrictions.

HE providers have been asked to aim to ensure staff (catering, cleaning and laundry staff, for instance) are available to support on halls management. Counselling staff should also be available to support on isolating students’ mental health. This support could be provided virtually.

We have worked to improve joint continuity planning between HE providers and Local Resilience Forums to consider how to ensure availability of supply of food and medicines.

College campus accommodation where children are resident is inspected by Ofsted against national minimum standards. The inspections are conducted on an age basis and include international students.

Ofsted holds a record of ratings for further education accommodation.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are their plans to assist A-level and university students who are at risk of homelessness due to their on-campus accommodation contracts being terminated, and how they will ensure these students are neither rendered homeless nor forced into debt.

As my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have both made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

My hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities, has written to all higher education (HE) providers to explain the importance of HE institutions operating a non-eviction policy so that no student is required to leave halls if their contract has ended, if their rental agreement does not cover holiday periods or if they are unable to pay their rent. This is particularly important in the case of international students, care leavers and students estranged from their families.

In her letters, my hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities, also emphasised the need for HE providers to consider practical support to ensure that students who remain on campus can access sufficient food, medical and cleaning supplies, along with mental health support.

Students will continue to receive scheduled payments of loans towards their living costs for the remainder of the current 2019/20 academic year.

We have worked closely with the Office for Students to enable providers to draw upon existing funding to increase hardship funds and support disadvantaged students impacted by COVID-19. As a result, providers will be able to use the funding, worth around £23 million per month for April and May, towards student hardship funds.

Students with a part-time employment contract should speak to their employer about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been set up to help pay staff wages and keep people in employment. This can be accessed from: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses.

We have also asked that HE providers pay particular attention to the additional financial hardships that are being faced by student staff who have been reliant on income from campus-based jobs at this time.

The government encourages universities and private hall providers to be fair in their decisions about rent charges for this period.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what provision they are making to ensure international students can return to the UK to resume their studies who left the UK to return home for the duration of the lockdown, and what support they will provide to international students who are no longer in a position to return to the UK to complete their studies due to financial losses as a result of the crisis.

The government is applying discretion under current circumstances to ensure that international students are not negatively impacted due to COVID-19. We have published bespoke Tier 4 visa guidance for students and sponsors affected by changes to UK immigration and borders due to COVID-19. This guidance includes the latest information for those who might have questions around visa expiry, switching visa category within the UK and distance learning – it also specifically confirms that sponsors do not need to withdraw sponsorship if a student is unable to attend for more than 60 days due to COVID-19 but intends to resume their studies eventually.

We are working closely with universities and are pleased to see that the sector is making every effort to enable students to continue their studies – including moving learning online either in the UK or in student's home country – so that their teaching and assessment can proceed. Students experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 should contact their higher education provider. Many providers have hardship funds which students can apply to for assistance.

9th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what position they took on motion 69 at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s World Conservation Congress relating to the protection of deep-ocean ecosystems, biodiversity, and a moratorium on seabed mining; and for what reason they adopted that position.

At the IUCN World Conservation Congress, the UK abstained from voting on the motion for a moratorium on deep-sea mining because it did not fully align with UK policy.

However, there is no deep-sea mining currently happening in areas beyond national jurisdictions, there are no exploitation licences for deep-sea mining, and no exploitation regulations have yet been agreed. In addition, the UK has committed not to sponsor or support the issuing of any exploitation licences for deep-sea mining projects unless and until there is sufficient scientific evidence about the potential impact on deep-sea ecosystems and strong and enforceable environmental regulations and standards have been developed by the International Seabed Authority (ISA) and are in place.

Under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), it is the role of the ISA to regulate and control all mineral-related activities in the international seabed area for the benefit of mankind as a whole. In so doing, the ISA has the duty to ensure the effective protection of the marine environment from harmful effects that may arise from deep-seabed activities.

The UK has a strong and respected voice in these international negotiations and the UK position emphasises the need to ensure that the highest possible environmental standards are met in the development of this new industry. We judge that engaging fully with these negotiations is the most effective way for the UK to work with others so that no deep-sea mining takes place in the absence of strong and enforceable environmental regulations and standards. This includes requiring that Regional Environmental Management Plans are adopted for each region before any exploitation licence can even be considered, as well as the adoption of strong and enforceable environmental Standards and Guidelines.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to The Independent on 14 July that they hoped to use the Environment Bill “to seek powers to ensure information about environmental impacts, such as carbon emissions, is provided with certain products”, whether they can (1) provide details of the means by which they plan to do this, and (2) list the products to which they expect to apply the powers.

In accordance with our Resources and Waste Strategy, the powers being sought through our Environment Bill will allow the Government to ensure consumers are provided with clear, consistent and trustworthy information, enabling them to make more sustainable purchasing decisions and helping shift the market towards more resource efficient products. These information-sharing requirements may focus on durability, reparability and recyclability, and there is scope to include other criteria where appropriate, such as embodied carbon or water usage during production. They could take a number of different forms such as consumer information rating schemes, or labels specifying that a product meets a certain environmental standard.

We are working on developing a plan for making use of these powers, and will take on board responses to our recent consultation on the Waste Prevention Programme for England – towards a resource efficient economy. In parallel, as outlined in the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is preparing to launch a Call for Evidence on low carbon industrial products. The response to the Call for Evidence will be used to develop proposals for new policies to grow the market for these products, including a new labelling system for intermediary industrial products reflecting their impact on the environment.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
1st Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given, if any, to signing the Colombo Declaration on Sustainable Nitrogen Management.

The Government recognises that reactive nitrogen has damaging impacts on habitats, water and air quality and contributes to climate change.

The UK is committed to tackling nitrogen and has a variety of regulations, incentive schemes and advice in place to help reduce the sources and impact of nitrogen pollution.

For example, the UK has adopted legally binding targets to reduce emissions of two nitrogen-containing air pollutants - ammonia and nitrogen oxides. The Clean Air Strategy sets out comprehensive action to control emissions of these pollutants which is expected to reduce damaging deposition of reactive forms of nitrogen by 17% over England’s protected priority sensitive habitats by 2030.

The Government has been engaging with the International Nitrogen Management System and has been working at a regional level with the Government of Sri Lanka on the issue of nitrogen management. The Government will continue to monitor progress on the Colombo Declaration as this initiative develops.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
25th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to prevent the transmission of disease through (1) imported, or (2) internally traded, bumblebees and bumblebee hives.

The Government is committed to preventing pests and diseases reaching our borders. We are promoting biosecurity internationally, at UK borders and inland.

Imports of bumblebees are only accepted from approved countries. Consignments must be produced in a controlled environment which is supervised by the competent authority in the exporting country. They must be checked before dispatch. They are accompanied by health certificates that guarantee the bees are free from notifiable pests and diseases. The bees may be subject to checks at destination (for EU bees) or at a border control point (for bumblebees from other countries).

There are no restrictions on movements of bumblebees from one area of GB to another.

Lord Benyon
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to reports of the contamination of land on two dairy farms in Cumbria after the application of liquid fertiliser, what assessment they have made of the frequency of such incidences of contamination; and what plans they have to take regulatory action to prevent further such contaminations.

An Environment Agency (EA) investigation into the matter is currently ongoing and has included analysis of water samples. Enquiries remain ongoing on what appears to be a localised incident involving a specific liquid that was used as a fertiliser. From the information that was reported in January 2021, it is the EA’s understanding that the last known application of the fertiliser was in March 2019.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Woodland Trust State of the UK's Woods and Trees 2021, published on 14 April; and what steps they are taking to ensure that there is sufficient UK and Ireland Sourced and Grown trees to meet demand.

The Government welcomes the State of the UK’s Woods and Trees 2021 report which is the first to present important facts and trends focusing predominantly on native woods and trees, and trees in towns and cities within the UK.

We are working to increase tree production in our domestic nursery sector. This will build on current facilities and explore innovative ideas and technologies to improve production capacity. This is necessary to create a resilient, healthy, and genetically diverse planting stock, which is ready for our future climate. We have taken a number of steps to ensure domestically sourced and grown trees meet demand:

  • Supporting activities to enhance production, processing and supply of UK tree seeds from a wider range of species and provenances.
  • Transforming Forestry England seed processing and nursery facilities, at the same time providing capital grants to allow private nurseries to enhance productivity.
  • Working with the industry to increase the uptake of the ‘Plant Healthy’ assurance scheme which helps improve biosecurity and reduce the risk of planting unhealthy stock.

Over the last three years, 100 percent of trees planted by Forestry England are UK grown, meaning all trees supplied to Natural Resources Wales and Forestry and Land Scotland are UK grown.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by the Woodland Trust State of the UK's Woods and Trees 2021, published on 14 April, what plans they have to promote agroforestry, particularly the growing of fruit and nut crops; what assessment they have made of the impact of such promotion on (1) the level of food security, (2) the quality of diets, (3) fodder crops for animals, (4) the diversion to animals of food that could be eaten by humans, and (5) the use of anthelmintics.

Agroforestry has a significant role in helping the Government commitment to increase tree planting across the UK to 30,000 hectares per year by 2025, in line with the annual rate recommended by the Committee on Climate Change in 2019 to help us meet net zero. We know our mechanisms for woodland creation must be more wide reaching and bold. This requires a transformative change for government and the sector. That is why the Nature for Climate Fund announced in the March 2020 Budget provides significant funding for tree planting, including agroforestry systems. The Committee on Climate Change has also recommended agroforestry on 10% of arable and grassland by 2050 to contribute to net zero emissions targets.

We know that agroforestry systems can play an important role in addressing some of the key issues of climate and land use change in England, through the wide range of ecosystem services it provides.

  • Providing food, fuel, fodder, timber, shade
  • Regulating soil, water, air quality and sequester carbon
  • Improving animal health and welfare
  • Supporting biodiversity and habitat creation
Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to (1) ban the "fake farm" labelling of meat, (2) bring forward legislation for consumers to be informed about the age and breed of animal meat, and (3) prevent the use of terms to market such meat as "natural", or (b) "traditional".

It is already against the law for the label to mislead consumers and this overriding principle, set out clearly in food information legislation, applies to each of the noble Baroness’s questions. Each label must be taken on its merits, including whether the origin declared for the food meets origin labelling rules, and if a label is found to be misleading then local enforcement authorities can issue improvement notices to the Food Business Operator to correct the misleading information.

It is completely unrealistic to require mandatory labelling as to the breed and age of an animal on meat, however if such information is provided on a voluntary basis for marketing reasons, as with any other information provided with food, it must not be misleading to consumers. There is already an age-based distinction between lamb and mutton, beef and veal and chicken and boiling fowl.

The use of the terms ‘natural’ and ‘traditional’ are not regulated but, again, when used, should not mislead consumers.

22nd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to prevent the deaths of (1) birds, and (2) non-target species, in glue traps; and what consideration they have given to a potential ban on the sale of such traps.

We are aware of the concerns around the use of glue traps, including the harm they can cause to captured animals and the capture of non-target species including birds. We are engaging with key stakeholders and exploring options to address these concerns.

This Government remains committed to high standards of animal welfare. We are in the process of developing a range of important animal welfare and animal-related measures to strengthen our position as a world leader in this field. This includes delivering our manifesto commitments to introduce new laws on animal sentience, to ban live exports, restrict the imports of trophies from endangered species and ban keeping primates as pets.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Dr Susan Willis Chan and Dr Nigel Raine Population decline in a ground-nesting solitary squash bee (Eucera pruinosa) following exposure to a neonicotinoid insecticide treated crop (Cucurbita pepo), published in February 2021; and what plans they have (1) to take account of its recommendations before making any further application for exceptional approval to use neonicotinoid seed treatments, and (2) to review current approval methods to ensure that they take account of the impact of pesticide application on solitary and ground-nesting bees.

The emergency authorisation recently granted for a neonicotinoid seed treatment for sugar beet was for the thiamethoxam-based product Cruiser SB. Because the cold winter conditions have reduced the likely pest pressures in 2021, the product will not be used.

The Chan and Raine study did not find significant effects on the solitary bees from use of a thiamethoxam seed treatment although it did find effects from a product containing a different neonicotinoid called imidacloprid. It would be wrong to draw firm conclusions from the study, particularly as the bee species used (the hoary squash bee) is not a UK native.

The Government recognises the need to protect pollinators, including solitary bees, from the effects of pesticides. As we build our national pesticides regime, we will ensure that potential risks to bees are carefully assessed.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the compatibility of any changes to the regulation of genetic engineering in food and farming in England with the UK–EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

All consultation responses will be taken into account and analysed regardless of type. Free text responses will be analysed using well-established methodology from social sciences for the analysis of qualitative data, in line with standard practice for the analysis of public consultations. All views are being considered, whether or not they use technical language, and no weighting will be applied to more technical responses.

Prior to its publication, the Gene editing (GE) explainer document was reviewed by Defra’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Defra’s communications team. This ensured that the information was scientifically accurate and pitched so that a lay person could understand it.

We are gathering views and evidence on trade as part of the our consultation process. We will continue to monitor and respond to the approach taken in the EU to the regulation of GMOs.

Defra officials have regular ongoing discussions with Scottish and Welsh Government counterparts about the regulation of genetically modified organisms. These discussions are considering the impact of any potential changes to the regulation of genetic engineering in food and farming in England.

Owing to the application of Union law to Northern Ireland by virtue of the Northern Ireland Protocol, GE organisms will in Northern Ireland continue to be considered as GMOs and regulated as such.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with (1) the Scottish, and (2) the Welsh, Government about the impact of any changes to the regulation of genetic engineering in food and farming in England on the maintenance of existing regulations relating to genetic modification in those countries; and what assessment they have made of any such change on (1) frictionless trade with Northern Ireland, and (2) the functioning of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

All consultation responses will be taken into account and analysed regardless of type. Free text responses will be analysed using well-established methodology from social sciences for the analysis of qualitative data, in line with standard practice for the analysis of public consultations. All views are being considered, whether or not they use technical language, and no weighting will be applied to more technical responses.

Prior to its publication, the Gene editing (GE) explainer document was reviewed by Defra’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Defra’s communications team. This ensured that the information was scientifically accurate and pitched so that a lay person could understand it.

We are gathering views and evidence on trade as part of the our consultation process. We will continue to monitor and respond to the approach taken in the EU to the regulation of GMOs.

Defra officials have regular ongoing discussions with Scottish and Welsh Government counterparts about the regulation of genetically modified organisms. These discussions are considering the impact of any potential changes to the regulation of genetic engineering in food and farming in England.

Owing to the application of Union law to Northern Ireland by virtue of the Northern Ireland Protocol, GE organisms will in Northern Ireland continue to be considered as GMOs and regulated as such.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment was made of the content of the Gene editing explainer, published in January, prior to its publication as a supporting document for the consultation by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs The regulation of genetic technologies which opened on 7 January.

All consultation responses will be taken into account and analysed regardless of type. Free text responses will be analysed using well-established methodology from social sciences for the analysis of qualitative data, in line with standard practice for the analysis of public consultations. All views are being considered, whether or not they use technical language, and no weighting will be applied to more technical responses.

Prior to its publication, the Gene editing (GE) explainer document was reviewed by Defra’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Defra’s communications team. This ensured that the information was scientifically accurate and pitched so that a lay person could understand it.

We are gathering views and evidence on trade as part of the our consultation process. We will continue to monitor and respond to the approach taken in the EU to the regulation of GMOs.

Defra officials have regular ongoing discussions with Scottish and Welsh Government counterparts about the regulation of genetically modified organisms. These discussions are considering the impact of any potential changes to the regulation of genetic engineering in food and farming in England.

Owing to the application of Union law to Northern Ireland by virtue of the Northern Ireland Protocol, GE organisms will in Northern Ireland continue to be considered as GMOs and regulated as such.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what methodology they intend to use to analyse responses to the consultation by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs The regulation of genetic technologies which opened on 7 January; and what steps they are taking to ensure that responses received using non-technical language are taken into account and understood.

All consultation responses will be taken into account and analysed regardless of type. Free text responses will be analysed using well-established methodology from social sciences for the analysis of qualitative data, in line with standard practice for the analysis of public consultations. All views are being considered, whether or not they use technical language, and no weighting will be applied to more technical responses.

Prior to its publication, the Gene editing (GE) explainer document was reviewed by Defra’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Defra’s communications team. This ensured that the information was scientifically accurate and pitched so that a lay person could understand it.

We are gathering views and evidence on trade as part of the our consultation process. We will continue to monitor and respond to the approach taken in the EU to the regulation of GMOs.

Defra officials have regular ongoing discussions with Scottish and Welsh Government counterparts about the regulation of genetically modified organisms. These discussions are considering the impact of any potential changes to the regulation of genetic engineering in food and farming in England.

Owing to the application of Union law to Northern Ireland by virtue of the Northern Ireland Protocol, GE organisms will in Northern Ireland continue to be considered as GMOs and regulated as such.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to prevent the killing of satellite-tagged hen harriers.

All wild birds are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which provides a powerful framework for the conservation of wild birds, their eggs, nests and habitats. The Government is committed to ensuring the protection afforded to wild birds of prey is effectively enforced. There are strong penalties for offenders, including imprisonment.

We are also committed to securing the long-term future of the hen harrier as a breeding bird in England. The Hen Harrier Action Plan sets out what will be done to increase hen harrier populations in England and includes measures to stop illegal persecution. The long-term plan was published in January 2016 and we believe that it remains the best way to safeguard the hen harrier in England. A copy of the plan is attached.

Raptor persecution is one of six national wildlife crime priorities. Each wildlife crime priority has a delivery group to consider what action should be taken and develop a plan to prevent crime, gather intelligence on offences and enforce against it. The Raptor Persecution Priority Delivery Group focuses on the golden eagle, goshawk, hen harrier, peregrine and white-tailed eagle. The National Wildlife Crime Unit, which is part funded by Defra, monitors and gathers intelligence on illegal activities affecting birds of prey and provides assistance to police forces when required.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the process of approving the use of neonicotinoid pesticides for sugar beet seed included assessments of the (1) general human health, (2) obesity, and (3) dietary, impacts of the crop on which they were proposed to be used; and, if so, what were the conclusions of these assessments.

The process for considering emergency authorisation for a pesticide is derived from the legislation. This process was followed for the application to use the neonicotinoid seed treatment Cruiser SB on sugar beet in 2021. This included an assessment of the risks to people and to the environment that may result from use of the product. This assessment, which considers risks to people from pesticide residues associated with eating treated crops, did not identify any concerns about risks to human health. The assessment did not extend to consideration of the impacts of the crop, for example on obesity.

11th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the decision to approve a neonicotinoid pesticide for use on sugar beet seed on (1) the population numbers and population health of bees and other pollinators, (2) soil health and loss, (3) other insects, (4) fish and other water-dwelling species, and (5) other species of animals.

The process for considering emergency authorisation for a pesticide is derived from the legislation and includes consideration of potential risks to people and to the environment. This process was followed for application to use the neonicotinoid seed treatment Cruiser SB on sugar beet in 2021.

The assessment of risks included consideration of risks to bees, other insects, soil organisms, fish, aquatic invertebrates, birds and mammals. Risks to bees were identified arising from soil residues taken up by flowering weeds or following crops. Mitigation measures were therefore built into the requirements of the emergency authorisation. These included a reduced application rate, effective control of weeds and minimum periods set between the planting of treated sugar beet and a subsequent flowering crop. For most crops this period was set at 22 months but a longer period of 32 months was chosen for oilseed rape as it is particularly attractive to bees

8th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Environmental Land Management Schemes are being established on an open data basis; and what plans they have to ensure that (1) data are available to inform local and national knowledge, and (2) rapid feedback loops are put in place so that best practice can be shared and incentivised, through such Schemes.

The Environmental Land Management Scheme is being developed in partnership with farmers, other land managers and stakeholders from initial concept to full launch. We already have around 3000 farmers and other land managers involved in the Environmental Land Management Test and Trials and initial reports can be accessed on GOV.UK https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/environmental-land-management-tests-and-trials

Ahead of full launch of the new Environmental Scheme in 2024 there will be a National Pilot, starting later this year, where the focus is on learning from farmers and other land managers as they apply different scheme components and begin to deliver outcomes. The focus will be on sharing their feedback with them and with scheme designers, building on the co-design work started through our Test and Trials and wider evidence reviews.

We will use GOV.UK, open to all, to share comprehensive information about the purpose of the scheme and its components, how to apply and how best to deliver outcomes it pays for. There is already overview information published at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-environmental-land-management-scheme-an-overview, with more information following in the coming months. Using feedback from farmers, other land managers and their advisers the National Pilot will help us refine and improve the information on GOV.UK relating to the new Environmental Scheme.

6th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have (1) to publicise the changed conditions of GL40 licences to kill or take certain wild birds to conserve wild birds and to conserve flora and fauna, and (2) to inform licence holders and affected bodies about the changes to the conditions of such licences.

On 1 January the Government issued three new general licences, GL40, GL41 and GL42. The new general licences set out when actions can be taken against certain wild bird species, and for what purpose.

Prior to this, Defra published drafts of the new licences on 9 November 2020 on GOV.UK and contacted key representatives of farming, shooting and pest control industry bodies to alert them to this. Defra also met with representatives from the farming and shooting industry to discuss the draft licences. This enabled these groups to inform their members of the changes to help them make any preparations necessary before the licences came into force.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce legislation comparable with the proposal by the European Commission to establish a circular economy for all batteries on the European market; and whether any such plans will include requirements for (1) environmentally and socially responsible extraction of raw materials, (2) recyclability, (3) the provision of recycling systems, (4) the use of recycled materials, and (5) efficiency criteria.

As set out in the Government’s December 2018 Resources and Waste Strategy, we are presently reviewing the arrangements applying to batteries and their treatment at end of life. That review is considering all aspects, including requirements relating to when batteries are first placed on the market. We will consider carefully the proposals recently put forward by the European Commission in this area.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the risk of avian influenza occurring at intensive poultry rearing units compared to the farming of poultry on open field sites; and whether they have identified any need to improve biosecurity measures for intensive poultry rearing units.

Defra, and the relevant departments of all administrations in the UK, have robust biosecurity measures in place to reduce the risk of spread of avian influenza and a strong track record of controlling and eliminating outbreaks.

The risk of incursion of avian influenza has been increased to very high for wild birds, medium for poultry with high biosecurity and high for poultry with poor biosecurity. In response to the risk we established an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across the whole of England from 11 November 2020 and brought additional housing measures into force from the 14 December 2020.

The AIPZ means all bird keepers (whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) are required by law to take a range of biosecurity precautions including, from the 14 December 2020, keeping their birds indoors except in very specific circumstances. Similar measures were also introduced in Scotland and Wales. I refer the Noble Lady to my statement of 8 December 2020: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2020-12-08/hlws621

The decisions to implement the AIPZ and the additional housing measures followed scientific and ornithological evidence and veterinary advice. In particular a rapid risk assessment on the relative risks of incursion of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N8 into housed or not-housed flocks was undertaken and is available via the following web link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/941150/rapid-risk-assessment-H5N8-HPAI-housing-poultry-flocks-captive-birds.pdf

Defra is clear that all operational livestock farms should implement strong biosecurity measures and report suspected disease immediately.

9th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of ecological damage to the banks of the River Lugg; and what plans they have to prevent similar events occurring elsewhere in England.

A joint investigation is currently underway involving the main agencies (Environment Agency, Natural England and Forestry Commission). This has included a recent site visit to establish the full detail and extent of recent work at the site. Further details will be made available in due course in line with the nature of the ongoing investigation.

Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission have respective regulatory powers to ensure the management of SSSIs, waterways and trees, providing advice to landowners and consents/licences where appropriate. They continue to monitor and investigate any incidences of damage to sites and rely on the support of the general public in reporting possible illegal activity and pollutions.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the financial impact of a bottle deposit scheme for England on local authority budgets, including the impact of the likely removal of polyethylene terephthalate from local waste streams.

As part of the Government’s ambitious commitments to reforming producer responsibility systems across the UK, we have committed to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) for drinks containers.

Introducing a DRS for drinks containers will mean that some of the material local authorities currently collect via kerbside will instead be collected through the DRS. It is expected this will have an impact on the amount of waste collected by local authorities and the revenues they receive for selling that material on to waste reprocessors. However, the scheme is also expected to reduce the incidence of littering of the containers in scope of the scheme, and therefore to generate savings to local authorities.

A full new burdens assessment will be carried out once final policy decisions have been taken. Our Resources and Waste Strategy for England committed to fund any new burdens incurred by local authorities.

The costs and benefits of a DRS for drinks containers will be presented in our Impact Assessment published alongside our second consultation on the introduction of a deposit return scheme next year.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they took two years to publish the reports by Professor Malcolm Bennett and Professor Chris Palgrave A study into the prevalence of bTB in found-dead badgers in the southern ‘Edge Area’ counties of England, SE3054, published June 2018; and what plans they have to respond to the report's conclusions.

It is Defra policy to encourage research findings such as these to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. We elected to delay the publication of the final reports on our website to allow the researcher some time to do this without undermining the peer review process.

These data are being used to inform analysis of where there is a reservoir of disease in the Edge area.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to support an international treaty for global pollinator stewardship and pollinator ecosystem restoration.

The UK Government is committed to taking action for pollinators, globally and at home.

We have supported international action under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), including the “Plan of Action 2018-2030 for the International Initiative for the Conservation and Sustainable use of Pollinators” adopted at the CBD’s most recent Conference of the Parties in 2018. The UK is also a member of ‘Promote Pollinators’, an international coalition of the willing under which we have committed to take action to protect pollinators and their habitats, and with whom we share information on research, policy and practical activities.

We have supported and contributed to research which has underpinned such initiatives, including a major global review of the status and threats to insect pollinators, published in 2015 by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

The UK is committed to playing a leading role in developing an ambitious post-2020 global framework for biodiversity under the CBD, expected to be adopted at COP-15 next year. In particular, we will promote ambitious and practical targets, including targets to enhance ecosystem resilience and species recovery, supported by strengthened implementation mechanisms that are commensurate with the scale of the challenge.

Domestically, biodiversity is a devolved issue and each country has its own pollinator strategy which includes objectives for ecosystem restoration and other action in line with these international commitments and initiatives. The four countries also collaborate on monitoring the status of pollinators across the UK.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of demands arising from Environmental Land Management schemes on Natural England; and what plans they have to increase that organisations funding.

Like all other Defra sponsored bodies, Natural England (NE) receives an appropriate budget to carry out its duties and responsibilities in line with what is affordable and the priorities set out by the Secretary of State.

NE is an important advisory and delivery partner in the Environmental Land Management (ELM) programme. For the current financial year, NE has been allocated approximately £3.6 million to support the development of ELM. This includes drafting ELM technical guidance, development of scheme design for the Pilot and associated policy advice.

We are currently assessing the budgets for our arm’s length bodies as part of the Spending Review process.

2nd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have (1) to improve knowledge of, (2) to implement, and (3) to enforce, their farming rules for water.

Defra and the Environment Agency (EA) jointly undertook communications on the announcement of the new 'farming rules for water' and the approach to their implementation. This included promotion of the rules on gov.uk, posters, banners, summary cards and questions and answer sheets distributed to a wide range of key farming and environmental stakeholders who also raised awareness via talks, press articles and their own websites. The EA continues to promote the rules via the Farming Advice Service (FAS) newsletter.

The EA is responsible for regulation of the rules. In the first year it took an advice led approach raising awareness of the rules with farmers and their advisers. It is now actively enforcing the rules, through advice, guidance and the possibility of both civil and criminal sanctions. The EA takes a risk-based approach to farm visits with the resources it has available for agriculture, targeting visits at the activities with high potential for pollution or where actual pollution has been reported. The EA also works with those producing materials off-farm that are spread on farmers' fields, such as anaerobic digestates and biosolids from the water industry to raise awareness of the rules and the limits on what can be spread.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the number of traditional orchards in England that are in a favourable condition.

Traditional orchards are listed as a habitat of principal importance for the conservation of biodiversity under section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. Government agri-environment grant schemes, including Countryside Stewardship (which replaced the Environmental Stewardship Scheme) provide financial support to improve the condition of traditional orchards and to establish more of them.

In England there are 1,952 hectares of traditional orchards being managed or established under agri-environment schemes.

28th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of (1) the number and percentage of total batteries that are discarded into general waste each year, and (2) how many fires are caused in waste disposal facilities each year by discarded batteries; what assessment they have made of the level of environmental contamination caused by discarded batteries; and what plans they have to reduce any such contamination.

The Government has not made an estimate of the number of batteries that are discarded into general waste each year. Nor do we hold information on the number of fires in waste disposal facilities caused by discarded batteries.

A UK-wide producer responsibility scheme is in place for batteries, placing certain responsibilities on producers for their goods, including at end-of-life.

As part of the Resources and Waste Strategy, published in December 2018, we committed to review the four existing producer responsibility schemes, including the requirements applying to batteries. That review is underway. and will consider the arrangements applying to the disposal and treatment of waste portable batteries Similarly, the arrangements applying to the disposal and treatment of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) are also under review, with such equipment often containing batteries.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
28th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to advance the use of biological control of Japanese knotweed.

We continue to work closely with the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI) on researching and developing biological control methods for Japanese knotweed. Following extensive trials, we approved the release of the psyllid – Aphalara itadori in England to tackle Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica).

We are also funding research into the fungal leaf-spot Mycosphaerella polygoni-cuspidatii, which has potential as a mycoherbicide for Japanese Knotweed.

28th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to fund natural forest regeneration (1) to replace conifer plantations, and (2) for currently non-forested sites.

The Countryside Stewardship Woodland Improvement Grant and the HS2 Woodland Fund currently provide support for the natural regeneration of native species on plantations, including conifer plantations, on ancient woodland sites.

Our recent consultation on the England Tree Strategy referred to making more use of natural regeneration as part of our approach to diversifying our treescapes and woodlands and to harnessing the power of natural processes such as natural colonisation to establish woodlands where appropriate. We will be considering the responses received during the consultation in due course. In parallel, we are considering how the Nature for Climate Fund might support natural colonisation.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish a further update to the report by the Environment Agency, An updated lifecycle assessment for disposable and reusable nappies.

In line with our Resources and Waste Strategy, we are considering the best approach to minimise the environmental impact of a range of products, including nappies. Policy measures under consideration include standards and consumer information. We are?seeking powers, through the Environment Bill, that will enable us, where appropriate and subject to consultation, to introduce ecodesign and consumer information requirements.

Work is taking place to commission an updated lifecycle assessment for washable and disposable?nappies which will look at the waste and energy impacts of washable products, disposal to landfill, and recycling options. This will help us decide on the best course of action for the future and in terms of Government support.

Officials are working with representatives of the nappy industry to help inform policy development in this area and last met with representatives from the Nappy Alliance on 26 October.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce the impact of disposable nappy waste on the environment.

In line with our Resources and Waste Strategy, we are considering the best approach to minimise the environmental impact of a range of products, including nappies. Policy measures under consideration include standards and consumer information. We are?seeking powers, through the Environment Bill, that will enable us, where appropriate and subject to consultation, to introduce ecodesign and consumer information requirements.

Work is taking place to commission an updated lifecycle assessment for washable and disposable?nappies which will look at the waste and energy impacts of washable products, disposal to landfill, and recycling options. This will help us decide on the best course of action for the future and in terms of Government support.

Officials are working with representatives of the nappy industry to help inform policy development in this area and last met with representatives from the Nappy Alliance on 26 October.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage the use of reusable nappies.

In line with our Resources and Waste Strategy, we are considering the best approach to minimise the environmental impact of a range of products, including nappies. Policy measures under consideration include standards and consumer information. We are?seeking powers, through the Environment Bill, that will enable us, where appropriate and subject to consultation, to introduce ecodesign and consumer information requirements.

Work is taking place to commission an updated lifecycle assessment for washable and disposable?nappies which will look at the waste and energy impacts of washable products, disposal to landfill, and recycling options. This will help us decide on the best course of action for the future and in terms of Government support.

Officials are working with representatives of the nappy industry to help inform policy development in this area and last met with representatives from the Nappy Alliance on 26 October.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
13th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether environmental impact assessments take adequate account of fungi.

No assessment of the adequacy of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) for fungi has been made.

The EIA process takes account of many important habitat types for fungi, such as the habitats of principal importance listed under section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 as well as important fungi or species assemblages where impacts would result in a likely significant effect. Specific consideration is given to SSSIs notified for the fungi they support.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the success of badger tuberculosis vaccine trials; what impact the outcome of those trials had on their decision making process as to whether to extend and expand the badger cull; and how they intend to monitor the effects of that cull on future vaccination trials.

The effects of badger vaccination by injection have been evaluated in several captive experimental studies and during a four-year field study in Gloucestershire. Although vaccination with BCG will not guarantee protection from infection, meaning some badgers may still become infected, these studies provide evidence of beneficial effects. In particular, they provide evidence that vaccination reduces the likelihood of badgers developing lesions or excreting TB bacteria and the rate of new infections. The studies also indicate that vaccinating more than one third of adults in a badger social group reduces new infections in unvaccinated badger cubs. It is therefore reasonable to assume that badger vaccination will reduce transmission from badgers to cattle.

Government policy has enabled farmers and landowners to apply for licences to cull or to vaccinate badgers. In its response to the Godfray Review, the Government has set out its ambition to move from badger culling to wider deployment of vaccination, with culling only taking place where surveillance in badgers and cattle indicates re-emerging or persistent infection. In areas where culling has been successfully deployed to reduce the amount of TB infection, we are now proposing to increase deployment of badger vaccination.

1st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Supreme Court of Ireland's ruling in Bookfinders Ltd -v- Revenue Commissioners on 29 September that the bread used by Subway cannot (1) be defined as bread, or (2) classed as a staple food, due to the amount of sugar it contains; what plans they have to review the Bread and Flour Regulations 1998 to ensure that the legal description of bread meets public health criteria; and what steps they intend to take to promote public understanding of the sugar levels contained in bread used by fast food chains.

I am aware of the recent judgement by the Supreme Court in Ireland in the case between the Revenue Commissioners and Bookfinders in respect of Subway in Ireland. I agree it is an interesting case, not about the general definition of bread or cake, but about specific VAT rates payable for different goods and services, in respect of exemptions to higher tax rates that rely on specific definitions of food. One of these is to define bread, for taxation purposes, as containing no more than 2% of any of a number of substances, including sugar. The court held that this was designated in order to avoid the exemption falling to the supply of food not considered a ‘staple’ for which the exemption was designed, but to ‘indulgences’, which for example might include cakes and pastries.

The Bread and Flour Regulations 1998 (BFR) define bread as a food of any size, shape or form which is usually known as bread and consists of a dough made from flour and water, with or without other ingredients, which has been fermented by yeast or otherwise leavened and subsequently baked or partially baked. This definition is intended for consumers rather than for tax purposes.

The BFR are in place primarily as a public health measure to support population intakes of four nutrients. They require therefore that flour sold in the UK (with a few exemptions) must be fortified with calcium, iron, niacin and thiamine, the latter three being simply restored after being lost in the milling process.

Defra has committed to reviewing the BFR, as they apply in England, after the Transition Period. This will take into consideration regulatory concerns raised by industry and any potential legislative changes that might arise from the joint UK Government and Devolved Administrations consultation on the proposed additional requirement to fortify flour with folic acid to help prevent neural tube defects in foetuses.

“Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives”, published in July, confirmed that we will introduce legislation to require large out-of-home sector businesses, including restaurants, cafes and takeaways with 250 or more employees, to provide calorie labels on the food they sell. We will also encourage smaller businesses to provide calorie information voluntarily and will consider extending the requirement to include them in the future.

The Eatwell Guide, the UK’s healthy eating model, and associated messaging is promoted through a range of channels including the NHS.UK website, the GOV.UK website, and the Government’s national social marketing campaigns Change4Life and One You.

18th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to reduce the amount of unmanaged woodland and forest.

59% of woodland in England is managed, and we recognise the need to increase support for management–safeguarding our woods, supporting biodiversity and providing sustainable timber.

In addition to existing grant support for management, the Forestry Commission and Institute of Chartered Foresters are working to improve the quality of woodland management plans.

We are also exploring further ways in which we can drive up the levels of sustainable woodland management in the development of the upcoming England Tree Strategy.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the likely perturbation effect on the spread of bovine tuberculosis following the extension of the badger culling programme to Derbyshire, Oxfordshire, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire.

Applicants for a licence to cull badgers to control the spread of bovine TB (bTB) must meet Natural England's strict licensing criteria, which specifically includes measures to guard against the potential risk of perturbation effects as a result of disturbed badger social groups.

The independent, peer-reviewed academic study into the effectiveness of badger culling (Downs et al. (2019) Nature Scientific Reports) which showed a decline in bTB incidence in the first two cull areas of Gloucestershire and Somerset, also showed a lack of evidence of a 'perturbation effect' in these areas, unlike the findings of the Randomised Badger Culling Trial, where culling led to an increase in bTB incidence rates outside of cull areas.

10th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ban the production and export of pesticides and herbicides which are banned for use in the UK, including (1) paraquat, and (2) 1,3-dichloropropene.

On the production of pesticides and herbicides, depending on the amounts produced, the manufacture of paraquat and 1,3 dichlorophene are regulated under the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015 (COMAH) which implements an EU directive in this area. The COMAH Regulations will continue to apply to Great Britain after the Transition Period.

The export from the UK of paraquat and 1,3-dichloropropene is regulated under Regulation (EU) 649/2012 on the export and import of certain hazardous chemicals, known as the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Regulation. Companies intending to export any of these chemicals from the UK must notify the importing country via the exporter’s Designated National Authority.

For the UK the Designated National Authority is The Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Paraquat and 1,3-dichloropropene additionally require the explicit consent of the importing country before export can take place. The exchange of information that PIC provides allows the importing countries to make informed decisions on the import of those chemicals and on how to handle and use them safely.

Similar arrangements to PIC will come into force at the end of the Transition Period on 31 December.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that all TetraPaks used in the UK are appropriately recycled.

The Government is committed to increasing the quantity and quality of waste materials that are recycled.

Following support in our 2019 consultation on ‘Consistency in household and business recycling collections in England’, we will introduce legislation through the Environment Bill that will require a core set of recyclable materials (paper and card, plastic, glass, metal, food waste, garden waste) to be collected from households and businesses by all waste collectors in England.

At consultation we also proposed additional materials that could be included into this core set of materials, including food and drink cartons. Food and drink cartons, such as Tetra Pak cartons, are widely collected by local authorities from households across England (60% of authorities offer kerbside collection).

We are currently engaging with the waste sector to develop detailed proposals for collection and recycling of cartons by all local authorities and will consult on these early in 2021.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to regulate the conditions in which pheasants and red-legged partridges are reared before being released as gamebirds.

We are committed to maintaining our position as world leaders in animal welfare and want to improve and build upon that record, working in partnership with farmers to support healthier, higher welfare animals. We are exploring options with all the industry sectors, including the gamebird industry, to see how welfare standards can be further enhanced and in a way that is sustainable.

The welfare of gamebirds is currently protected by the Animal Welfare Act 2006 which makes it an offence to cause unnecessary suffering. This is backed up by the statutory Code of Practice for the Welfare of Gamebirds Reared for Sporting Purposes, which encourages the adoption of high standards of husbandry.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent assessment they have made of (1) the impact of aminopyralid contamination in compost on gardeners and market gardeners, and (2) the adequacy of the Health and Safety Executive's Chemicals Regulation Directorate enforcement of restrictions on the use of herbicide products containing aminopyralid.

There are measures in place to keep aminopyralid out of compost and manures. This is necessary because, as a herbicide, aminopyralid can harm broadleaved plants, leading to stunting and distortion (it is important to note that similar effects can result from nutritional deficiencies or diseases). The use of aminopyralid products is subject to strict conditions of use to ensure that plant material which may contain aminopyralid is not used in compost. These conditions have been in place for over ten years and, as a result, the number of reported incidents has declined to a very low level.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspectors and enforcement officers consider all reported cases of suspected aminopyralid contamination of compost. Decisions on possible compliance and enforcement action are taken on a case-by-case basis. In most cases it is not possible to establish whether or not residues of aminopyralid have damaged plants nor, if so, the source of the residues. HSE maintains close contact with the authorisation holder and continues to keep under review the effectiveness of measures put in place.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the environmental, (2) the health, and (3) the visual, impacts of chewing gum being deposited in urban environments; and what steps they are taking to ensure that companies benefiting from its sale are contributing to the cleaning of such gum.

The Government has made no specific assessment of the environmental, health and visual impacts of chewing gum being deposited in urban environments.

We believe that businesses should try to reduce the amount of litter their products generate. The Litter Strategy for England, published in 2017, sets out how we intend to work with the relevant industries to tackle certain types of particularly problematic litter, including chewing gum.

Defra chairs the industry-funded Chewing Gum Action Group (CGAG), which brings together the main chewing gum producer, Keep Britain Tidy, local government, the Chartered Institute of Waste Management, the Food and Drink Federation and the devolved administrations. The aim of the CGAG is to find and implement sustainable solutions to stop the irresponsible disposal of chewing gum and focus on changing individual behaviour in the long term. The CGAG has run annual behaviour-change campaigns for over ten years. We remain open to exploring other means of securing contributions from the industry to tackle gum litter.

Mars Wrigley Confectionery, a member of the CGAG, has produced a free to use gum littering toolkit. Local authorities, businesses, transport providers or any other organisation interested in reducing gum littering can access readymade campaigns for free. This toolkit was promoted as part of Defra’s ‘Respect the Outdoors’ campaign that was launched this summer. More information can be found at: https://tacklegumlittering.co.uk/.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent assessment they have made of (1) the impact of spreading human sewage on farmland, and (2) the adequacy of current regulation and enforcement of the use of such sewage.

This is a devolved matter and the information provided therefore relates to England only.

Sewage sludge spread to land as fertiliser or soil improver can be a valuable source of nutrients. The recycling of sewage sludge to land remains a safe activity, provided it is carried out in accordance with the relevant regulatory controls and good practice guidance is followed.

Currently, water companies in the UK can spread sewage sludge under either the more commonly used Sludge (Use in Agriculture) Regulations (SUiAR) or the Environmental Permitting Regulations. Since the introduction of the SUiAR regulations in the 1980s, practices and treatment of sludge has changed considerably. To modernise this regime, in March 2020 the Environment Agency published a ‘Sludge Strategy’ which will review the safe use of sewage sludge. This strategy will enable better management of the environmental impacts of land spreading sludge, and modernise the regulatory framework surrounding the treatment, storage and use of sludge. Details on the strategy can be found via this link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/environment-agency-strategy-for-safe-and-sustainable-sludge-use/environment-agency-strategy-for-safe-and-sustainable-sludge-use

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report National Food Strategy Part One, published in July, what assessment they have made of the remarks by Henry Dimbleby that the packaging of Marks and Spencer Percy Pigs makes "wilfully misleading" health claims.

I have noted Henry Dimbleby’s comments about M&S’s use of the terms ‘with natural fruit juice’ and ‘no artificial colours or artificial flavourings’ on Percy Pigs. In terms of the application of the present EU law, it is the responsibility of local authority trading standards, who are responsible for enforcing food labelling, who consider the whole label when making a judgement as to whether or not it is misleading.

These statements do not constitute health claims as defined by current nutrition and health claims legislation. However, Mr Dimbleby’s comments used this product as an example of a wider issue where such claims may in some circumstances be viewed as confusing or misleading, in that they might present otherwise unhealthy food if not consumed according to recommended portion sizes with a degree of wholesomeness.

At the end of the Transition Period we will be able to determine how food on our shop shelves is labelled. We are committed to undertaking a wide ranging review of food labelling to ensure that consumers can continue to have confidence in the food they buy. We will ensure that in collaboration with DHSC the issues raised by Mr Dimbleby in his National Food Strategy are evaluated, along with the impact of potential policy options, as part of this labelling review.

20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to be able to respond to the application by river users and residents to turn part of the River Wharfe in Ilkley into a bathing water area; and by what process they are considering that application.

We received an application from the Ilkley Clean River Group in October 2019 for a stretch of the River Wharfe to be designated as a bathing water area. After reviewing further evidence, we are now preparing to proceed to a public consultation. Given the ongoing situation with Covid-19, we will schedule a date to begin the consultation as soon as it is appropriate to do so. This was confirmed by Minister Pow in a letter to the Ilkley Clean River Group on 13 May, following a meeting with Robbie Moore MP to discuss the application.

We have considered the application in line with our usual process for applications for bathing water designation, the details of which are available on the GOV.UK website.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many licences have been issued by Natural England for the killing of starlings in each year since 2000; and how many starlings they estimate have been killed under such licences in each year since 2000.

Records show that Natural England (NE) has issued 122 licences for the control of starlings since 2007. Licence returns indicate that 2,918 birds have been killed during this period, although the actual number will be higher as not all licensees have submitted returns. We do not have earlier data since NE was vested in 2006.

The following table presents the licensing information available for each year from 2007. To note, NE underwent a system change in 2013 meaning that return information for that year is not available.

Year

Licences issued

Numbers of starlings killed (Based on return data)

2007

13

190

2008

14

456

2009

8

200

2010

12

393

2011

12

417

2012

17

739

2013

8

No returns received

2014

3

123

2015

6

57

2016

10

152

2017

11

142

2018

4

49

2019

1

Information not yet available

2020

3

Information not yet available

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce designated bathing waters in UK rivers.

Defra welcomes applications for designation as bathing waters for both coastal and inland waters such as rivers. Local authorities, groups and individuals can apply for sites to be designated. Defra encourages this by writing to the Chief Executive of every local authority in England, as well as by sending similar letters to other stakeholders like swimming associations. It is these local authorities and stakeholders who will best know which popular riverside bathing areas may be suitable for designation.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to inform and educate the public about their rights of access to land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 in order to improve access to green spaces without overcrowding under COVID-19 distancing rules.

Providing information about access on public rights of way and open access land is a role usually performed by local highway authorities, as local access is their responsibility.

We are clear that everyone should follow the Countryside Code. A key part of Government strategy involves clear and consistent messaging to key stakeholders and the media. Our messaging seeks to promote better behaviour in the countryside and encourage a partnership response. Defra is working with Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), National Park Authorities and other Government departments to promote a series of guidance videos to educate users about travelling to and spending time outdoors safely in the wider countryside. This includes an updated Countryside Code. This guidance is available at the following links:

Green space access:

www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-on-accessing-green-spaces-safely

The Countryside Code:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code/the-countryside-code

24th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to increasing support for local food webs to improve food security.

The UK has a high degree of food security built on access to a range of sources including robust supply chains across a range of countries, in addition to strong domestic production. Strong domestic food production is only one part of our food security. We supplement our produce with fruits, vegetables and other products that are difficult to grow and rear here.

The Government recognises the value of local food chains as over half of the food that the UK population consumes is domestically produced. Defra works with a range of local companies and regional food groups to champion local food and highlight the qualities of British food products, such as meat, dairy, and vegetables, as well as fish caught in UK waters. We are proud of our great British food and drink, and the farmers and other producers who provide us all with a reliable and sustainable food supply, renowned for its quality and underpinned by high standards of food safety, traceability and animal welfare.

The Government recognises the important role played by community shops and the vital part they play in many rural communities in supporting vulnerable groups. Defra has been in contact with local authorities and volunteer groups to help prioritise those individuals to access essential food by, among other things, being able to contact smaller food retailers. We recognise and are very grateful for all the work that community shops have done in recent weeks, helping to ensure that people have the food they need.

The Government has asked Henry Dimbleby to lead an Independent Review of the food chain, to develop recommendations to shape a National Food Strategy. It is the intention that this strategy should address major challenges including food security.

24th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the proposals by community groups for the creation of a national nature service, what plans they have to fund the creation of such a service.

Environmental organisations make a valuable contribution to the Government's environmental agenda. They do this through conservation of the natural environment; engaging people in the natural world; and providing access to our beautiful landscapes and coastlines.

As we rebuild our economy in response to the coronavirus pandemic, we must continue to shape an economy and society that are cleaner, greener and more resilient. This Government remains committed to being a world leader on tackling the environmental crises we face. Our recently launched £40 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund will support up to 2000 jobs and lead to the creation of up to 3000 more in environmental space.

We welcome the range of proposals that have been shared by groups including environmental organisations to deliver a green recovery. We are reviewing these based upon the best use of public funds.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will publish the England Peat Strategy.

In the 25 Year Environment Plan, the Government committed to publishing an England Peat Strategy to create and deliver a new ambitious framework for peat restoration in England. It will set out a holistic plan for the management, protection and restoration of our upland and lowland peatlands so that they deliver benefits for climate and nature. We intend to publish the strategy later this year.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many peatland burning incidents have occurred in the 2019-20 burning season on (1) blanket bog and (2) other upland habitats.

The Government has always been clear of the need to phase out burning of protected blanket bog to conserve these vulnerable habitats. We are currently looking at how legislation could achieve this and considering next steps. Real progress is being made in promoting sustainable alternatives. We have urged landowners to adopt these and continue to work with them constructively.

Burning on moorland may be carried out between 1 October and 15 April. No data is collected on the number of management fires that take place on blanket bog or other upland habitats. Natural England (NE) has recorded nine wildfires on upland sites during the 2019-20 burning season. Five of these affected blanket bog.

Voluntary Commitments to suspend burning were signed by 159 land managers (as of 24 September 2018). Of a total of 402 consents to burn, 187 have either expired or been surrendered since that time, equating to 47% of all consents.

NE does not monitor compliance with these Voluntary Commitments.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many voluntary agreements to end the burning of peatland are still in place; and what is the level of compliance with these agreements.

The Government has always been clear of the need to phase out burning of protected blanket bog to conserve these vulnerable habitats. We are currently looking at how legislation could achieve this and considering next steps. Real progress is being made in promoting sustainable alternatives. We have urged landowners to adopt these and continue to work with them constructively.

Burning on moorland may be carried out between 1 October and 15 April. No data is collected on the number of management fires that take place on blanket bog or other upland habitats. Natural England (NE) has recorded nine wildfires on upland sites during the 2019-20 burning season. Five of these affected blanket bog.

Voluntary Commitments to suspend burning were signed by 159 land managers (as of 24 September 2018). Of a total of 402 consents to burn, 187 have either expired or been surrendered since that time, equating to 47% of all consents.

NE does not monitor compliance with these Voluntary Commitments.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
18th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when Natural England’s Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme will resume.

Natural England (NE) runs the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) in England. WIIS makes enquiries into reports of the death or illness of wildlife, pets and beneficial invertebrates that may have resulted from pesticide poisoning.

WIIS has continued to operate in England. Routine WIIS field work was suspended in late March in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, NE has continued to deal with reported cases through desk-based investigations supported by the police and other local agents. NE will recommence field visits when this can be done safely.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to replace the Joint Nature Conservation Committee's UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework: Revised Implementation Plan before that plan expires.

Biodiversity is a devolved matter in the UK, and each country has its own national biodiversity plan or strategy. The UK framework was established by the UK Government and Devolved Administrations to identify joint actions to complement country implementation, for example on reporting to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), evidence collation and sharing of best practice.

The UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework and its implementation plan are reviewed regularly by the four UK countries, alongside the Joint Nature Conservation Committee. It is our intention to continue working together to develop a new UK Biodiversity Framework and associated implementation plan, on which discussions are underway.

Our intention is also that the new Biodiversity Framework will set out shared priorities and areas for collaboration across the UK, primarily as a collective response to the post-2020 global framework of goals and targets, expected to be agreed at the CBD’s Fifteenth Conference of the Parties, COP15.

We had envisaged that publication of a new UK Framework would follow COP15, originally scheduled for October 2020, and therefore lead on directly from the existing implementation plan. As COP15 has been delayed to 2021 in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we will ensure that our collaborative momentum continues, including to consider a further revised plan until the new global framework is announced.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of how wildlife crime, including the illegal killing of raptors and illegal use of traps and snares, has been affected by the COVID-19 lockdown.

The Government is aware of suggestions that there has been an increase in reports of wildlife crime, in particular associated with raptor persecution, during the COVID-19 lockdown. Raptor persecution is one of the UK's six wildlife crime priorities and we understand a number of criminal investigations are ongoing. However, it is not possible to confirm on available data whether there has been an increase in the incidents of wildlife crime, increased reporting, or a combination of both.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following reports that Wolverhampton and Shropshire face failure of their water supplies, what steps they are taking to reduce demand and leakage, and to secure supplies, both in the short term in response to dry weather and high usage reportedly due to lockdown, and in the longer term.

The current water supply issues in Wolverhampton and Shropshire are due to constraints in Severn Trent Water's distribution network, and not a lack of available water. Severn Trent Water has responded to the issue by asking customers to use water wisely to reduce demand. The CEO of Severn Trent Water attended the National Drought Group chaired by the Environment Agency on 5 June 2020 to discuss the current risks and approaches to the dry weather and water demand management.

If the company has issues with available water resources it will activate its statutory Drought Plan to manage the situation. In the long term, the water company will need to assess how it manages its supply and demand, including proactively reducing leakage and managing demand through its statutory Water Resources Management Plan. In addition, through its business plan that it submits to Ofwat it will need to assess whether it has the correct infrastructure to cope with future demands from customers.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the availability of a diverse range of UK-grown vegetables and fruit in areas local to their production.

The Government recognises the crucial role the UK's horticulture industry plays in both feeding the country and in promoting people's health and wellbeing. The UK has the climate, the landscape, and entrepreneurial farmers and growers to enable us to produce world-class fruit and vegetables.

We are proud of our growing food reputation. Protected Geographical Indications (PGIs), whether they be for beef from Scotland, lamb from Wales or asparagus from the Vale of Evesham in England, play an important role as exemplars of our quality produce. We are committed to celebrating the success of these regional and traditional products whose authenticity and origin can be guaranteed, along with driving further market access to make sure they are enjoyed here and around the world.

We will always champion our farmers and growers, supporting them to grow more of our great British food and to provide a reliable and sustainable food supply to the British public. This includes through using powers under our landmark Agriculture Bill, and through our work with the Food and Drink Sector Council, a formal industry partnership with the Government, helping to create a more productive and sustainable food and drink sector.

The UK has a high degree of food security, built on access to a range of sources including strong domestic production and imports from other countries. Half of the food we eat is produced in the UK. The rest of our food is imported, with 30% coming from the EU and 20% from other countries. The UK's current production to supply ratio is 75% for indigenous-type foods and 61% for all foods. We produce 61% - 75% of our food supply, but some of that is exported.

Under the current EU State Aid rules we have been unable to promote our home produced food and drink to the domestic market in Government sponsored campaigns nationally. However, we continue to work with regional food groups to showcase their top-quality produce locally; tying this up where we can with stakeholder initiatives (such as those of the AHDB), focussing on provenance and the UKs world-leading standards of food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection.

20th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when a national beaver strategy for England is expected to be delivered; and what plans they have to increase beaver numbers in the UK.

Biodiversity, including species reintroductions, is a devolved issue and this answer relates to England only. The Government remains committed to providing opportunities for the reintroduction of formerly native species, such as beaver, as set out in our 25 Year Environment Plan.

At the Government’s request and with the agreement of the Devon Wildlife Trust, Natural England has extended the River Otter Beaver Trial until 31 August 2020, and is analysing the results of this trial and a range of experience with beavers across the UK and in other countries.

This analysis will inform decisions on the future of River Otter beavers and the status of beaver in England, including our approach for future reintroductions, management and licensing.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to restore the condition of Sites of Special Scientific Interest to ensure that all such sites are favourable to wildlife.

The 25 Year Environment Plan commits us to restoring 75% of our 1 million hectares of terrestrial and freshwater protected sites to favourable condition by 2042. Defra and Natural England are working with land owners and managers and others to improve the condition of our protected sites as a core component of a Nature Recovery Network.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of the food in parcels being distributed to those shielding from COVID-19 in England is ultra-processed food.

There is no universally agreed description for ultra-processed foods and therefore the Government cannot comment on the percentage of such in the food parcels. The contents of the emergency food parcels have, however, been reviewed by nutritionists as overall based on, and broadly in line with, the national food model, the Eatwell Guide.

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what they are doing in relation to the measures to react to SARS-CoV-2 to support the adoption of agroecological farming practices in the dairy sector, which require small, largely grass-fed operations rather than factory farming.

Defra is working very closely with the dairy and other agricultural sectors through this period of disruption to manage the impact of Covid-9 on the dairy supply chain.

The Government encourages environmentally-friendly farming. Each farming method has its own benefits and it is a farmer’s commercial decision to choose the system that best suits their farm. Environmentally-friendly farming and food production can go hand in hand.

To support the dairy industry through impacts of Covid-19, we have introduced a wide range of measures, which will also benefit dairy farmers employing agro-ecological practices.

We have eased some elements of competition law to make it easier for dairy processors to come together to maximise production, processing and storage efficiency and ensure as much product as possible can be processed into high quality dairy products.

Moreover, in recognition of the unprecedented challenges facing this sector we announced on 7 May a new fund to support those dairy farmers who have seen decreased demand due to the loss of the food service sector. Eligible dairy farmers in England who have lost more than 25% of their income over April and May due to coronavirus disruptions will be eligible for funding of up to £10,000 each, to cover 70% of their lost income during this qualifying period. This will enable these producers to continue to operate and sustain production capacity without impacts on animal welfare.

AHDB together with Dairy UK have also launched a new £1m campaign to drive consumption of milk. Running over 12 weeks, the campaign will highlight the role that milk plays in supporting moments of personal connection during times of crisis. Defra and the devolved administrations are jointly contributing towards the financing of this campaign.

Alongside the Covid-19 Business Interruption Loans Scheme, HMT has announced the new Bounce Back Loan scheme which will also apply to businesses operating in agriculture. This will ensure that the smallest businesses can access up to £50,000 loans. The Government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee on each loan, to give lenders the confidence they need to support the smallest businesses in the country. We will also cover the first 12 months of interest payments and fees charged to the business by the lender.

The existing public intervention scheme for skimmed milk powder and butter continues to be available. This provides a floor price for dairy products, supporting the dairy industry to sell skimmed milk powder and butter into public intervention when the price they would receive on the open market falls below the intervention price. In addition from 7 May, UK dairy processors are also eligible to apply for EU funded private storage aid in respect of skimmed milk powder, butter and cheese.

For organic dairy farmers whose milk is being sold as conventional milk, we offered a derogation to allow these farmers to provide their cows with conventional feed in order to reduce costs.

The new Environmental Land Management scheme will be the cornerstone of our future agricultural policy. It will reward farmers and land managers for the delivery of public goods with public money. The ELM scheme is being designed collaboratively with stakeholders. We are considering how more environmentally-sustainable farming approaches, including organic farming and agro-ecological approaches, may fit within ELM where these contribute towards the delivery of environmental public goods. Land managers will be paid for delivering the following public goods set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan: clean air; clean and plentiful water; thriving plants and wildlife; protection from and mitigation of environmental hazards; beauty, heritage and engagement with the environment; mitigation of and adaptation to climate change

Meanwhile, Countryside Stewardship (CS) provides a stepping stone to the future scheme, paying for environmental enhancements now as area-based payments are phased out. CS supports Defra’s Strategic Objective of ‘a cleaner, healthier environment, benefitting people and the economy’. Through the scheme, farmers can apply for funding to improve their local environment – from restoring wildlife habitats and creating woodlands to managing flood risk.

We will continue to offer Countryside Stewardship agreements in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to assist farmers and processors to find alternative outlets for milk and other dairy products that would otherwise go to waste due to disrupted supply chains as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Defra is working very closely with both farmer and processor representatives through this period of disruption to manage the impact on the dairy supply chain of Covid-19. Farmers supplying milk to processors that sell into the food service sector have seen a significant reduction in demand and we have taken several steps to support those affected.

This includes by temporarily setting aside some elements of competition law to enable farmers and the wider dairy sector to work together to minimise milk being wasted and to ensure it is processed into longer life dairy products. This approach will allow the market for milk to adjust to the change in demand for milk while allowing production to be restored when shops, restaurants and pubs are able to open again.

The Government's Covid-19 Business Interruption Loans scheme is available to the dairy industry to support them in this difficult period. I urge those farm businesses for whom it is appropriate to consider accessing these loans. Defra has held urgent discussions with the major banks to ensure they understand that farmers, milk buyers and milk processors are eligible for this scheme and we are working to increase awareness across the dairy industry. HMT have also now announced the new Bounce Back Loan scheme which will apply to businesses operating in agriculture. This will ensure that the smallest businesses can access up to £50,000 loans. The government will provide lenders with a 100% guarantee on each loan, to give lenders the confidence they need to support the smallest businesses in the country. We will also cover the first 12 months of interest payments and fees charged to the business by the lender.

The Government also took a number of early emergency steps to support dairy farmers and the wider sector. These included designating employees in the food sector as key workers and temporarily relaxing the normal rules on drivers' hours, enabling the sector to keep supply chains running, including deliveries from farm gate to processors.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to provide access to land to individuals and communities seeking to establish individual or community food growing schemes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government values green spaces such as allotments and considers them to be an important community asset, particularly during the COVID-19 outbreak. Allotments play an important role in helping people to live a healthy and active lifestyle and in providing food.

Local councils have a statutory duty under Section 23 of the Small Holdings and Allotments Act 1908 to provide a sufficient number of allotments based on local demand in an area and to let them to people residing in that area who want them. The provision of allotment spaces is the responsibility of local councils as they are best placed to determine the demand in their area.

In 2012, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government published a best practice guide for community groups wanting to find land to grow fruit and vegetables. This is available on the GOV.UK website at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/space-for-food-growing-a-guide.

The Local Government Association also provides guidance on allotments and community food growing schemes in its “Growing in the community” guidance, which is available online at: www.local.gov.uk/growing-community-second-edition.

25th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the legal requirements for local authorities to report their use of glyphosate and other chemical pesticides and herbicides; and what central record is kept of the use of such chemicals.

Pesticides, including glyphosate and other herbicides, are strictly regulated and their use is only authorised if a scientific risk assessment shows that there will be no harmful effect on human health and no unacceptable effects on the environment. There are specific risk assessments for the use of pesticides in amenity areas, which includes local authority use. There are also controls on the use of pesticides, including training of users and testing of application equipment.

It is for local authorities to determine the need for pest and weed control in their operations and to decide how to deliver this effectively without harming people or the environment. There is a legal requirement to minimise the use of pesticides along roads and in areas used by the general public and a number of local authorities are exploring practices that help meet this requirement.

Local authorities are not required to report their use of chemical pesticides and no central record is kept. The Government does commission and publish surveys of pesticide use. These focus mainly on the use of pesticides in farming, but surveys of amenity use have been carried out from time to time, most recently in 2016.

20th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to including the historic environment in the scope of future Environmental Improvement Plans.

The 25 Year Environment Plan (25YEP) commits the Government to safeguarding and enhancing the beauty of our natural scenery and improving its environmental value, while being sensitive to considerations of its heritage. We will continue this approach to improving the natural environment, both identifying the mutually positive impacts on the natural and historic environments our policies can have, as well as identifying potential trade-offs between them. Under the Environment Bill, to be reintroduced shortly, the 25YEP will be adopted as the first statutory Environment Improvement Plan.

The Agriculture Bill, recently laid before Parliament, will enable the Government to develop our ambitious new Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme. Our scheme is the cornerstone of our new agricultural policy. Founded on the principle of “public money for public goods”, ELM will provide a powerful vehicle for achieving the goals of the 25YEP and commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, while supporting our rural economy. Through the scheme, land managers will be paid to deliver public goods set out in the 25YEP, including beauty, heritage and engagement with the environment.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
20th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to fund the provision of independent advice for farmers in any new agricultural support schemes.

Our Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme is the cornerstone of our new agricultural policy. Founded on the principle of “public money for public goods”, ELM is intended to provide a powerful vehicle for achieving the goals of the 25 Year Environment Plan and commitment to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, while supporting our rural economy.

ELM is looking into several options for sourcing advisors, considering both private and public sector options. The options we are considering allow flexibility to source experienced advisors in the short-term for the National Pilot, whilst building sufficient and high-quality advisor capacity to support the full roll out of ELM. The National Pilot provides an opportunity to co-design with stakeholders and land managers the most appropriate way to provide this capacity and whether it is provided from the public or private sector.

20th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to introducing a mandatory phase-out of horticultural peat as part of their forthcoming England Peat Strategy; and when they intend to publish that strategy.

The Government is committed to phasing out the use of peat in horticulture in England by 2030. In 2011, we set a voluntary target to phase out the use of horticultural peat in the amateur sector by 2020, and the professional sector by 2030. While some progress has been made, we stated in the 25 Year Environment Plan that we would consider implementing further measures if there is insufficient movement to peat alternatives by 2020. We will set out plans to speed up progress on ending the use of horticultural peat in the England Peat Strategy, which we will publish this year.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to prohibit CDC Group from investing in companies based in tax havens or linked to companies based in tax havens.

There is no internationally recognised definition of a “tax haven.” CDC respects the tax policies of governments and supports their ability to tax. Whilst the development of domestic tax policy is the responsibility of governments, CDC requires its investee companies to approach tax is a responsible manner. CDC requires that: investee companies should be compliant, should not engage in base erosion and profit shifting, and should not engage in egregious tax planning.

Wherever possible, CDC invests directly into the country in which an investee company is located. If CDC invests through an intermediate country, it does so only if the country is compliant with international tax transparency standards as monitored by the OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Tax information.

CDC’s policy on the payment of taxes and the use of offshore financial centres is available on CDCs website. This policy has been agreed with DFID and is reviewed annually.

18th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the announcement that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Develolpment will merge, what will be the effect on the Independent Commission for Aid Impact.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will be accountable to parliament for how it spends UK aid. We remain committed to full transparency in our aid spending and there will continue to be parliamentary and independent scrutiny of the aid budget – the form this takes following the merger will be set out in due course.

4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what quantity of (1) tear gas, (2) rubber bullets, and (3) riot shields, have been exported in the past three years from the UK to the United States; whether they plan to suspend exports of such products to the United States in view of the use to which they are being put by police in response to the protests following the death of George Floyd; and whether they have asked the government of the United States to ensure that already exported materials are not being used for this purpose.

I have been deeply saddened by the violence that has taken place in the US. The death of George Floyd was a grave injustice and the right to peaceful protest is an important part of any free society.

The United Kingdom takes its export control responsibilities seriously and operates one of the most transparent export control systems in the world. We publish quarterly and annual statistics on all our export licensing decisions, including details of export licences granted, refused and revoked on GOV.UK.

We are able to review licences and suspend or revoke as necessary when circumstances require, and this is done in line with the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria

Records of the of the quantity of tear gas, rubber bullets, and riot shields exported in the past three years can only be provided at disproportionate costs.

Lord Grimstone of Boscobel
Minister of State (Department for International Trade)
8th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the (1) environmental, and (2) economic, impact of the use of flags of convenience by ships, in (a) UK waters, and (b) globally; and what steps they plan to take with international partners to reduce the (i) use, and (ii) any negative impact, of such flags.

All ships, irrespective of their flag State, must comply with relevant international conventions for safety and environmental protection, depending on their size and area of operation. Requirements are regularly reviewed by the Member States at the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization and recommendations to improve safety and environmental standards must then be implemented by those States.

Ships that are not on the UK Ship Register but are operating in UK waters or calling at UK ports, can be inspected by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency under the port State control regime of the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (Paris MOU). Individual ships are targeted for inspection on a risk-based approach, which takes into consideration factors such as age of ship, previous inspection history, company performance and its flag State.

Ships of all countries (irrespective of ratification of international conventions) will be subject to inspection in a UK port, to verify compliance with the requirements of conventions ratified by the UK under the principle of no more favourable treatment. Any ship that does not meet the minimum standards, may be detained and the reasons noted on the Paris MOU database for other maritime administrations to see.

Her Majesty’s Government has not carried out a bespoke environmental or economic impact assessment.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
4th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of plans to expand Leeds Bradford airport in view of the recommendation in the report by the Committee on Climate Change The Sixth Carbon Budget: Aviation, published in December 2020, that "there should be no net expansion of UK airport capacity unless the sector is on track to sufficiently outperform its net emissions trajectory and can accommodate the additional demand"; and what steps they are taking to ensure that data are held on all proposed expansion plans at UK airports.

Proposals should be judged by the relevant planning authority taking careful account of all relevant considerations, including environmental impacts and proposed mitigations. The Government cannot comment on specific planning applications, such as that for Leeds Bradford airport, so as not to prejudice any consideration of proposals should they come before Ministers in the future.

The Government is carefully considering all the Climate Change Committee’s advice, including on aviation emissions, ahead of setting the sixth carbon budget.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by the Economics Statistics Centre of Excellence Estimating the UK population during the pandemic, published on 14 January, what plans they have to change their plans for transport provision including HS2 as a result of population changes following (1) the COVID-19 pandemic, and (2) the UK’s departure from the EU.

The Department’s investment decisions are based on a fair and rigorous appraisal system which assesses schemes in relation to their strategic fit, value for money, deliverability, commercial and financial considerations. This appraisal is based on forecasts of travel demand underpinned by official projections for population and economic growth produced by the Office for Budget Responsibility.

While it is too early for us to fully understand the impacts that Covid-19 and the UK’s departure from the EU may have on travel demand, DfT’s Transport Analysis Guidance requires scheme promoters to undertake sensitivity tests to understand the resilience of investment decisions to key input assumptions. For HS2, it is worth noting that the Full Business Case for Phase One published in April looked at both high and low demand scenarios, underpinned by population and economic growth forecasts. The analysis showed that even in a scenario where demand is relatively low, there is still value in pressing ahead with HS2. We have committed to publishing an uncertainty toolkit this year which will provide advice on the analysis and presentation of uncertainty in transport appraisal and modelling, including the use of scenarios.

The Department is also committed to longer term strategic priorities, publishing three Priority Outcomes as part of Spending Review 2020. One of these is to improve connectivity across the United Kingdom. HS2 will play an important role in improving connectivity and will help to spread jobs and opportunity across the country. This will be key in the country’s recovery from the COVID pandemic.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
30th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to reports about the finances of Eurostar International Ltd, what steps they are taking to support that company; what discussions they have had with the governments of France and Belgium about any such support; and whether any such support will be benchmarked against support given to airlines.

The Government has engaged with Eurostar’s shareholders on a number of occasions in the last year. The Rail Minister has also met with Eurostar’s majority shareholder, SNCF, specifically to discuss the challenges facing the company in light of Covid-19 and the steps its shareholders are taking to address this.

The Government has made available an unprecedented package of financial support to all sectors of the economy, including the international rail sector. The Government has been engaging closely with Eurostar since the outbreak of Covid-19 to monitor its ongoing impact, as well as support the company to access available support to address Eurostar’s needs, where appropriate, and will continue to do so.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
10th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ban the advertisement of high-polluting vehicles.

The Government has no plans to ban advertising of high polluting vehicles. However, the Government is going further and faster to decarbonise transport by phasing out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030, and, from 2035, all new cars and vans must be zero emission at the tailpipe. Coupled with the new phase out dates we have pledged a further £2.8 billion package of measures to support industry and consumers to make the switch to cleaner vehicles.

The point-of-sale environmental label for new cars has recently been redesigned to present vehicle-specific environmental information in a clear, easy to understand and highly visible way. This ensures that consumers are provided with the right information at the right time to make informed purchasing decisions. A new ‘running costs’ section helps to emphasise the savings possible from electric and the most fuel-efficient cars. In addition, the Vehicle Certification Agency hosts a variety of tools that inform consumers of emissions data for new and used cars.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have (1) to improve the safety and regulation of light aircraft, and (2) the safety and regulation of such aircraft which are registered in the United States and other overseas jurisdictions but operating primarily in the UK.

The Department for Transport has recently commissioned an independent review into the safety of recreational General Aviation. The review showed a continuous downward trend in the number of accidents involving light aircrafts since the 1980s, and that the number of accidents in the UK is lower than in the US, Australia and New Zealand. The authors considered that the current safety level of recreational GA is acceptable but made a number of recommendations. We will work with the CAA to consider the implications, and will continue to keep all areas of safety policy under review.

Regarding third country registered aircraft based in the UK, the majority are non-complex aircraft registered in the US, used for recreational aviation. Both the General Aviation safety review and evidence from the CAA show there is no evidence that overall non-UK registered aircraft are maintained to a lower standard than UK registered aircraft, and that overall non-UK and European registered aircraft do not have a higher accident rate.

For these reasons, the Department for Transport does not consider there to be a safety case to change the regulation of third country registered aircrafts operating primarily in the UK. However, as highlighted above, we will continue to keep all areas of safety policy under review.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review their process of assessing (1) the carbon emissions, and (2) the economic benefits, resulting from new roadbuilding schemes; and what consideration they have given to assessing those impacts against the same criteria.

Her Majesty’s Government employs a relevant, robust and trusted analytical process designed to assess the likely impacts of both individual strategic road schemes and our road investment strategy as a whole. The impacts of such schemes on, for example, carbon, employment, housing, air quality and environmental issues are all assessed by the Department in line with its Transport Analysis Guidance (TAG).

The Department keeps its appraisal and modelling methodologies which are set out in TAG, under constant review, commissioning research to improve the evidence base as well as improving methodologies. The recently published TAG route map sets out our plans to update our guidance over the next six months and includes plans to update carbon values once these are finalised by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
21st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to allow off-peak tickets on Northern Rail services into Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford or Manchester to be used between 4.00pm and 6.30pm.

There are no planned changes to Northern’s off-peak travel requirements. In the current COVID-19 crisis, Northern has prioritised running a service for customers that is both resilient and reliable, rather than ramping up services too quickly or introducing measures that may lead to increased passenger demand and thereby exceed restrictions on social distancing.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the expansion of sleeper train services in continental Europe, what plans they have to link up with such services and to provide direct night train services from Northern England and Scotland to continental destinations.

International passenger rail services provide a number of benefits for passengers, businesses and the wider economy, including environmental benefits. The Government supports the future growth and success of international passenger rail and would welcome the development of potential sleeper services from across Great Britain to continental destinations, linking up with European services.

To that end, the Department for Transport has engaged with UK and European partners to encourage the future growth of international passenger rail services. Officials stand ready to further engage with any potential operators of new international services, including sleeper services, where they have a proposition they wish to explore.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
20th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the proposed expansion of Leeds–Bradford airport in the light of the reduction in air travel caused by (1) the COVID-19 pandemic, and (2) changes in consumer behaviour due to environmental concerns.

The Government supports airports making best of their existing runways. Potential airport growth applications should be considered under the appropriate planning regime and should take careful account of all relevant considerations, particularly economic and environmental impacts and proposed mitigations.

Applications to increase existing planning caps by fewer than 10 million passengers per annum (mppa) as in the case of Leeds-Bradford, should be taken forward through local planning authorities under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to work with South Oxfordshire District Council, Oxfordshire County Council and Network Rail to improve (1) cycling, (2) railway services, and (3) bus services, in the South Oxfordshire district; and whether they expect the delivery of any such improvements to precede the construction of new homes in the district.

Government works with all key partners across the country, including local authorities within Oxfordshire and with Network Rail, in ensuring consideration is given to appropriate sustainable transport modes, in particular, where there are planned housing developments. There is a requirement for local authorities to include any proposals in their local plans.

There is a requirement in the National Planning Policy Framework for local authorities to ensure that transport issues are considered from the earliest stages of plan-making and development proposals. In planning for new settlements this involves ensuring that opportunities to promote walking, cycling and public transport use are identified and pursued. Plans are also prepared with the active involvement of local highways authorities, other transport infrastructure providers and operators and neighbouring councils, so that strategies and investments for supporting sustainable transport and development patterns are aligned.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the expected levels of use, and (2) the expected increase in carbon emissions of (a) the proposed Culham Thames bridge, and (b) a road link connecting the A34 to the M40; and what progress has been made in respect of these developments.

The responsibility for any assessment of levels of use and increases of carbon emissions for these proposals would lie with the local highway authority, Oxfordshire County Council.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to restore the Cowley Branch railway line for passenger services; what stations any such services would serve; what is their timetable for developing any such plans; and what assessment they have made of the impact restoring the line for passenger services would have on carbon emissions.

A study of the rail corridors in Oxfordshire has been undertaken by Network Rail in partnership with the Department for Transport and local stakeholders led by the Oxfordshire Growth Board. The scope of the study has included the possibility of reopening the line between Oxford and Cowley for passenger services, with two new stations serving the Oxford Business and Science Park. The work undertaken to date has not included an assessment of the impact on carbon emissions.

The Oxfordshire Rail Corridor Study will be published this Spring, and further development work on reopening the Cowley line will be progressed in accordance with the Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the railway services at Culham to support the proposed increase in housing in the area; what assessment they have made of the impact of an increase in railway services at Culham on carbon emissions; and whether they expect any such improvements to rail services will precede the construction of new homes in the area.

A study of the rail corridors in Oxfordshire has been undertaken by Network Rail in partnership with the Department for Transport and local stakeholders led by the Oxfordshire Growth Board. The scope of the study has included an assessment of the demand for train services to and from Oxfordshire stations, including Culham, taking account of planned housing growth contained within existing Local Plans.

The Oxfordshire Rail Corridor Study will be published this Spring, and the outcomes will be progressed in accordance with the Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline. The work undertaken to date has not included an assessment of the impact on carbon emissions of any proposals, which is because the limit of the study work was to produce a train service specification to meet forecast demand, understand the existing capacity shortfall and the infrastructure interventions that might be required in order to meet that specification.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that jobseekers being supported through Department for Work and Pensions programmes have been referred to websites that advise them to state in job interviews that climate change may not exist; and what steps they plan to take as a result.

This was content provided by a third party supplier and was designed to help individuals understand that they can acknowledge different points of view when answering questions. The choice of “global warming” as an example subject was not appropriate and the content has been removed.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Baroness Scott of Bybrook on 8 June (HL Deb, col 1312), what assessment they have made of the report by Z2K #PeopleBeforeProcess, published on 25 May; and what steps they plan to take as a result.

The Government acknowledges the report by Z2K published in May 2021 and will consider its findings as part of our consultation on the Health & Disability Green Paper, published on 20 July. The Green Paper explores how the benefits system can better meet people’s needs now and in the future by improving people’s experience of our services, enabling independent living and improving employment outcomes.

The Government is committed to improving the lives of disabled people and yesterday published the National Disability Strategy. The strategy takes into account the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on disabled people and focuses on the issues that disabled people say affect them the most in all aspects of life.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Stedman-Scott on 4 November 2020 (HL9402), and the identification of new variants of COVID-19, what plans they have to update their guidance for the ventilation of (1) existing, and (2) new, buildings.

The Health and Safety Executive’s guidance outlines control measures that should protect against virus transmission and these remain unchanged. Ensuring good ventilation, staying at home, working from home where you can, social distancing, hand washing and cleaning surfaces are all measures that will reduce infection risk.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to respond to the report by the University of Glasgow and the Health Foundation, Mental health, welfare conditionality and employment support: Policy recommendations and key findings, published in October.

The University of Glasgow and the Health Foundation’s report offers useful insights. We take these issues seriously and will consider the recommendations and key findings alongside the work on the forthcoming Health and Disability Support Green Paper, which will explore how the welfare system can better meet the needs of disabled people and people with health conditions. Improving employment support will be a key theme of the Green Paper.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
21st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Greenhalgh on 20 October (HL8966), what guidance they will provide on the operation and adaptation of ventilation provision in existing buildings, including (1) schools, (2) fitness facilities, and (3) retail premises and offices, in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has produced the following website-based advice on air conditioning and ventilation in the workplace for existing buildings during the pandemic

https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/equipment-and-machinery/air-conditioning-and-ventilation.htm

HSE is carrying out a review of this guidance in light of SAGE’s (the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies) consideration of evidence on aerosol transmission of SARS-CoV-2. If required as a result of this review HSE will update the advice provided on their website. This will also be communicated to stakeholders across all sectors via HSE’s e-bulletin subscription service.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
22nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to extend the suspension of new reviews and reassessments of all benefits beyond 24 June. [T]

Our priority throughout this health emergency continues to be to protect the public and staff, while ensuring people get the benefits they are entitled to quickly and safely. Reviews and reassessments will remain suspended while we review what activity we can gradually start reintroducing in line with the latest public health advice. We will confirm next steps as soon as possible.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
11th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Citizens’ Basic Income Feasibility Study Steering Group Assessing the Feasibility of Citizens’ Basic Income Pilots in Scotland: Final Report, published on 10 June.

The Citizens’ Basic Income does not target those most in need of support; it also has high costs and reduces work incentives. The Department for Work and Pensions believes the future lies in support that is increasingly tailored to the needs of the individual which Universal Credit underpins.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what elements of Thriving at Work: The Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health and employers, published in October 2017, have been implemented.

The Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health and employers, published in October 2017 set out recommendations for how employers can better support the mental health needs of all those in employment. The recommendations included some for the Government to implement and some that required leadership from outside government. The recommendations were accepted in full in November 2017 and progress is being overseen by the Work and Health Unit.

Our assessment is that of those that the Government is responsible for all are complete or progressing satisfactorily, subject to legislative or IT solutions.

Of those recommendations that sit outside Government, the Leadership Council, made up of key employer representatives was set up to take ownership for driving implementation by employers. We continue to actively work with them to support them in their progress.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
20th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce regulations to amend the Health and Safety (First-Aid) Regulations 1981 to include provision for mental health first aid.

Under the Health and Safety (First Aid) at Work Regulations 1981 employers have a responsibility to consider the physical and mental health needs of their staff regardless of whether the cause is work-related or not as part of their first aid needs assessment, and decide what support is necessary. HSE provides guidance to employers on what type of factors to consider, see link for more information. (https://www.hse.gov.uk/firstaid/needs-assessment.htm).

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what extra resources they plan to provide to (1) the Health and Safety Executive, and (2) local councils, to ensure that any responsibilities to make workplaces safe from COVID-19 are met. [T]

The Government have announced additional funding of up to £14 million has been made available to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to support their advice and regulatory activity as businesses implement the new guidance on working safely. HSE’s plans will develop as more businesses return to work and this will include checks that appropriate measures are in place to protect workers from COVID-19.

The Government has also announced a total of £3.2 billion of funding for councils to support their response to the pandemic. This is a significant package of support which responds to the range of pressures councils have told us they are facing and will support them to protect vital services.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many applicants for the housing component of universal credit who have applied since 1 March will be subject to the spare room subsidy; and what percentage this is of the total applicants for the housing component since that date.

Data for claimants on Universal Credit with a Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy deduction is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many RADAR toilet facilities in England remain open for use during the COVID-19 pandemic; and what this is as a percentage of total RADAR toilet facilities.

The Government does not keep a record of which toilets are open and which are locked with a Radar key either pre or during the Covid-19 situation.

The Radar National Key Scheme offers disabled people independent access to over 9,000 locked public toilets around the country with one key. Toilets fitted with National Key Scheme locks can now be found in shopping centres, pubs, cafes, department stores, bus and train stations and many other locations in the country, and are operated by a wide range of organisations.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many children in families receiving housing benefit or the Universal Credit housing costs element share a bedroom with a sibling or parent.

The information requested in not available.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many households currently have had their Housing Benefit or Universal Credit housing costs element reduced by (1) 14 per cent of the ‘eligible rent’ for one spare bedroom, and (2) 25 per cent of the ‘eligible rent’ for two or more spare bedrooms.

Figures on the number of households receiving Housing Benefit affected by the Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy are publically available through the DWP Stat Xplore website:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/jsf/login.xhtml

Guidance for users is available at:

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

Figures on DWP Stat Xplore do not include claimants on Universal Credit with a Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy deduction, as this data is not readily available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Baroness Stedman-Scott
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to expanding the guidance on the symptoms of COVID-19, given the results of the ongoing ZOE COVID Study.

Experts continue to keep the symptoms under review as our understanding of the virus develops. We assess the data from the COVID Symptom Study in addition to other surveillance studies and will update our guidance if necessary.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
18th Aug 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide additional mental health support for UK veterans of the war in Afghanistan.

In England, veterans are able to access both mainstream and veteran specific services. There are several bespoke veterans’ services in place to meet the needs of military personnel, veterans and their families. This includes very strong mental health support, known as ‘Op COURAGE: The Veterans Mental Health and Wellbeing Service’, which has received over 16,000 referrals to date. Together these services provide a complete mental health care pathway for veterans with individuals benefitting from personalised care plans, ensuring they can access support and treatment both in and out of hours.

The Government has committed an additional £2.7 million to expand these services which will directly benefit at-risk veterans, some of whom may have been impacted by the recent events in Afghanistan.

18th Aug 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to cover the cost of quarantine for those forced to flee Afghanistan, as a red list country.

There is a cross-Government effort to design a package for arrivals from Afghanistan, including the support that is needed to help these families relocate to the United Kingdom. The cost of managed quarantine is being considered in these discussions and we are actively looking to provide support where the need is greatest.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by the Secretary of State for Health on 12 July (HC Deb, col 26), what percentage of the £90 billion extra provided to the health and care system during the pandemic has been spent on air ventilation units.

The information requested is not held centrally as much of this funding was spent at trust level.

15th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they plan to take to tackle (1) rising demand, (2) rising costs, and (3) rent-seeking behaviours, in the adult social care sector, as identified by the APPG on Limits to Growth report Tacking growth dependency – the case of adult social care, published on 13 July.

The Government is committed to reforming the adult social care system and will bring forward proposals in 2021.

We are working closely with local and national partners to ensure our approach to reform is informed by diverse perspectives, including of those with lived experience of the care sector.

26th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many cases of the transmission of COVID-19 have been traced to facilities which have been designated for use for quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The information requested is not held centrally.

26th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether people quarantining in hotels during the COVID-19 pandemic are permitted to order take-away food; and if so, what precautions are in place for the bio-secure delivery of that food.

Additional food and drinks can be ordered and delivered to the hotel main reception. All deliveries are left outside the guest's room and staff should have no contact with the guest.

26th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) initial, and (2) subsequent, checks on (a) the standard of ventilation, and (b) risks of ventilation systems transmitting COVID-19, were conducted in facilities used for travel quarantines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ventilation requirements within the Managed Quarantine Service (MQS) hotels have been identified and agreed with Public Health England. Mechanical ventilation systems should be maintained in line with manufacturers’ instructions and should use a fresh air supply and not recirculating indoor air. This is to prevent airborne transmissibility and is an essential specification within hotel contracts. We ensure these are being met as part of the initial site visit undertaken by MQS staff and security. Each hotel should ensure that air-conditioning, ventilation, fire alarms and sprinkler systems are working properly. We are encouraging hotels to meet the guidance given by the Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Associations.

9th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have (1) to monitor sewerage to track COVID-19 prevalence and outbreaks, or (2) to provide funding to local authorities to do so.

The Environmental Monitoring for Health Protection Programme is an innovative way to monitor community health and involves monitoring sewage for the presence of COVID-19, including variants of concern. It provides an understanding where the virus is circulating in the population and identify future potential spikes in infection, so action can be taken to stop transmission. The Programme is rapidly expanding its coverage to provide continuous monitoring at a local level and across England.

Wastewater testing has been used to support several local authorities to rapidly understand where local outbreaks are occurring and to detect the emergence of variants of concern in their areas. This involves working intensively with local authority and public health teams to identify areas for focused wastewater testing. It also provides reassurance to local communities who are impacted. The Programme is funded and delivered in England by the Joint Biosecurity Centre in partnership with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs at no cost to local authorities.

3rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the difference in mortality rates for residents of care homes which are owned (1) by private equity, (2) privately, and (3) on a not for profit basis.

We do not hold information on the ownership status of care homes therefore no such assessment has been made.

3rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have considered the deployment of professional high-efficiency particulate air purifiers as part of their response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and if not, why not.

The infection prevention control principles within current National Health Service guidance are applicable to all healthcare settings. The key principle of ventilation is to dilute COVID-19 through air changes and both air extraction and fresh air supply can be used to achieve this.

3rd Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for standardising professional high-efficiency particulate air purifiers used in healthcare and education settings.

The infection prevention control principles within current National Health Service guidance are applicable to all healthcare settings. The key principle of ventilation is to dilute COVID-19 through air changes and both air extraction and fresh air supply can be used to achieve this.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of clinical staff of children and adolescent mental health services have specialist training in (1) assisting young victims of intimate partner violence, and (2) dealing with perpetrators of intimate partner violence.

The information is not held in the format requested. All healthcare staff must undertake mandatory safeguarding training that enable staff to effectively safeguard, protect and promote the welfare of children and young people.

23rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to prevent tobacco companies using (1) social media influencers, and (2) other media, to promote non-combustible nicotine products.

The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002 covers the prohibition of tobacco advertising. The advertising of e-cigarettes is covered under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 (TRPR).

The Department expects social media platforms to comply with the above regulations in the United Kingdom. The Advertising Standards Authority are responsible for dealing with complaints around tobacco and e-cigarette advertising.

The Department is currently undertaking a post implementation review of TRPR to assess if the regulations have met their objectives. A public consultation is currently open for responses, and provides an opportunity for comments to be made on this legislation.

9th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide funding for COVID-19 (1) hotel quarantine accommodation, and (2) quarantine testing, for (a) not-for-profit organisations and charities, whose staff and representatives are involved in essential travel, and (b) individuals with a humanitarian need to travel, who could not otherwise afford to pay for such measures.

The Government has no plans to do so. However, for those facing significant financial hardship as a result of this charge, there is an opportunity to apply for a deferred repayment plan when booking.

21st Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide special leave and psychological support to NHS staff who have worked longer hours in a more stressful work environment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April 2020, we put in place a comprehensive package of wellbeing resources for National Health Service staff including counselling helplines, free access to wellbeing apps, virtual staff commons rooms, and specialist bereavement and psychological support. This was reinforced in the autumn with £30 million invested in enhanced occupational health support and the creation of mental health hubs which are focused on improving outreach, assessment and referrals to specialist services.

Taking leave is important to allow staff the opportunity to rest and recuperate. The NHS employment offer already includes annual leave arrangements beyond the statutory minimum and management of annual leave is a local matter for employing organisations. Where staff have been unable to take annual leave due to the pandemic, agreements can be reached to ensure that annual leave can be carried over into the next two years.

21st Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many local authorities have spent the funds allocated to them to support people self-isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic; how many such authorities are refusing new applications; and of those local authorities that are funding such payments from their own budgets, (1) how much they have spent on such payments, and (2) whether they will be reimbursed for them.

We are working closely with all 314 lower tier and unitary local authorities to collate information on how the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme is progressing and will release information on the number of applications, successful applications and amounts paid out in due course.

If a local authority has used all of its discretionary funding, it is for that authority to decide whether to accept further applications or whether to use other sources of funding. However, the funding made available to local authorities to make discretionary payments under the scheme has been increased to £20 million per month from March 2021.

8th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many local authorities (1) have used up the Government grant provided in September 2020 to make payments under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme, (2) are topping up such payments from other sources, and (3) are no longer making those payments; and what is the average wait time between an application being made and receipt of payment.

This information is not currently held centrally. However, data on the scheme will be published in due course, subject to assuring the quality of the data submitted by local authorities.

25th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have (1) to encourage, (2) to support, and (3) to enforce, the use of antibiotic consumption data as a public health measure in decisions about (a) trade policy, and (b) the protection of public health.

Public health issues are being actively considered as part of the Government’s trade policy development. The Government has been clear that it will uphold the United Kingdom’s high levels of public, animal, and plant health.

The UK’s five-year national action plan for antimicrobial resistance includes ambitions to reduce antimicrobial use in human and animal medicine. Public Health England (PHE) works with the National Health Service to develop and maintain robust surveillance systems for monitoring and reporting trends in antimicrobial use. Local data on antibiotic prescribing is published by PHE in an online only format and can be used by healthcare staff, commissioners and directors of public health to benchmark performance and develop local action plans.

25th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they intend to provide for research on the degradation rate of antibiotics used for human use; and what plans they have to use such research to inform antibiotic (1) prescribing, (2) management, and (3) discovery and research.

We have interpreted the noble Lady’s question as referring to the degradation of antibiotics in the environment. The United Kingdom is working with the pharmaceutical industry, water industry, research institutes and across Government to address the issue of antibiotics in the environment, as part of both the UK’s five year National Action Plan on antimicrobial resistance and response to the European Commission’s Strategic Approach to Pharmaceuticals in the Environment report. Work is still at the evidence-gathering stage but it is anticipated that research will include looking at occurrence and behaviour of antibiotics in the environment, which may include degradation. Findings will feed into evidence-based policy to inform potential solutions, which may include more prudent prescribing, better waste management and a drive towards greener manufacture and development of pharmaceuticals.

19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to undertake public consultation on the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to different age groups and other distinct population groups.

There are no plans to undertake a public consultation on the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to different age groups and other district population groups.

12th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to make scabies a notifiable disease.

There are no plans to make scabies a notifiable disease.

12th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to license Ivermectin in tablet form for older children and adults, in line with World Health Organisation guidelines for essential drugs.

At present, only one ivermectin-containing product is approved in the United Kingdom (Soolantra 10 mg/g cream) but this is not indicated in the treatment of scabies in tablet form. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are aware that Stromectol 3mg tablets, containing ivermectin, are approved in France and are used for the treatment of scabies but this is not licensed in the UK.

In order for the MHRA to approve a medicine for use in the UK, a manufacturer has to apply to obtain a marketing authorisation. The MHRA makes its decision to approve a licence for a product based on safety, quality and efficacy criteria, irrespective of the cost. Thus far, the MHRA has not received any application for tablets of ivermectin.

28th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to support behavioural, environmental and social science interventions against COVID-19; and what assessment they have made of investing in such interventions.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies’ subgroup the Scientific Pandemic Influenza group on Behaviour (SPI-B) offers insights into the behavioural and psychological impacts of the implementation of proposed interventions or responses to COVID-19. SPI-B is not asked to comment on the effectiveness of particular interventions, nor on when they should be triggered. The group is asked to provide advice aimed at anticipating and helping people adhere to interventions that are recommended by medical or epidemiological experts.

20th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of staff working for the NHS through wholly-owned subsidiaries not being included in workforce race equality standard figures; and what plans they have to ensure those staff are included in future figures.

The Workforce Race Equality Standard (WRES) applies to all organisations providing National Health Service healthcare services under the full-length version of the NHS standard contract. The status and reporting by NHS trust subsidiary companies, outsourcing and subcontracting service providers is being reviewed by the WRES strategic advisory group. We anticipate the outcome of this review in the coming months and will apply recommendations to future data collections.

20th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Medact False Positives: the Prevent counter-extremism policy in healthcare, published on 2 July, particularly its finding that there is evidence that Prevent undermines key duties of health professionals, including (1) confidentiality, (2) duty of care to the patient, and (3) consent.

The Department has noted the concerns raised in the report by Medact False Positives: the Prevent counter-extremism policy in healthcare. Healthcare professionals have a duty of care to safeguard patients who may be vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism. Prevent is a statutory duty for National Health Service trusts and foundation trusts, whose staff may need to share personal information to ensure that a person at risk of radicalisation is given appropriate support. Information sharing is governed by legislation and assessed on a case-by-case basis, which considers whether the informed consent of the individual can be obtained and that the proposed sharing is necessary, proportionate and lawful.

8th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the current waiting time for NHS patients to receive (1) an assessment, and (2) treatment, in relation to gender identity services; what was the maximum waiting time for such treatment before the COVID-19 pandemic; whether the current waiting time has decreased in the last three months; and what steps they are taking to clear the backlog of those waiting for treatment.

We currently do not routinely collect data on the number of patients waiting and maximum waiting times for gender identity clinics.

Data in October 2019, which informed the work programme aimed at improving access to gender services, showed there were more than 9,500 individuals waiting for a first appointment. Of this, approximately 3,400 individuals had been waiting between 52 and 103 weeks; and circa 2,100 individuals had been waiting for over two years. The median waiting time for a first appointment is more than two years for patients who were referred in October 2019.

To address this rise in demand, three new services have been established in Cheshire and Merseyside, Manchester and London. These services will be evaluated as pilots for a new delivery model, with planning underway for further services to be establish nationwide.

28th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to ensure that labels on alcohol products do not display misleading or out-of-date information.

The Department has worked with industry to ensure that alcohol labels reflect the United Kingdom CMOs’ Low Risk Drinking Guidelines for drinks produced after the 1 September 2019. The industry has committed to comply with this requirement. Local trading standards have powers to remove products produced after the 1 September 2019 that contain the old guidelines on the labels, remaining stock produced before then can be sold through.

28th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to ensure that labels on alcohol products contain information on nutritional and calorie content in line with other food and drink products.

Through Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives, published in July, we are committed to consult before the end of the year on our intention to make companies provide calorie labelling on all pre-packaged alcohol they sell. The consultation will also cover introducing calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks sold in the out of home sector, for example bought on draught or by the glass.

A copy of Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives is attached.

2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have put in place to ensure that there will be sufficient influenza vaccine available from the start of the influenza season to vaccinate the entire population.

We have no plans to offer the influenza vaccination to the entire United Kingdom population. On 5 August 2020 we published the Annual Flu Letter Update 2020/21, which set out who will be eligible for flu vaccination this winter.

General practitioners and pharmacists are directly responsible for ordering flu vaccine from suppliers which are used to deliver the national flu programme to adults, and earlier this year they were asked to review their orders for flu vaccine to ensure they have sufficient vaccine for their eligible patients. We have also procured additional stock as part of our planning for this season.

Flu vaccination deliveries for those who are in at risk groups will start to be available in September and will continue in all areas in England throughout the winter months.

29th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to introducing a scheme for prescriptions to be supplied by pharmacists in England similar to Pharmacy First Scotland.

The NHS Community Pharmacist Consultation Service (CPCS) was launched by NHS England and NHS Improvement in October 2019. As for Pharmacy First Scotland, the CPCS encourages patients who might otherwise go elsewhere to visit a community pharmacy first. Under the CPCS, patients referred from 111 phone or online and who have a minor illness or have run out of a repeat medicine and need an urgent supply, can have a consultation with a pharmacist. The pharmacist will provide self-care advice and support for the patient and/or carer and the subsequent supply of medicines. For the emergency supply of previously prescribed medicines, these are supplied free on the National Health Service, subject to the payment of a prescription charge, as appropriate. In keeping with general NHS prescribing policy in England, the supply of ‘over the counter’ medicines are paid for by the patient.

8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the weekly cost of the Eatwell Guide diet; and whether that cost is affordable (1) for recipients of Universal Credit, (2) for apprentices, and (3) for those on minimum wage, including the minimum wage rates for those under 25.

The Eatwell Guide is a tool to demonstrate the different types of foods and drinks, and the proportions in which they should be consumed, that can contribute towards a healthy, balanced diet. There are a number of ways to eat a diet in line with the Eatwell Guide.

A 2016 study looking at the cost of achieving a diet in line with the Eatwell Guide concluded that although achieving this would require large changes to the current average diet, these changes would not lead to significant changes in the price of the diet. A copy of the paper Eatwell Guide: modelling the dietary and cost implications of incorporating new sugar and fibre guidelines is attached.

Public Health England has not assessed the affordability of the Eatwell Guide for particular population groups including recipients of Universal Credit, apprentices and those on minimum wage.

8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to launch a nutrition skills training programme for community workers, including those from health, social care and third sector organisations, similar to the Nutrition Skills for Life programme by NHS Wales.

The United Kingdom Government is represented on Health Education England’s steering group to develop a competency framework for healthier weight. Health Education England’s Healthier Weight framework aims to describe the competencies that health and care staff working in any setting need to equip them to fulfil their role to promote a healthier weight. The Healthier Weight framework is attached.

The emphasis for this framework to help prevention of excess weight gain and can be applied across all groups of health and care staff working in any setting including frontline staff, managers, commissioners and leaders and relevant to charities that provide services around healthier weight. It may be used in other settings such as individual’s homes, care homes, nurseries, children’s centres, schools, colleges and workplaces and with any community or any group within the population.

8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the findings of the report by the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review First Do No Harm, published on 8 July, what plans they have to appoint an independent patient safety commissioner to monitor the relevant financial interests of medical professionals offering advice or oversight of medicines and medical devices.

We have just received the report by the Independent Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Review, led by Baroness Cumberlege.

As we have advised this week, it is now time for us to consider this report and its recommendations carefully.

We will consider how this recommendation fits with the structures we already have in place.

30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of warning labels on sugary drinks including on (1) carbonated soft drinks, (2) fruit-flavoured drinks and, (3) energy drinks.

To ensure United Kingdom labelling remains effective for consumers, we will consider a range of measures to build on the success of our current ‘traffic light’ nutritional labelling scheme.

All sectors of the drinks industry have been challenged to reduce sugar levels in juice-based drinks by 5% by 2021. The reductions can be achieved through reducing the number of calories and/or portion size of products and shifting consumer purchasing towards lower or no added sugar products.

Public Health England oversees the voluntary sugar reduction and wider reformulation programme on behalf of the Government, as set out in all chapters of the childhood obesity plan and the 2019 Prevention Green Paper. We have seen some important successes including the average sugar content of drinks subject to the soft drinks industry levy decreasing by 28% between 2015 and 2018.

We will be setting out our responses to the consultations on restricting promotions of products high in fat, sugar and salt by location and by price, and calorie labelling in the out-of-home sector as soon as we can.

30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to limit (1) the size of servings of obesogenic drinks such as carbonated soft drinks, fruit juice, fruit-flavoured drinks and energy drinks, and (2) promotions encouraging customers to "size-up" servings at low cost.

To ensure United Kingdom labelling remains effective for consumers, we will consider a range of measures to build on the success of our current ‘traffic light’ nutritional labelling scheme.

All sectors of the drinks industry have been challenged to reduce sugar levels in juice-based drinks by 5% by 2021. The reductions can be achieved through reducing the number of calories and/or portion size of products and shifting consumer purchasing towards lower or no added sugar products.

Public Health England oversees the voluntary sugar reduction and wider reformulation programme on behalf of the Government, as set out in all chapters of the childhood obesity plan and the 2019 Prevention Green Paper. We have seen some important successes including the average sugar content of drinks subject to the soft drinks industry levy decreasing by 28% between 2015 and 2018.

We will be setting out our responses to the consultations on restricting promotions of products high in fat, sugar and salt by location and by price, and calorie labelling in the out-of-home sector as soon as we can.

30th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to require restaurants and takeaways to include on their menus (1) calorific information about each dish or item, and (2) information about the number of servings of fruits and vegetables contained in each dish or item, including when this figure is zero.

To ensure United Kingdom labelling remains effective for consumers, we will consider a range of measures to build on the success of our current ‘traffic light’ nutritional labelling scheme.

All sectors of the drinks industry have been challenged to reduce sugar levels in juice-based drinks by 5% by 2021. The reductions can be achieved through reducing the number of calories and/or portion size of products and shifting consumer purchasing towards lower or no added sugar products.

Public Health England oversees the voluntary sugar reduction and wider reformulation programme on behalf of the Government, as set out in all chapters of the childhood obesity plan and the 2019 Prevention Green Paper. We have seen some important successes including the average sugar content of drinks subject to the soft drinks industry levy decreasing by 28% between 2015 and 2018.

We will be setting out our responses to the consultations on restricting promotions of products high in fat, sugar and salt by location and by price, and calorie labelling in the out-of-home sector as soon as we can.

24th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the increased intake of artificial sweeteners by infants and children, and (2) levels of intake of fruit and vegetables by infants and children.

Sweeteners permitted for use in the United Kingdom, are strictly regulated and undergo a mandatory robust safety assessment prior to being authorised for the market. Maximum use levels are set to help ensure that consumers do not exceed the acceptable intake levels which apply to all population groups over 12 weeks of age.

Latest data on fruit and vegetable intakes for children aged 18 months upwards are available from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (2014/15 to 2015/16) and for infants and young children aged 4-18 months available from the Diet and Nutrition Survey of Infants and Young Children 2011. Mean intake by age group ranges from 170 grams per day at 12-18 months old to 168 grams per day at 11-18 year olds. The National Diet and Nutrition Survey Results from Years 7 and 8 (combined) of the Rolling Programme (2014/2015 to 2015/2016) report and the Diet and Nutrition Survey of Infants and Young Children, 2011 are attached.

24th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to reports of increases of 20 per cent in alcohol consumption by drinkers and increases in related harms during the restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic, what consideration they have given to restricting alcohol advertising.

Advertising in the United Kingdom is overseen by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the industry’s independent regulator, who enforce the Advertising Codes through a system of self-regulation and co-regulation with Ofcom. The Codes apply to all media, including broadcast and online, and set standards for accuracy and honesty to which advertisers must adhere, including specific conditions on advertising to children, causing offence and social responsibility. The Codes also include specific rules on alcohol advertising, with the underlying aim of ensuring that marketing communications do not imply, condone or encourage immoderate, irresponsible or anti-social drinking. The Codes are regularly reviewed and updated by the ASA to ensure they remain effective.

16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to raise public awareness about the long-term effects of COVID-19 experienced by some people who had only mild symptoms of the disease.

COVID-19 is a new disease and therefore it is not yet clear what the medical, psychological and rehabilitation needs will be for those experiencing long-term effects, to enable them to make as full a recovery as possible.

The UK Research and Innovation-National Institute for Health Research Rapid Response Rolling Call has funded a large post-hospitalisation study. The study, announced in July, will establish a national consortium and a research platform embedded within clinical care to better understand and improve long-term outcomes for survivors following hospitalisation with COVID-19. It will also help to ensure future treatment can be tailored as much as possible to the person.

The new ‘Your COVID Recovery’ service, forms part of National Health Service plans to expand access to COVID-19 rehabilitation treatments for those who have survived the virus but still have problems with breathing, mental health problems or other complications.

16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to support those suffering long-term effects from COVID-19.

The National Health Service and the wider scientific community are currently working to better understand the disease course of the COVID-19 virus, including the severity and duration of symptoms. The UK Research and Innovation-National Institute for Health Research Rapid Response Rolling Call has funded a large post-hospitalisation study. The study, announced in July, will establish a national consortium and a research platform embedded within clinical care to understand and improve long-term outcomes for survivors following hospitalisation with COVID-19.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have worked with the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust to develop a digital, interactive, personalised recovery programme for people recovering from COVID-19. The new ‘Your COVID Recovery’ service, which was announced on 5 July, forms part of NHS plans to expand access to COVID-19 rehabilitation treatments for those who have survived the virus but still have problems with breathing, mental health problems or other complications.

16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the ZOE ‘COVID-19 Symptom Study’ which suggests that one in 10 people experience COVID-19 symptoms lasting longer than three weeks.

The Government continues to monitor and assess data from a wide variety of sources on COVID-19 as it emerges. The Government is aware of the ZOE ‘COVID-19 Symptom Study’ and has included the data on symptom duration as part of its considerations.

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies recently re-evaluated length of self-isolation for symptomatic individuals and did not recommend a change to current advice.

16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will end the Immigration Health Surcharge; whether workers who have paid the fee since the announcement on 21 May will be reimbursed and, if so, when reimbursements will be made.

The Department of Health and Social Care and the Home Office are working at pace to deliver the exemption. Any National Health Service or care workers that have paid the surcharge since the Prime Minister’s announcement on 21 May will receive a refund and further announcements will be made shortly.

11th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce dedicated periods of time where those who are shielding from COVID-19 can safely use the extra freedoms being introduced from the reduction of the restrictions in place to address the pandemic. [T]

To provide a more comprehensive response to a number of outstanding Written Questions, this has been answered by an information factsheet Science of Covid-19 note for House of Lords, which is attached due to the size of the data. A copy has also been placed in the Library.

21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce saliva rather than swab testing for COVID-19 for (1) the general population, and (2) vulnerable groups that might find the swab test particularly difficult including (a) children, and (b) patients with dementia or other cognitive impairments.

To provide a more comprehensive response to a number of outstanding Written Questions, this has been answered by an information factsheet Testing – note for House of Lords which is attached, due to the size of the data. A copy has also been placed in the Library

21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Bethell on 20 May (HL3589), what criteria they used to determine the type of testing to offer at each Regional Test Site; on average, what percentage of people choose the self-test option at sites which operate a hybrid model; what is the average waiting time at (1) assisted, (2) self-administration, and (3) hybrid, testing sites; and whether there is a maximum waiting time embedded in contractual agreements with test providers.

We do not collect or publish data in the form requested. We are working to increase access to both assisted and self-administered testing, but it is important to note that the range of testing routes are designed to be complementary and reach the right people at the right time. We are providing a range of options to be as accessible as possible to people wherever they live and whatever their circumstances.

18th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to update their public guidance on COVID-19 to widen the ranges of symptoms that are indicative of COVID-19. [T]

COVID-19 is a new virus and the Government guidance is regularly updated as scientific advice and Government policy evolves. All relevant pieces of guidance were updated to include anosmia (loss or change in sense of smell or taste) when this policy change was announced on 18 May 2020.

14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to increase provision of services to address alcohol-related issues related to any increase in the consumption of alcohol during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Local authorities are responsible for assessing local needs and commissioning alcohol services to meet these needs, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public Health England supports local authorities in this work by providing advice, guidance and data.

In support of COVID-19, NHS England and NHS Improvement have published a specialty guide for alcohol dependence to support clinicians in acute and mental health trusts treating patients with alcohol dependence. Additionally, a national alcohol clinical expert network has been established to provide advice and support.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial and practical provision they will make for the final-year cohort of nursing, midwifery and associated health professional students who have not opted to cut short their courses to work in the NHS during the COVID-19 pandemic, but who may see those courses extend past the planned date for qualifying.

Universities and practice learning partners are working together to try and ensure students' learning outcomes are met and competencies are signed off to complete the programme at the expected time. However, as in usual circumstances, some students may need to extend beyond three years if they cannot meet the required learning outcomes or minimum clinical hour requirements.

Work is ongoing across Government with key partners to agree the arrangements for final year students who may need to extend beyond three years, the outcomes of which will be communicated as soon as possible.

5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the (1) false negative, and (2) false positive rate, of tests for COVID-19 being used to determine the current infected/non-infected status of individuals in a (a) laboratory, and (b) real world, setting. [T]

To provide a more comprehensive response to a number of outstanding Written Questions, this has been answered by an information factsheet Testing – note for House of Lords which is attached, due to the size of the data. A copy has also been placed in the Library

28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of drive-in COVID-19 testing sites in England are operated by (1) the NHS directly and (2) private contractors; what percentage of tests for each such site involves (1) swabbing of the nose and throat by trained staff, or (2) instructions being given in writing or verbally for participants to swab themselves; and what data is available on the relative accuracy of the two forms of test. [T]

Regional Test Sites are overseen by the Department as part of the COVID-19 National Testing Programme. These sites have been commissioned by the Department and operated by a range of commercial organisations. As of 29 April, 43 regional tests were open across the United Kingdom. Of these, 11 deliver assisted testing, 14 sites operate the self-administered approach and 18 operate a hybrid model where both options are offered.

The test is reliable and effective. There are different tests in use under this programme and all have been assessed as performing to manufacturers specifications before being used.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many final year nurses, midwives and associated health professionals who finished their courses early to take up roles in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are now working in the (1) NHS, and (2) social care sector; and what special provision is being made to support those workers.

Final year nursing, midwifery and many allied health profession students are beginning to be deployed into the National Health Service and social care sector. Information on the overall numbers deployed is being collected by Health Education England and will be made available from early May 2020.

We have guaranteed that all nursing, midwifery and allied health students who do opt in to paid clinical placements to support the COVID-19 response will be rewarded fairly for their hard work. Students who opt in will be getting a salary and automatic NHS pension entitlement at the appropriate band. They will also still receive their student maintenance loan and Learning Support Fund payments too.

Universities will also continue to provide pastoral support to students throughout this time too.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much financial, or in-kind, assistance they have provided to care homes and home care providers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic; and how much of that assistance was given to for-profit care homes and home care providers.

We have set out a comprehensive action plan to support the adult social care sector in England throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, including ramping up testing, overhauling the way personal protective equipment is being delivered to care homes and helping to minimise the spread of the virus to keep people safe.

On 19 March we announced £1.6 billion to help local authorities deal with the immediate impacts of COVID-19, which many councils will have directed towards adult social care services. On 18 April we announced an additional £1.6 billion of funding to support councils delivering essential frontline services. We do not collect centrally the breakdown of local authority support for different types of care providers.

This funding is part of the Government’s commitment to ensure the National Health Service and social care system, and other public services, have the resources required to tackle COVID-19. The Government will continue to monitor pressures in the NHS and local government and will keep future funding under review.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) surgical gowns, (2) N95 masks, and (3) surgical masks, are currently being held in central stocks in the UK; how many of each have (a) been distributed from central stocks in the UK in the last seven days, and (b) are expected to arrive in the next seven days; how they will be distributed (i) among the nations of the UK, and (ii) between the NHS and social care providers; and whether they intend to publish regular updates of these figures. [T]

From 25 February to 23 April we have delivered over 950 million items of personal protective equipment (PPE) across the health and social care system within England. This includes 140 million masks, 150 million aprons, 1.5 million gowns and 518 million gloves. Tens of millions more items of PPE will have been distributed by the devolved administrations. Additionally, in the week commencing 20 April, we released 29 million items of PPE to designated wholesalers for onward sale to social care providers.

We are working closely with the devolved administrations to co-ordinate the distribution of PPE across the United Kingdom.

9th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the COVID-19 outbreak, what plans they have to relax the rules on the length of time between when a member of NHS staff retires and when they can join a temporary staff bank.

NHS England is working with its professional leads, the respective regulators, NHS Employers and the Department to determine how best to engage with retirees / leavers who are willing to return to work for a period of time to provide the extra capacity needed to meet the demands of COVID-19.

NHS England has been developing with stakeholders a clear and straightforward re-registration process and simplified employment checks. NHS England will identify what training is required to support returners and will develop guidance to help employers to engage with these staff and provide advice and support to all staff over this period.

27th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure effective collaboration between the four UK public health authorities and their EU counterparts once the transition period ends.

The United Kingdom is open to exploring cooperation between the UK and the European Union on matters of health security, as well as on commitments on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) prevention, in future relationship negotiations with the EU. The Government is committed to establishing a future relationship that benefits the whole of the UK. There are strong existing relationships between the UK's four public health agencies and their counterparts in EU Member States and we work closely with them to protect our citizens from cross-border threats to health, such as the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The UK remains committed to working with countries and partners from across the world, both bilaterally and in multilateral fora, such as the World Health Organization, G7 and the Global Health Security Initiative and we will continue to uphold all of our commitments under the International Health Regulations.

27th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Brexit has resulted in any changes in the UK’s participation in, and access to, the European Medicines Agency; if so, what assessment they have made of the impact this will have on the UK’s ability to respond to coronavirus; and what steps they intend to take as a result.

As of 1 January 2020, we are in the transition period during which the United Kingdom will continue to follow European legislation and European Medicines Agency (EMA) processes and decisions until 31 December 2020. We continue to receive public safety information from the EMA and have firm links with the World Health Organization and other key international public health organisations working on this issue. The Government has set out its negotiation approach with the European Union, which includes commitments for cooperation and information sharing to enable regulators to act promptly to safeguard patient safety and public health.

The UK is a world leader in preparing for and managing public health incidents and on 3 March the Government published its action plan to tackle the spread of coronavirus. A copy of Coronavirus: action plan. A guide to what you can expect across the UK is attached.

23rd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many student midwives started their training in (1) the current academic year, and (2) each of the three preceding academic years.

Since the changes to the bursary system in 2017 midwifery places are no longer directly commissioned. The Department makes funding available for clinical placements, with places filled via the normal university application process. The Government has committed to expand midwifery training places by 3,650 over a four year period with an increase of 650 in September 2019 and 1,000 in each of the subsequent years.

Data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) in the following table shows acceptances to midwifery courses increased by 425 in the academic year 2019-20. The table also shows the number of acceptances in each of the three preceding academic years.

Academic year

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

Number of acceptances

2,395

2,600

2,680

3,105

Source: UCAS end of cycle data, 2019

23rd Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the 3,000 additional training places announced in May 2018 for midwifery students have (1) been filled in the current academic year, and (2) been commissioned for each of the next three academic years.

Since the changes to the bursary system in 2017 midwifery places are no longer directly commissioned. The Department makes funding available for clinical placements, with places filled via the normal university application process. The Government has committed to expand midwifery training places by 3,650 over a four year period with an increase of 650 in September 2019 and 1,000 in each of the subsequent years.

Data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) in the following table shows acceptances to midwifery courses increased by 425 in the academic year 2019-20. The table also shows the number of acceptances in each of the three preceding academic years.

Academic year

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

2019-20

Number of acceptances

2,395

2,600

2,680

3,105

Source: UCAS end of cycle data, 2019

19th Dec 2019
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the announcement that nursing bursaries are to be reintroduced, what plans they have to support nurses, midwifes and other healthcare professionals with any debt incurred before the reintroduction to support their study and training.

We have committed to 50,000 more nurses in the National Health Service by 2025 and our new financial support package is crucial to delivering this.

Eligible pre-registration students on nursing, midwifery and many allied health students’ courses at English universities from September 2020 will benefit from additional support of at least £5,000 of non-repayable funding, with up to £3,000 additional funding for some students, who choose to study in regions or specialisms struggling to recruit, or to help with childcare costs, which they will not have to pay back.

The Government has no plans to introduce a scheme that will backdate the offer for students who completed courses in earlier years.

27th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 25 October (HL2994), whether the referred to “project on unarmed approaches” is the only such project that has received funding; how much funding this project received; where this project took place; and, if other such projects exist, (1) how much funding they have received, and (2) where they have taken place.

Unarmed approaches to the Protection of Civilians (POC) form an integral part of UN peacekeeping policy and practice on POC. The UK has provided £250,000 in FY 2021/22 to the UN Department of Peace Operations in support of this methodology which should apply to all peacekeeping missions with a POC mandate: MINUSMA (Mali), MONUSCO (Democratic Republic of Congo), MINUSCA, (Central African Republic), UNMISS (South Sudan) and UNIFIL (Lebanon). We do not fund other projects on unarmed approaches in UN peacekeeping missions.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much funding they are putting into (1) international, and (2) national, unarmed civilian protection; and which projects that have been funded are directed at, or include elements of, such work.

Protecting civilians is at the core of the FCDO's work to prevent, manage and resolve conflicts around the world. This involves working bilaterally and multilaterally not only on resolution of conflict itself, but also to ensure that parties involved respect their obligations under international law, and to condemn violations of those obligations.The highest civilian protection needs are in contexts of armed conflict, therefore the UK is proud to have committed approximately £600 million this financial year for bilateral humanitarian protection and assistance in fragile and conflict affected states. In addition, the UK funds the work of multilateral organisations and agencies with a protection focus. For example, in the last financial year, we have provided £63 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to protect and assist the victims of conflict and promote compliance with International Humanitarian Law and £35 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In addition to our mandatory peacekeeping and UN regular budget contributions, we provided £250,000 this financial year to improve protection of civilians in peacekeeping, including a project on unarmed approaches. We will continue to use our role in the UN Security Council and other international fora to champion civilian protection, including humanitarian principles, International Humanitarian Law, International Human Rights Law and refugee law.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of their activities in Mali on the rights of women and girls; and what discussions they have had with organisations supporting women and girls rights in Mali about this subject.

The UK is committed to supporting women and girls in Mali. We are providing funding for women-led peacebuilding in Northern Mali, working with women delegates to Mali's Peace Agreement Monitoring Committee. In the most recent renewal of MINUSMA's mandate, we secured strong benchmarks on the meaningful participation of women in the peace process and wider political processes. We are also providing programmatic support to allow crisis-affected children (at least 50% girls) in Mali to continue their education, and have invested to support women's sexual and reproductive health. The UK Embassy in Mali is in regular contact with civil society groups that support women's and girls' rights, including in the lead up to a joint UK-France co-hosted event at the UN in May this year. This event provided a platform for women delegates of Mali's Peace Agreement Monitoring Committee and local women's rights organisation, to share their experiences and understanding of the challenges and opportunities of increasing women's meaningful participation in stabilisation, mediation and conflict resolution processes.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with international partners about sanctions against the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise.

The UK has been at the forefront of the international response to the coup, including through targeted sanctions on the military's economic interests. On 29 April, the UK laid new sanctions regulations, Myanmar (Sanctions) Regulations 2021, to allow us to better target the military and its interests. Since the start of the coup we have sanctioned nine individuals and six entities for their involvement in serious human rights violations and support to the junta.

We cannot speculate on future designations, however, we are working with partners to identify a range of further targets. The UK is committed to targeted sanctions which directly impact the military without harming the wider population. This will be a key consideration in any future designations.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reduction in Official Development Assistance spending, whether they will restore to its previous level the contribution to the Global Challenges Research Fund for international environmental projects in the next financial year.

The economic impact of the Covid pandemic has forced the UK Government to take tough, but necessary, decisions to move to a target of spending 0.5 per cent of GNI on ODA in 2021, as a temporary measure.

Despite the reductions, the UK remains a development superpower, with an ODA budget on track to exceed £10 billion this year. FCDO ODA will be targeted to addressing seven global challenges facing the world's poorest which both includes climate change and biodiversity, and science, research and technology. FCDO will make £251 million of science, research and technology investments across all seven themes of the Foreign Secretary's strategic objectives, including climate change and biodiversity.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by UNICEF's Executive Director at the meeting marking the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the International Code of Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes on 21 May, what steps they plan to take (1) with international partners, and (2) through the direction of Overseas Development Assistance, (a) to end the marketing of such substitutes to new parents, and (b) to promote breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding plays an important role in boosting children's immune systems, and protecting them from malnutrition and disease. This is of particular importance in developing countries, where safe use of infant formula is often not possible. As part of the government's commitment to ending the preventable deaths of mothers, newborns, and children, the FCDO will continue to ensure that Overseas Development Assistance contributes to improved breastfeeding and safe infant feeding through our health and humanitarian programmes. This includes working with UNICEF to ensure breastfeeding promotion and support is provided in countries with high levels of child wasting.

In addition, we are supporting the Access to Nutrition Initiative in holding manufacturers of breast milk substitutes to account for their marketing practices, encouraging companies to fully comply with the Code. We have also worked with the Government of Japan, civil society, and other donors to define Principles of Engagement for the 2021 Nutrition for Growth Summit. These will prohibit the involvement of companies that violate the code at the December Summit.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by UNICEF's Executive Director at the meeting marking the 40th anniversary of the adoption of the International Code of Marketing Breastmilk Substitutes on 21 May, what steps they are taking (1) to end the marketing of such substitutes to new parents, and (2) to promote breastfeeding.

FCDO recognises the importance of the International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes for protecting and promoting breastfeeding. Breastfeeding plays an important role in boosting children's immune systems and protecting them from malnutrition and disease. This is of particular importance in developing countries where safe use of infant formula is a challenge.

We have supported the Access to Nutrition Initiative for several years as part of our work to support safe infant feeding. This initiative holds manufacturers of breast milk substitutes to account for their marketing practices, with the objective encouraging companies to fully comply with the Code. We also support breastfeeding promotion through our health programmes. For example, in northern Nigeria and in Bangladesh we supported health workers to work with groups of mothers and fathers to discuss and solve barriers to breastfeeding to reduce illness, malnutrition and to avert preventable deaths.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
21st Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their Gulf Strategy Fund Programme summary, published on 30 March, what human rights (1) due diligence, and (2) safeguarding, procedures are applied to Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF) projects; what are the objectives of GSF funded projects in Bahrain aimed at (a) building the capacity of oversight bodies, (b) police reform, and (c) developing counter-terrorism capabilities; which organisations receive funding through the GSF; and how much has so far been (i) spent by, and (ii) allocated to, the GSF in the 2021/22 financial year.

The Gulf Strategy Fund allocation for 2021/22 is £10m. Individual country allocations are under consideration. Projects will be delivered through Government Departments and Agencies, commercial contracts and staff recruited on local contracts.

Due diligence around human rights considerations is considered through the use of Overseas Security and Justice Assistance (OSJA) assessments.

The objectives of the Bahrain projects are a) to support local oversight bodies to develop a complaints management system to ensure greater police accountability and enhance public confidence in Bahrain's transparency procedures, b) to contribute towards the Bahraini-led reform programme which includes promoting evidence-based police investigations in line with best international standards and c) to help develop Bahrain's thinking and capability around the prevention of extremist violence.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that officials in Germany have declined to recognise the status of British National (Overseas) passport holders; and what steps they intend to take to ensure the status of the passport is recognised by (1) the authorities in Germany, and (2) the authorities in other countries.

We are aware that the Hong Kong SAR Government recently wrote to several foreign Consulates urging them not to accept BN(O) passports for visa applications. The Hong Kong Government has no authority to dictate which passports foreign governments recognise as valid. We will continue to issue BN(O) passports, which remain valid travel documents. We are in contact with relevant Government authorities, including the German authorities, on this issue.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to (1) maintain, or (2) increase the level of funding in 2021/2022 for (a) parliamentary strengthening, and (b) promoting pluralism in Africa; and what plans they have to (i) maintain, or (ii) increase this funding through the Westminster Foundation for Democracy in 2021/2022.

As outlined in the recently-published Integrated Review, the UK will support strong, transparent and accountable political processes and institutions overseas. The Government will continue to use its development budget to champion and strengthen democratic institutions, human rights, free media and effective governance. Supporting open societies is a priority in Africa, the way we act to promote democracy and defend democratic freedoms in each country is dependent on the context and needs of the country concerned. The Westminster Foundation for Democracy is an important partner in delivering this work in many African contexts.

The impact of the global pandemic on the UK economy has forced us to take the tough but necessary decision to temporarily reduce how much we spend on Official Development Assistance (ODA). We will temporarily move to a target of spending 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) on ODA, rather than 0.7 per cent. This is a temporary measure and we will return to 0.7 per cent when the fiscal situation allows. We are now working through the implications of these changes for individual programmes. No decisions have yet been made on individual budget allocations.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much of the UK Official Development Assistance spend is directed towards agriculture; and what percentage of that spend is directed towards (1) agroecological approaches, and (2) small farms; and whether they benchmark those figures against the level of such provision from other countries.

The UK Government is committed to supporting the agricultural sector in developing countries. In 2018 the UK Government spent £322 million in Official Development Assistance on agriculture projects and provided significant additional funding for agriculture through its core funding of multilateral institutions working in the sector. This makes us a middle-ranking donor in the sector.

Whilst the UK Government does not break down expenditure on agroecological approaches or small farms, we are supporting a wide range of programmes in both these areas. For example, we have been supporting smallholder farmers and their agriculture systems in 47 countries through our bilateral agriculture programmes as well as the multilateral flagships Adaptation for Smallholder Agriculture Programme and Global Agriculture and Food Security Programme.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
15th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 24 November (HL10267), what plans they have to establish an inquiry to address the legacies of African enslavement, in particular (1) Afriphobia, (2) colonisation, (3) neocolonialism, and (4) environmental and ecological destruction; and what steps they will take to ensure that the victims of those legacies and their descendants are consulted as part of any such inquiry.

The Government has no plans to establish such an enquiry.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with HSBC Bank about the freezing of the bank accounts of pro-democracy campaigners from Hong Kong; what assessment they have made of the implications of such practices for the continued eligibility of HSBC to have a headquarters in London; and what specific plans they have to prevent financial institutions from subverting democracy.

We are in close contact with a wide range of businesses in Hong Kong, but it is for businesses themselves to make their own judgement calls. We are concerned that a number of recent decisions by the authorities in Hong Kong are further evidence of a determined campaign to stifle opposition and silence dissent. As a signatory to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, China must abide by the legally binding commitments it made to uphold fundamental rights and freedoms, and respect Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy for at least 50 years from 1997. The UK will continue to pursue an approach in Hong Kong that is rooted in our values, defends the rights of the people of Hong Kong and respects the provisions of the Joint Declaration.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Prime Minister raised (1) human rights issues in Saudi Arabia, including (a) the continued potential use of the death penalty for those who allegedly committed crimes as minors, and (b) the continued detention of women activists arrested in 2018 for campaigning for the right to drive, and (2) the case for ensuring unimpeded access for human rights groups to Yemen, in his discussions with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia on 24 November.

Our close relationship with Saudi Arabia allows us to raise our concerns about human rights, including on political detainees and use of the death penalty, in private and in public. The Prime Minister addressed the issue of women's rights and further developments needed in that area in his recent discussions with the Crown Prince.

The UK strongly opposes the death penalty in all countries and in all circumstances, as a matter of principle. This is especially the case for juveniles and for crimes other than the most serious. The Minister for the Middle East and North Africa raised the death penalty with Dr Awwad al Awwad, President of Saudi Arabia's Human Rights Commission, during his virtual visit in July. I raised the death penalty in a call with Dr Awwad in June.

We have consistently raised concerns over the continued detention of women's rights defenders at senior levels with the Saudi authorities. The UK signed a statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 15 September, calling for the release of women's rights defenders. I raised women's rights defenders during my call with Dr Awwad in June. The Minister for the Middle East most recently raised the women's rights defenders' cases with the Saudi Ambassador to the UK on 16 November.

We remain deeply concerned about the human rights situation in Yemen, which is a human rights priority country for the UK. We call on all parties to facilitate unhindered access for humanitarian actors and agencies and ensure that humanitarian workers are able to conduct their work safely and without harm.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the report by the World Benchmarking Alliance 2020 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark, published on 16 November; and what steps they plan to take, if any, to address the findings of that report.

The UK Government welcomes the fourth iteration of Corporate Human Rights Benchmark report. It is disappointing to see that only a minority of companies demonstrate a willingness to take human rights seriously and go beyond creating policies and commitments, to taking practical steps in addressing human rights violations.

The UK Government is already taking action to advance this agenda, ensuring that companies comply with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The UK Government has also been a founding supporter of the World Benchmarking Alliance and continues to support their work.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they plan to comply with the United Nations Framework on Reparations; and what plans they have to establish an inquiry into reparatory justice.

We are not aware of a "United Nations Framework on Reparations", and can find no reference to such a framework in the UN's document database. There is a framework called: "Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law". As implied by its title, this addresses reparation for individuals for gross or serious violations of human rights law or international humanitarian law. These bodies of law are not retroactive. If a UK citizen's rights are violated, they have recourse to remedy and reparation through the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA), which gives further effect to the European Convention on Human Rights. In particular, section 8 HRA states that "In relation to any act (or proposed act) of a public authority which the court finds is unlawful, may grant such relief or remedy, or make such order within its powers as it considers just and appropriate". There are no plans to establish an inquiry into section 8 HRA.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the United Arab Emirates about the release of 18 Yemenis and one Russian, who are currently detained and at risk of forced repatriation.

The UK remains committed to the promotion of universal freedoms and human rights. The UK regularly raises human rights concerns with the UAE at senior levels and continues to encourage the UAE to uphold international human rights obligations.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of children in each EU and EEA country who are UK citizens; which Government department or body has responsibility for looking after the interests of such children; what plans they have to provide special consular, or other, support services to those children after 31 December; and what steps they are taking to ensure that such children can exercise their rights under the EU–UK Withdrawal Agreement.

The Withdrawal Agreement ensures that UK nationals living in the EU can stay in their host country and continue living broadly as they do now. This includes children of UK nationals. It is not possible to track precisely the number of UK nationals in the EU, nor the number of children. However, the latest analysis from the Office of National Statistics from April 2018 estimated that 59,600 were aged under 15 years.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is responsible for policy relating to the rights of UK nationals living in the EU. Member States also have an obligation to ensure that UK nationals in scope of the Withdrawal Agreement living in their country are protected. When providing Consular assistance, the safety and welfare of children is paramount. It is the primary concern of FCDO when providing consular assistance to young people. The FCDO will provide assistance to vulnerable UK nationals in the EU, including children, after 31 December, in line with FCDO consular policy. We consider that someone is vulnerable when they cannot protect themselves from significant physical or emotional harm, or be protected by others.

The Government is supporting UK nationals, including families with children, to exercise their rights under the Withdrawal Agreement. This includes support through the UK National Support Fund (UKNSF), which has allocated £3 million to external organisations to provide practical support to UK nationals who may have difficulty completing their residency applications.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
18th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to include those involved in corruption in their global human rights sanctions regime.

On 6 July the UK Government established the Global Human Rights ('Magnitsky') sanctions regime by laying regulations in Parliament under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018. This sanctions regime enables the UK to hold to account those involved in serious human rights violations or abuses.

As the Foreign Secretary announced to the House, work is underway to consider how a corruption regime could be added to our armoury. Sanctions are powerful tools, capable of having a significant impact, and complex to design. We are taking the time to ensure we get them right.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to publish their six-monthly report on Hong Kong, covering January to June 2020.

We intend to publish the next Six-Monthly report on Hong Kong covering the period from January-June 2020 during the autumn, in line with usual practice.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following the introduction of new security laws in Hong Kong, what assessment they have made of whether British judges should continue to sit on Hong Kong’s courts.

The UK judiciary is independent of the UK Government. Lord Reed, the President of the UK Supreme Court said in a statement on 17 July, that continued service of UK judges needed to be compatible with judicial independence and the rule of law. The Supreme Court will continue to assess the position in Hong Kong as it develops.

20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what information they hold on the (1) recent, (2) current, and (3) planned future, service of British judges in Hong Kong’s courts.

The UK judiciary is independent of the UK Government. Lord Reed, the President of the UK Supreme Court said in a statement on 17 July, that continued service of UK judges needed to be compatible with judicial independence and the rule of law The Supreme Court will continue to assess the position in Hong Kong as it develops.

16th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that fossil fuel subsidies are discussed at the G20 ministerial and leaders’ summits, to be hosted by Saudi Arabia.

HMG supports the G20's commitment on phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies and encourages countries with such subsidies to end them. We are in touch with our G20 partners and the Presidency about the topics to be discussed at forthcoming G20 meetings.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the Hong Kong protests issued on 18 April, what plans they have to meet with China’s Ambassador to the UK; whether the UK Ambassador to China will meet with officials in Beijing; and what further steps they are taking in response to those protests as a signatory to the Sino-British Joint Declaration 1984.

We are concerned about the arrests of a number of political figures in Hong Kong, and are following these cases closely. We expect any arrests and judicial processes to be conducted in a fair and transparent manner.

The right to peaceful protest is fundamental to Hong Kong's way of life and as such is protected in both the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law. It is essential that any protests are conducted peacefully, and that the authorities avoid actions that inflame tensions. The authorities should focus on rebuilding trust through a process of meaningful political dialogue.

The UK remains committed to upholding the rights and freedoms underpinned by the Joint Declaration, the Basic Law and enshrined in Hong Kong's Bill of Rights, and we expect the Chinese authorities to respect and preserve Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy. We have made this position clear to the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing and the Chinese Embassy in London, and will continue to do so, publicly and privately.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
12th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reports of the financial trading of oil and gas companies being routed through tax havens, what assessment they have made of the loss of tax revenue.

HMRC estimate that the tax gap across Large Businesses – which is the difference between the amount of tax that should, in theory, be paid to HMRC, and what is actually paid by the UK’s largest businesses across all sectors – has continued to fall over the last five years and was under 1% for 2018-19 (reported by the NAO in ‘Tackling the Tax Gap’ in July 2020).

The UK has led international efforts to tackle avoidance by all multinationals through the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (“BEPS”) Project which looks at aggressive tax planning strategies that exploit tax rules to artificially shift profits to low tax jurisdictions where there is little or no economic activity.

This international collaboration has led to the introduction of:

  • Hybrid mismatch rules that prevent multinationals exploiting differences in the tax systems of different countries;
  • a requirement for UK-headed large businesses to provide HMRC with a country-by-country report, detailing their global profits, tax and assets to ensure they are paying the correct tax on all their UK activity; and
  • a Corporate Interest Restriction that protects against companies using intra-group loans to shift profits overseas.

The introduction of robust UK domestic rules has reinforced these multilateral efforts.

In April 2015, the UK government introduced the Diverted Profits Tax (‘DPT’). DPT was designed to counter contrived arrangements used by multinational corporations to shift their profits offshore and avoid paying tax in the UK on their economic activities here. The UK secured £6 billion in the five years following its introduction.

In January 2019, HMRC launched a new Profit Diversion Compliance Facility (‘PDCF’) to encourage businesses to stop diverting profits and pay what is due. About two-thirds of the large businesses targeted so far have decided to use the facility to bring their tax affairs up to date quickly and efficiently, enabling HMRC to focus even more resources on investigating businesses which continue to divert profits.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
7th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that bank customers can check continuous payment authorisations with ease to help prevent (1) fraud, and (2) unwanted payment.

A Continuous Payment Authority, or CPA, is defined as consent given by a customer for a payment service provider (for example, a customer’s bank) to make one or more payments from a customer’s payment account. They are often established to enable regular payments to be made for goods or services via a payment card - for example, for a magazine subscription - and are distinct from Direct Debits.

The Payment Services Regulations regulate how CPAs are established, and the rights and obligations of payers, payees and payment service providers. In its published guidance on the regulations, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) states that consumers have the right to cancel CPAs by contacting their payment service provider at any time before the end of the business day before a payment is due to be made, and to obtain an immediate refund from their payment service provider if any future payments are debited from their account after they have revoked their consent. The customer may raise a complaint with their payment service provider if unhappy with their response. If this does not rectify the issue, the customer is able to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Furthermore, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is considering what further action to take on subscription contracts to: prevent consumers being charged unexpectedly; to make it easier for consumers to cancel unwanted subscriptions (including free trials and auto-renewals); and to avoid them facing unreasonable charges.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
10th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the impact of (1) removing, and (2) reducing the rate to 0 per cent for, VAT on domestic (a) renewable energy installations, and (b) energy efficiency measures, for 10 years on increasing the uptake of microgeneration in domestic properties.

The installation of many energy saving materials, including solar panels and micro combined heat and power units, is already subject to the reduced rate of VAT when certain conditions are met.

There are no current plans to extend the scope of the relief already in place. However, the Government keeps all taxes under review.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
28th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have collected data on the number of businesses prepared for the ending of access to the VAT MOSS system on 31 December; and what plans they have to seek an extension of access to VAT MOSS for UK businesses.

VAT MOSS is an EU simplification. The UK will lose access to this at the end of the transition period and will not be seeking an extension. There are approximately 2,000 UK businesses registered on the VAT MOSS system in the UK. Businesses can continue to use the VAT MOSS system if they register in an EU Member State after the transition period. HMRC have published guidance on this and will also be contacting all businesses registered on the VAT MOSS system in the UK to explain the options available to them.[1]

[1] The guidance can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/pay-vat-when-you-sell-digital-services-to-eu-consumers-from-1-january-2021

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
20th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for removing VAT from domestic microgeneration renewable products and installations to help consumers to adopt domestic renewable energy sources.

Under current VAT rules, the installation of water and wind turbines is subject to the standard rate of VAT. However, the installation of other energy saving materials that generate domestic energy, such as solar panels and micro combined heat and power units, are subject to the reduced rate of VAT when certain conditions are met.

Although there are no current plans to extend the scope of the relief already in place, the Government keeps all taxes under review.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
10th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that online retail businesses pay corporate taxation (1) at similar levels to high street retailers, and (2) which is relative to profits.

Corporation tax is charged on profits that businesses generate from the activities they undertake in the UK.

Significant measures have been put in place to counter arrangements designed to shift profits derived from UK activities overseas.

Furthermore, the UK is actively involved in continuing OECD discussions which aim to deliver a fairer and more sustainable approach to the taxation of highly digital businesses.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
27th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to encourage and support firms in reducing working hours in an equitable manner while avoiding redundancies, on a model similar to the German Kurzarbeit scheme.

The Government is committed to ensuring that people are able to return to work in a manner that is sustainable and adjustable to the reopening of the economy.

The Government therefore introduced flexible furloughing from 1 July. Firms can now bring back employees that have been furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grants for the hours not worked, with no minimum furlough period.

It is right that state support is slowly reduced and the focus shifts to getting furloughed employees back to work. As such, from August 2020, the level of the grant will be slowly tapered to reflect that people will be returning to work. Employees will continue to receive 80% of wages up to a cap of £2,500 when furloughed.

While other countries have announced similar schemes, the UK response remains among the most comprehensive.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
21st Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide income and other support for individuals forced to self-isolate or find a safe place to remain during a geographically-defined or workplace-related COVID-19 lockdown.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) has been extended to those told to self-isolate due to whole household quarantine, or due to the Test and Trace programme. The Government has taken additional measures to make SSP payable from day 1, not day 4 for these cases. SSP should only be paid to those unable to work, and those able to work from home should receive their normal wage. These changes apply in areas under local lockdown.

In addition to the changes to SSP, those living in areas of local lockdown can benefit from the unprecedented set of measures introduced by the Chancellor to help individuals affected by COVID-19. This includes the introduction of the Coronavirus Job Retention and Self-Employment Income Support Schemes, as well as the injection of an additional £9.3bn into the welfare system according to OBR estimates.

On accommodation, the Government recognises the challenges faced by many who are sleeping rough and it is committed to helping them. So far, over 90 per cent of those on the streets at the beginning of the crisis and known to local authorities have been offered safe accommodation.

The Government has provided £221m of additional funding for rough sleepers during the crisis, including £3.2m specifically to help those who need to self-isolate. This brings total support for rough sleepers in 2020/21 to over half a billion pounds. All local authorities in England will be able to benefit from these measures, including those under local lockdown.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
14th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of COVID-19 on the provision of cash machines; and what plans they have to ensure the availability of cash in vulnerable and remote communities in the future.

The Government recognises that widespread access to cash is extremely important to the daily lives of millions of people across the UK. The Government is engaging with the financial regulators, including through the Joint Authorities Cash Strategy Group, to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on the UK’s cash infrastructure and remains committed to protecting access to cash for those who need it, while supporting digital payments.

At the March 2020 Budget, the Chancellor announced that the Government will bring forward legislation to protect access to cash. This will ensure that those who continue to rely on cash can continue to do so in the long-term.

The Financial Conduct Authority and Payment Systems Regulator are developing a comprehensive picture of cash access infrastructure across the UK in relation to social economic factors that reflect consumer needs, building upon their mapping work carried out during the COVID-19 crisis.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they plan to take to ensure that commercial loans are covered in COVID-19-related debt-relief schemes for the 75 lowest-income nations.

Her Majesty’s Government is deeply concerned about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on low-income developing countries. It is vital that all creditors work together to ensure that countries especially vulnerable to the pandemic are able to protect their citizens and economies.

The Chancellor and his G20 counterparts called on commercial creditors to participate in the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, which suspends payments due from the 77 poorest countries, on comparable terms to the official sector.

Her Majesty’s Government is working closely with the Paris Club of official creditors and Institute of International Finance (IIF) to facilitate private sector participation. On 28 May, the IIF published a Terms of Reference to guide its members’ responses to DSSI-eligible requests for commercial forbearance.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
2nd Mar 2020
To ask the Leader of the House what steps she is taking to ensure that parliamentary business can continue in the event of movement restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Government has undertaken detailed work on COVID-19 with four strands: contain, delay, research and mitigate. Should there be a need to implement restrictions on movement then the Government, in consultation with the Usual Channels, will update the House on the next steps in relation to parliamentary business if there is a need to do so. While COVID-19 has the potential to spread extensively there is no reason to change parliamentary business at this stage. The Government is monitoring the situation closely and providing regular updates to parliament and the general public.

Baroness Evans of Bowes Park
Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal
18th Aug 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people whose applications to stay in the UK had been refused were returned to Afghanistan in the past five years.

The Home Office publishes data on the number of returns from the UK in each quarter in the ‘Immigration Statistics Quarterly release’. The latest data are published in Ret_D02 of the Returns detailed tables. (See attached for information) This includes information on the number of people returned to each country. Information on how to use the dataset can be found in the ‘Notes’ page of the workbook. The latest data relate to the year ending December 2020. Data to the end of March 2021 is due to be published on 26 August.

The table below covers the period of Quarter 1 - 2017 to Quarter 1 2021 over the last five years.

2017 Q1

2017 Q2

2017 Q3

2017 Q4

2018 Q1

2018 Q2

2018 Q3

2018 Q4

2019 Q1

2019 Q2

2019 Q3

2019 Q4

2020 Q1

2020 Q2

2020 Q3

2020 Q4

2021 Q1

Grand Total

13905

11912

13005

12418

11656

10456

11036

11445

10439

9237

9004

9529

7207

1495

4479

5075

4565


The Home Office seeks to return people who do not have any legal right to stay in the UK, which includes people who:

  • enter, or attempt to enter, the UK illegally (including people entering clandestinely and by means of deception on entry);
  • overstay their period of legal right to remain in the UK;
  • breach their conditions of leave;
  • are subject to deportation action; for example, due to a serious criminal conviction and
  • have been refused asylum.

The published data relate to all returns, regardless of reason for return.

Information on future Home Office statistical release dates can be found in the ‘Research and statistics calendar’

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
18th Aug 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to follow the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner's advice to stop all returns of individuals to Afghanistan after immigration proceedings.

Enforced returns to Afghanistan have been paused.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
22nd Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they sought legal advice in respect of the Zimbabwean nationals due to be deported on 21 July in relation to (1) non-refoulement, and (2) the risk posed to individuals being deported from the UK to Zimbabwe by the Emergency Travel Document process; and if so, what steps they took as a result.

FNOs selected for deportation have either been convicted of an offence that has caused serious harm, are a persistent offender, or represent a threat to national security.

Deportation of foreign criminals is subject to several exceptions, including where doing so would be a breach of a person’s European Convention on Human Rights or the UK’s obligations under the Refugee Convention. All those that were deported on the flight were provided with the opportunity to raise claims, including asylum and human rights claims, prior to their deportation and were given a minimum of 5 working days’ notice of their removal directions, in accordance with published policy.

Re-documentation interviews with officials from countries of return are a standard part of Home Office process where an interview is required by the receiving country to enable the confirmation of nationality and identity, in order for a travel document to be produced.

All of those that were returned were free of any legal barriers. Our priority will always be to keep our communities safe, and since January 2019 we have returned 7,985 foreign criminals from the UK.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
15th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to provide funding to agencies and local authorities to support EU citizens facing problems accessing their rights and entitlements in the UK, including issues with the EU Settlement Scheme, given that the Independent Monitoring Authority for the Citizens’ Rights Agreements does not deal with individual cases.

The Home Office remains committed to ensuring those who are eligible can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), including those who are vulnerable, need extra support or are harder to reach.

£22 million of funding, through to 30 September 2021, has been awarded to a network of 72 charities and local authorities across the UK, to ensure important information and assistance gets through to those who are hardest to reach, and no one is left behind. This support has continued beyond the 30 June 2021 deadline to ensure continuing support for vulnerable citizens applying late


Guidance on how to apply and details of the support available to applicants is available through the EU Settlement Resolution Centre (SRC), which is open seven days a week to provide assistance over the telephone and by email, and the SRC also provides a direct line for organisations, charities, social workers, and local authorities working with vulnerable groups.

We are working closely with the Grant-funded Network (GFN) and other key stakeholders, collating feedback, to help establish the needs and scale of support beyond September 2021.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
18th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government why dual country nationals are required to send their original foreign passport to the Home Office when applying to renew their UK passport; and what consideration they have given to allowing those individuals to instead supply a certified copy.

Where a dual national holds a passport issued by another country, HM Passport Office requires this to be provided in support of a British passport application as part of its range of checks to confirm the applicant’s identity and eligibility. This includes ensuring the British passport is issued in the same identity the holder uses for all official purposes.

We ask customers to send their original document to allow physical checks ensure it is genuine, and we can return it during the application process if requested. In countries where legal restrictions prevent a customer submitting their passport as part of their application, a ‘local service’ is in place to submit the application so officials can check the original document and send a copy to HM Passport Office in the UK.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
23rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the whether current statutory safeguarding provisions adequately (1) assist young victims of intimate partner violence, and (2) deal with perpetrators of intimate partner violence.

(i) Young Victims

We recently published an updated version of ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children 2018’. The guidance specifically references teenage relationship abuse as part of the statutory definition of domestic abuse. It also outlines the ‘assessment of risk outside the home’ which ensures that practitioners are alert to the risk of abuse for young people within their own intimate relationships.

Further to this, the draft guidance that will accompany the Domestic Abuse bill covers abuse in teenage relationships. The guidance has been seen in draft by a wide range of sector representatives, who have provided feedback. The guidance is being finalised ahead of a formal consultation period in the spring.

(ii) Perpetrators

The Criminal Justice Act 2003 (“CJA 2003”) provides for the establishment of Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (“MAPPA”) in each of the 42 criminal justice areas in England and Wales. These are designed to protect the public, including previous victims of crime, from serious harm by sexual and violent offenders. They require the local criminal justice agencies and other bodies dealing with offenders to work together in partnership in dealing with these offenders.

MAPPA guidance states that under the Children Act 2004, the Responsible Authority and DTC agencies have a statutory duty to make arrangements for ensuring that ‘their functions are discharged having regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children’ and that ‘children should not be treated by MAPPA as ‘mini-adults’’.

The draft Domestic Abuse Statutory Guidance which is due to be published following royal assent of the Bill also includes young people who perpetrate abuse.

Young people perpetrating abuse in their relationships must be supported in an appropriate way that places emphasis on tackling the drivers of their behaviour. Court and responding agencies must take into account youth justice guidelines when responding to cases of teenage relationship abuse, avoid unnecessarily criminalising young people, and identify appropriate interventions to address behaviours that might constitute or lead to abuse. Relevant youth justice guidelines include:

  • Case management guidance for Youth Offending Teams
  • Standards for children in the Youth Justice System
  • Crown Prosecution Service guidance on youth offenders
  • Sentencing Council guidelines on sentencing children and young people
Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) EU, and (2) EEA, citizens with settled status have been denied citizenship because they did not have Comprehensive Sickness Insurance during their qualifying period of residence.

We are not aware of any applications for British Citizenship being refused purely based on the requirement for Comprehensive Sickness Insurance under EEA Regulations.

Holding Comprehensive Sickness Insurance is not a mandatory requirement for the award of British citizenship or for being awarded Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
30th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to provide pre-settled status for EU citizens who can demonstrate their intention to settle in the UK before 31 December but were prevented from doing so by restrictions imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including (1) those who are currently resident in Australia and New Zealand, and (2) those who can demonstrate a previous tie with the UK including (a) a National Insurance number, and (b) an earlier period of residence.

The end of the transition period at 11 pm on 31 December 2020 remains the point by which EU citizens need to have been resident in the UK to be eligible for pre- settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). There are no plans to extend this deadline for those who wished to travel to the UK for the first time in order to apply to the EUSS, but did not do so.

EU citizens and their family members who were resident in the UK before 31 December and are outside the UK on that date are eligible to apply to the EUSS, including from overseas, by the deadline of 30 June 2021.

Published guidance for EUSS applicants on the impact of COVID-19 is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-eu-settlement-scheme-guidance-for-applicants

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the new Immigration Rules applying from 1 January 2021, including those which make rough sleeping grounds for refusing and cancelling someone’s right to remain in the UK, do not deter people experiencing homelessness from accessing support.

The new Immigration Rule which makes provision for the refusal or cancellation of permission to stay in the UK on the basis of rough sleeping will be used sparingly, and only where individuals have refused support offers such as accommodation and are engaged in persistent anti-social behaviour.

The Home Office and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government are working together to encourage local authorities and approved charities to resolve the immigration status of eligible rough sleepers and unlock access to any benefits and entitlements that rough sleepers may be eligible for.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government under what circumstances would an absconding process be triggered when a person is held at (1) the Napier Barracks in Folkestone, and (2) the Penally Barracks in South Pembrokeshire; and what are the consequences of that process being implemented.

Napier and Penally Barracks are accommodation centres and not detention centres. The people who are supported there are able to leave the site and complete a register when leaving or entering.

The Home Office has established absconder policies and procedures for use across the asylum accommodation estate which we will apply in Napier and Penally.

If applicants leave the site on their own accord, for more than one day, without having obtained agreement, the Provider shall notify the Home Office with written confirmation of the unauthorised absence using the relevant part of the Service Commission Form.

The Home Office will look into the unauthorised absence by contacting the applicant or their representatives by telephone to determine whether they have moved to an alternative address.

If no contact is made the absconder’s details will be circulated on the Police National Computer (PNC) database by the PNC team. The PNC team will forward details of absconder notifications to the National Absconder Tracing Team (NATT)

The NATT is responsible for initiating tracing action on all absconders, with the exception of Criminal Casework (CC) absconders. Absconder tracing will be prioritised for removable cases, highest harm cases, vulnerable adults and missing children. On identifying a new address, NATT will make a tasking referral to the relevant Immigration Compliance and Enforcement (ICE) team for further action

The majority of the people we house abide by the conditions of their support and life in the United Kingdom and significant incidents are rare.

All asylum seekers moving to Napier and Penally will have security checks on arrival in the United Kingdom, and health screening. In addition, further checks will be conducted prior to arrival on site to ensure that they are suitable for transfer from their previous accommodation. Anyone arriving at this site will have already been in quarantine for 14 days, as per public health guidance.

The safety and wellbeing of those we support, and the local communities are paramount. The Home Office will continue to work closely with the police and other authorities in preparing for and managing the impacts of these processes, with a clear focus on the welfare and wellbeing of both those on sites and local residents.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they plan to resume the resettlement scheme for refugees.

It is not currently possible to undertake resettlement activity due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, we are working on detailed plans to recommence resettlement arrivals as soon as it is safe and operationally viable to do so.

The resumption of refugee resettlement arrivals, including community sponsorship, remains dependent on a number of factors including: the lifting of restrictions imposed by the governments of those countries and in the UK; the ability of our international partners to operate; the reopening of the UK’s visa application centres; local authority and central government capacity in light of COVID-19; and recovery of the asylum system from the impact of COVID-19.

We continue to closely monitor the situation and remain in regular dialogue with our international and domestic stakeholders.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the outcomes of the Leeds Red Light Zone review; what plans they have to encourage the application of similar managed approaches to sex work in other parts of the country; and what support they will offer to Leeds to strengthen and support implementation there.

Local areas and police forces are in the best position to identify and respond to issues around sex work and prostitution in their area. We know that issues around sex work and prostitution are complex, which can impact on individuals and communities in different ways. Police forces and others are able to adapt their approach to take account of these complexities and are supported in doing so by national NPCC guidance on sex work and prostitution.

Since 2016 we have provided over £2.5m of funding through the Tampon Tax Fund and VAWG Transformation Fund to specialist organisations and projects in a number of local areas supporting sex workers.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the capacity of UK Visa and Immigration services to process applications, following the suspension of the priority service and the closure of Sopra Steria and some VFS global visa application centres; what consideration they have given to the need to process applications from NHS staff before the suggested changeover date of 5 August; and when they expect a full service will resume.

As UK Visas and Immigration begins to reopen its Visa Application Centres both in the UK and overseas, we are working closely with our partners to maximise the available capacity to service applicants in line with social distancing rules in each location.

For those applicants who are due to start work in the NHS but who are unable to make their application from overseas due to the temporary closure of the Visa Application Centres, they should contact the UKVI NHS Team by emailing UKVINHSTeam@homeoffice.gov.uk and the team will seek to assist them.

Applicants sponsored by the NHS who lodge an application in the UK under Tier 2 can begin work immediately while their application is under consideration.

The Home Office has put in place a range of measures to support those affected by the covid-19 outbreak, full details of which are published on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents. The department continues to monitor the situation closely and takes these exceptional circumstances into account.

These are unprecedented times and further adjustments may be made to requirements where necessary and appropriate, to ensure people are not unduly affected by circumstances beyond their control.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to liaise with Manchester Police and the mayor of Greater Manchester to ensure that all possible action has been taken in the investigation of the death of Shukri Abdi.

The tragic death of Shukri Abdi is the subject of ongoing legal proceedings and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment at this time. Our thoughts remain with her family and friends at this difficult time.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 20 May (HL4160), whether a (1) breakfast of one slice of white bread with a small serving of butter and jam, and (2) dinner of chips, a slice of pizza without vegetables and a small serving of lettuce and half a tomato, reportedly served at Urban House Initial Accommodation Centre in Wakefield, meets the NHS Eatwell guidelines; and if so, what plans they have to review those guidelines.

The Government strongly refutes the inaccurate reporting in relation to the food available at Urban House in Wakefield and the Home Office is in regular dialogue with its service providers around the services provided in Initial Accommodation.

Residents at Urban House in Wakefield are provided with three meals a day and the menu in use has been approved by a dietician and aligns with the NHS Eatwell guidance. The menu presents a list of options from which residents can choose.

The menu has been checked to ensure it aligns with medical, cultural and religious requirements as is required under the Asylum Accommodation and Support Contracts. In addition to the main meals provided, additional food is available throughout the course of the day for the residents.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the availability of meals for those with specific diet requirements, in particular for those who (1) are pregnant, (2) have diabetes, and (3) have coeliac disease, at Urban House Initial Accommodation Centre in Wakefield; and what discussions they intend to have with that Centre about the provision of such meals.

The Government strongly refutes the inaccurate reporting in relation to the food available at Urban House in Wakefield and the Home Office is in regular dialogue with its service providers around the services provided in Initial Accommodation.

Residents at Urban House in Wakefield are provided with three meals a day and the menu in use has been approved by a dietician and aligns with the NHS Eatwell guidance. The menu presents a list of options from which residents can choose.

The menu has been checked to ensure it aligns with medical, cultural and religious requirements as is required under the Asylum Accommodation and Support Contracts. In addition to the main meals provided, additional food is available throughout the course of the day for the residents.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to undertake a programme to educate people about (1) the risks posed by, and (2) ways in which to prevent, wildfires, particularly those associated with barbecues.

During the pandemic the Home Office has collaborated with the National Fire Chiefs Council through the Fire Kills campaign to raise awareness of pertinent fire safety messages. This has included messaging on outdoor and barbecue safety. Campaign material has been developed and made available online and to fire and rescue services to support local interventions.

The Department of Food and Rural Affairs has engaged with the National Park Authorities and has been analysing their wildfire preparations to understand National Park Authorities capacity for dealing with the current challenges. It will consider what further actions are needed and review the current guidance on handling of wildfire risks from portable barbecues.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend (1) to reduce, (2) to waive, or (3) to eliminate, the minimum income requirement for UK citizens wishing to bring a foreign spouse or partner (and where relevant children) to the UK in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular for loss of income as a result of the lockdown to be accounted for in calculating the income requirement.

The Home Office has put in place a range of measures to support those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor the situation closely and take these exceptional circumstances into account.

To ensure a spouse or partner and relevant dependent children applying for entry clearance, leave to remain or indefinite leave are not unduly affected by circumstances beyond their control, for the purpose of the minimum income requirement:

  • A temporary loss of employment income between 1 March and 31 July 2020 due to COVID-19, will be disregarded provided the requirement was met for at least six months up to March 2020.
  • An applicant or sponsor furloughed under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be deemed as earning 100% of their salary.
  • A temporary loss of annual income due to COVID-19 between 1 March 2020 and 31 July 2020 will generally be disregarded for self-employment income, along with the impact on employment income from the same period for future applications. Income received via the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will also be taken into account.
  • Evidential flexibility may be applied where an applicant or sponsor experiences difficulty accessing specified evidence due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The minimum income requirement can also be met in several ways in addition to or instead of income from employment or self-employment. For example, income from investments, property rental or pension may also be taken into account, together with cash savings.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to (1) maintain the extension of housing provision for newly recognised refugees to three months, introduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as a permanent measure, and (2) ensure financial support for such refugees whilst they wait for receipt of Universal Credit payments.

As part of the Government’s response to the pandemic, newly recognised refugees are not currently being asked to leave asylum accommodation. We will be reviewing the policy before the end of June, but there are no plans to make the arrangement permanent. When normal arrangements resume, the refugees will receive notice that they are no longer eligible to receive asylum support after a 28 days “grace period” and assisted to transition to mainstream benefits and housing services if they wish to apply for them.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
6th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether meals provided for asylum seekers in temporary accommodation must meet the guidelines set out in the NHS Eatwell Guide.

Meals provided in all catered asylum accommodation facilities meet the NHS Eatwell guide.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, during the COVID-19 pandemic, they will suspend the return of refugees arriving on UK territory to northern France.

The UK does not return those refugees who have been granted refugee status in the UK to France or elsewhere. We do, however, return asylum seekers who are yet to have a decision on their asylum claim in the UK to ensure their claim is considered in the right place. This may be to France or other states who participate in the Dublin Regulation.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, we continue to comply with the Dublin Regulation and remain committed to ensuring transfers continue to and from the UK. This is a fast-changing situation and we, along with other countries across Europe, will be subject to wider Government decisions and travel restrictions.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures they are taking, during the COVID-19 pandemic, to ensure that refugees at the UK-France border belonging to at-risk groups, including (1) victims of trafficking, (2) unaccompanied minors, (3) LGBTQ+ persons, (4) people with disabilities, and (5) victims of physical, mental or sexual abuse, can access the necessary protections.

The identification and relocation of vulnerable migrants on French territory remains the domestic responsibility of the French government, who are currently working to transfer those residing in camps into reception centres. At these centres, asylum claims can be lodged and any other welfare needs assessed. Since the start of the Covid-19 lockdown in France, over 600 migrants have been moved to accommodation centres to aid with social distancing measures. Within these centres, individuals are provided with medical and administrative support.

The UK is also committed to meeting our obligations to transfer unaccompanied children to the UK where they have eligible family here and where transfer is in their best interests under the Dublin Regulation. An unaccompanied child must first claim asylum in the EU Member State in which they are present, and the Member State must then raise a Take Charge Request with the UK Government.

Additionally, specialist trained officers are present at all of our Juxtaposed controls, who assist in supporting those identified as vulnerable. We work closely with both French and Belgian partners to ensure that these individuals receive the support they need. All officers receive regular training on safeguarding and when to seek support from a specialist trained officer. Special arrangements are in place at the Juxtaposed controls to refer cases with vulnerability elements to the French and Belgian Police.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the use of administrative immigration detention in the UK’s short-term holding facilities in northern France will be discontinued for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.

Short term holding rooms in Northern France are still in operation. High-risk individuals displaying symptoms of COVID-19 are referred to the French authorities in the first instance. All Border Force staff continue to adhere to Public Health England guidance to ensure we follow the latest scientific advice and seek specific guidance for our frontline operations.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the conditions, and treatment of asylum-seekers, in Urban House in Wakefield, following reports that individuals displaying COVID-19 symptoms have been forced to share rooms with others there.

We’ve conducted a thorough assessment of Urban House with local health partners and have put in place steps in accordance with all of their recommendations. These steps include staggering meal times, increasing staff numbers, providing information and guidance in a variety of languages, stopping all new arrivals into Urban House.

Although room sharing is in place, no one is forced to share rooms with anyone displaying COVID 19 symptoms. Those with underlying health conditions and people over 70 years of age should also be moved to the appropriate hotel accommodation following PHE guidance

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
5th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many asylum-seekers in housing provided by the Government or local authorities, including through private contractors, are still in shared rooms of two or more people.

We do not hold he information requested. However, although room sharing is in place, no one is forced to share rooms with anyone displaying COVID 19 symptoms.

PHE Guidance recommends that separate rooms should be provided for symptomatic people, or they should be moved to hotels. Those with underlying health conditions and people over 70 years of age should also be moved to the appropriate hotel accommodation following PHE guidance, unless individuals do not wish to be moved. We are reviewing each case on an individual basis and continue to work with our providers to ensure the guidance is followed.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
7th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Sugg on 6 February (HL Deb, col 1885), how many claims for asylum have been made by (1) women and girls at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM), and (2) anti-FGM campaigners, in each of the last 10 years; and how many such claims (a) have been accepted, (b) have been rejected, and (c) are awaiting a decision.

The Home Office does not record the basis of claims in a way that can be easily aggregated so cannot provide figures on how many asylum claims have been made by (1) women and girls at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM), and (2) anti-FGM campaigners, in each of the last 10 years; and how many such claims (a) have been accepted, (b) have been rejected, and (c) are awaiting a decision.

However, the Home Office does publish data on the number of cases concluded by gender. This data can be found at Asy_05/06/06q/07, of the published Transparency data: August 2019: www.gov.uk/government/publications/asylum-transparency-data-august-2019

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to conduct a post-construction environmental impact assessment of their new port at Duqm in Oman; whether they have made any assessment of the (1) overall environmental impact, and (2) impact on Arabian humpback whales, of the visit of HMS Queen Elizabeth to that port.

The Omani Port of Duqm Company administers the port and the Ministry of Defence has, and will continue to, comply with all relevant Omani and UK environmental regulations. This includes environmental impact assessments, if required, for all UK Defence activity at the port. The Port of Duqm Company has conducted an environmental health survey and the UK and Oman have a regular dialogue which encompasses a wide range of topics, including the environment.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
24th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they receive royalty payments for equipment manufacture by Sage Control Ordnance under licence from Police Ordnance Co Ltd in Canada where the equipment was originally designed by Royal Ordnance.

The Ministry of Defence does not receive royalty payments for equipment manufactured by Sage Control Ordnance under licence from Police Ordnance Co Ltd in Canada, where the equipment was originally designed by Royal Ordnance.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
18th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the RAF Voyager would need to be repainted should it be required for operational military purposes; and if so, what the likely cost would be.

The VIP Voyager aircraft's primary role remains Air-to-Air refuelling, and it remains available to meet a range of operational commitments. The aircraft is already used to fly senior Government Ministers and members of the Royal Family on official business. The new livery better reflects this prestigious task, however, if required, the aircraft can be returned quickly to a more traditional military livery, the costs for which are marginal and absorbed within the overall Voyager running costs.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
9th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether RAF Reaper drones have been operated outside Operation Shader; if so, why; and whether such operations took place under independent UK control.

REAPER is an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform. We do not comment on intelligence matters and I am therefore withholding the information as its disclosure would or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
21st May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to restore the policy of publishing standalone Sustainable MOD annual reports to ensure that the records of all military greenhouse gas emissions each year are easily accessible.

Ministry of Defence greenhouse gas emissions and performance against targets are reported in the Department's Annual Report and Accounts.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
21st Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by the Economics Statistics Centre of Excellence Estimating the UK population during the pandemic, published on 14 January, what plans they have to adjust their plans for housing provision as a result of population changes following (1) the COVID-19 pandemic, and (2) the UK’s departure from the EU.

Following consultation in August 2020 on proposed changes to the standard method for assessing local housing need, it was apparent that certainty and stability are important for our local communities, local authorities, and developers, especially in light of the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. In December, we therefore changed the method to focus greater need into authorities containing the largest proportion of the 20 most populated cities and urban centres in England, while other authorities saw no change compared to the previous method.

It is not yet clear what impact COVID-19 or our departure from the European Union will have on population estimates, if any. However, while we expect local authorities to plan, for a minimum period of 15 years, they can review their plans for housing during this period and must do so at least once every five years. This enables them to take into account changes in circumstances and to ensure policies remain effective.

As with all policies we will monitor the impact of the new standard method, including as any longer-term impact from changes to the way we live and work become clear. Our December announcement enables local areas to get on and plan based on a method and level of ambition that they are familiar with. This ensures that the planning system keeps moving, so it can play its full part in the economic recovery to come.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) how much money has been allocated in total to the COVID-19 Secure Marshal programme, (2) how many marshals have been employed, (3) for how long such marshals have been contracted to work, (4) in which local authorities those marshals are located, and (5) what assessment they have made of the impact of such marshals on the level of adherence to social distancing rules.

In October last year, the Government announced £30 million of ringfenced grant funding to unitary and lower tier authorities to support COVID-19 compliance and enforcement activity. The funding can be used for a range of activity to encourage business, individual and community adherence to COVID-19 rules. It is ringfenced for any activity which will support compliance and enforcement of COVID-19 regulations guidance, including funding for COVID-19 Marshals or their equivalents such as stewards or ambassadors, thereby helping to control the spread of COVID-19 across individuals, businesses and in the community.

Local authorities are best placed to determine how best to use their grant allocations to encourage adherence to COVID-19 rules. To date, authorities have reported grant allocations have been used to recruit COVID-19 Marshals or their equivalents and for overtime costs of existing staff, staff training to work on COVID-19 compliance and communications activity to promote understanding of COVID-19 regulatory and guidance requirements. The Department has issued a request for all local authorities in receipt of the grant to report the activity funded and its impact.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
11th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Building Safety Fund imposes restrictions on recipients communicating with journalists about repairs without prior written approval; and, if so, why.

The building safety fund does not impose restrictions on leaseholders or residents in their private capacity as individual flat owners commenting on remediation projects or government policy. Funding agreements for the fund include a clause which is standard in commercial agreements between building owners and funders of construction of work which applies to communication with the media about the individual construction project. The clause applies to applicants to the fund who we expect to discuss with delivery partners in the first instance any queries about the remediation project or the funding agreement. We want a constructive working relationship with building owners who apply to the fund, which ensures that the Government’s provision of £1.6 billion of funding will make buildings safe for residents as swiftly as possible.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the campaign by Crisis to repeal the Vagrancy Act 1824.

This is a complex issue and we know from our engagement with stakeholders that there are diverging views about the necessity and relevance of the Vagrancy Act. That is why the Government believes that a review is the right course of action and we are looking at all options including retention, repeal, replacement or amendment.

At the heart of the review will be the experiences and perceptions of a range of relevant stakeholders including the homelessness sector, the police, local authorities, business representatives, community groups and individuals with lived experience. This Government is aware of Crisis’ views on the Vagrancy Act and have engaged with them to inform the review of the Act . Work is ongoing and the Government will update on its findings in due course.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of plans by the Welsh Government to allow councils to adopt the Single Transferable Vote system for local government elections; and whether they intend to introduce such powers for English councils.

The Government does not intend to introduce such powers for English councils. This Government has made a commitment to continue to support the First Past the Post system of voting on a national and local level.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with (1) the insurance industry, and (2) housing association providers, about agreeing an insurance indemnity to enable those in shared ownership properties to obtain a mortgage and move when they do not have a cladding test certificate.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) designed and implemented the External Wall System form (EWS1) in conjunction with mortgage lenders to assist in the valuation of high-rise residential buildings for mortgage purposes, and high-rise residential buildings include those provided by housing associations. Not all lenders request an EWS1 form, and the Government does not support a blanket approach in EWS1 use for lower risk properties. We are working with mortgage lenders to support a more pragmatic approach in their valuation of homes within multi storey residential buildings. We are encouraging lenders to accept a broader range of evidence to assure themselves of a build’s value. The Department also discussed these challenges with Housing Associations, and has frequent meetings with the insurance industry, including on the availability of insurance for professionals undertaking this work.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking, in addition to the Fire Safety Review, to support people in shared ownership properties who cannot obtain a mortgage due to a lack of a cladding test certificate.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) designed and implemented the External Wall System form (EWS1) in conjunction with mortgage lenders to assist in the valuation of high-rise residential buildings for mortgage purposes. Not all lenders request an EWS1 form, and the Government does not support a blanket approach in EWS1 use for lower risk properties. We are working with mortgage lenders to support a more pragmatic approach in their valuation of homes within multi storey residential buildings. We are encouraging lenders to accept a broader range of evidence to assure themselves of a build’s value. This could include a fire risk assessment that includes external walls or a recent building control certificate.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for introducing proportional electoral systems on either a trial or permanent basis; and whether this issue will be included in the White Paper on the reorganisation of local government in England.

The Government has no intention of introducing an alternative proportional electoral system for English local government. The Devolution and Local Recovery White Paper to be published this Autumn will set out the Government’s ambitions for devolution, including detailed plans for devolving powers and for the local institutions to support this, in particular directly elected Mayors.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
14th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the White Paper on the reorganisation of local government in England will include consideration of writing off, or otherwise covering, existing local government debt so any new authorities could begin debt-free.

The Government has no intention of introducing an alternative proportional electoral system for English local government. The Devolution and Local Recovery White Paper to be published this Autumn will set out the Government’s ambitions for devolution, including detailed plans for devolving powers and for the local institutions to support this, in particular directly elected Mayors.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
24th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to implementing the recommendations of the report by the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Select Committee The Future for Allotments (HC 560–I, Session 1997–98); and, in particular. the proposal that decisions over commercial use of allotment gardens relating to site shops and sales of surplus produce should be made on a site-by-site basis.

The report referred to was produced under a previous government. Decisions to permit the limited sale of surplus produce are the responsibility of local authorities who set their own rules on the use of sites.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to assist councils to provide safe toilet facilities at beaches, parks and other leisure facilities as the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are eased.

The government has published guidance on safer public spaces. It includes advice, information and examples of the potential interventions that can be used in public places to facilitate social distancing in areas of higher footfall such as in parks (attached). https://www.gov.uk/guidance/safer-public-places-urban-centres-and-green-spaces-covid-19

Owners and operators are advised to implement cleaning protocols to limit coronavirus transmission in public places. It is advised that touch points (e.g. handrails and gates) should be particular areas of focus for increased cleaning.

To help everyone maintain good hygiene, consideration should be given to: configuration of toilet facilities to ensure they are kept clean, with social distancing achieved as far as possible and with best practice handwashing followed; where possible, providing hand towels as an alternative to hand dryers in handwashing facilities; signs at public toilets for queuing, social distancing and automatic sanitising; using signs and messages to build awareness of good handwashing technique and other respiratory hygiene behaviours, e.g. around coughing and sneezing in public places; where possible, providing hand towels as an alternative to hand dryers in handwashing facilities; and queue marking indicators at main entrance, popular park destinations and toilets.

We have now made £3.2 billion available to local authorities through an un-ringfenced grant so they can address pressures they are facing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The package recognises the additional costs and pressures on finances councils are facing as a result of the current crisis. It demonstrates the Government’s commitment to making sure councils, including upper and lower tier authorities, have the resources they need to support their communities through this challenging time.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what guidance they are providing to local councils on opening car parking facilities, particularly in tourist areas that might see large influxes of visitors as the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions are eased.

In line with the Government’s position on localism, parking is the responsibility of local authorities and it is for them to determine what is appropriate in their own area. However, central government does have an interest in how car parks are managed and is working closely with local government stakeholders to keep parking policies and guidance under review during the COVID-19 response.

We have recently published guidance on Safer Public Places, which includes recommendations for the adaptation and management of urban centres and green spaces to facilitate social distancing.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support or funding they are giving to support sheltered-housing providers, including information, training, personal protective equipment and other provision to ensure the safety of staff and residents, particularly those who have difficulty understanding or complying with the Government’s COVID-19 advice and associated regulations; and whether they are considering introducing further measures in relation to supported-housing providers to address the COVID-19 epidemic.

The Government deeply values and applauds the hard work of supported and sheltered housing providers and workers in supporting vulnerable people across the country during this pandemic.

The Government has published guidance issued by Public Health England on working practices in supported living during the pandemic. This can be found (attached) at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-residential-care-supported-living-and-home-care-guidance/covid-19-guidance-for-supported-living-provision

We have also given councils an additional £3.2 billion of funding so they can continue to provide essential services and support vulnerable people.

We have extended testing to all front line essential workers which includes those working in supported, extra-care, sheltered and retirement housing, and we have provided additional supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) to Local Resilience Forums (LRFs) for local distribution to a broad range of essential front line workers.

For those supported and retirement housing residents who may be shielding, the Government is helping shielding individuals who request our support with free deliveries of weekly parcels of food and household essentials, help with delivery of medicines, and help with social contact and basic needs.

My Department continues to engage regularly with sector stakeholders.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they expect South Oxfordshire District Council to take to improve its local plan.

On 3 October 2019 South Oxfordshire District Council Cabinet recommended the withdrawal of the emerging South Oxfordshire local plan. On 9 October 2019 the Secretary of State directed South Oxfordshire District Council not to take any steps in connection with the adoption of the local plan, while he considers this matter. This direction remains in force.

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
26th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many writs of summons were sent to Peers in (1) 2016, (2) 2017, (3) 2018, (4) 2019, and (5) 2020; and how many of those writs were sent to Peers in (a) each region of England, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales, and (d) Northern Ireland.

The information on the number of writs of summons issued to Peers is set out below:

(1) 2016 - 17

(2) 2017 - 823

(3) 2018 - 20

(4) 2019 - 814

(5) 2020 - 43

Following the dissolution of Parliament for General Elections in 2017 and 2019, writs of summons were sent to all eligible Peers in the UK and Northern Ireland. In 2016, 2018 and 2020, writs of summons were only issued to newly created, or newly elected, Peers.

Information on writs issued by region is no longer held by the Crown Office, which is responsible for issuing the writs. Writs are issued to contact addresses provided by Peers to the House of Lords.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide extra support to legal aid practitioners to address additional (1) pressures from remote working, (2) demands from vulnerable clients, and (3) workload from domestic violence cases, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are aware that the COVID-19 pandemic has created a range of challenges for the legal profession. We have been working closely with legal aid providers across the justice system throughout the pandemic and will continue to do so, monitoring any impact and understanding their concerns.

In April the Legal Aid Agency published operational guidance, including guidance on working remotely and working with clients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A range of measures have been introduced to support providers during the pandemic while maintaining access to justice for the most vulnerable in society. These include:

  • Reducing the levels of contract administration to allow providers to focus on supporting their clients;
  • Expanding how domestic abuse requirements may be evidenced to make it easier for victims to access legal aid during this difficult period;
  • Expanding the scope and relaxing the evidence requirements for hardship payments in crown court cases – including reducing the threshold for work done to £450, rather than the previous £5,000;
  • Halting the pursuit of outstanding debts owed to the Legal Aid Agency;
  • Suspending sanctions in relation to missed deadlines for delegated function applications, substantive amendments and appeals against LAA decisions;
  • Publicising existing avenues of financial help for legal firms, such as the ability to apply for early payment for work already done on a case, and changing rules for payment on account for providers, benefitting cashflow in the short-term and ensuring that providers can claim the same amount of money for online hearings as they can for face-to-face hearings.

HMT have introduced and recently extended a range of measures to support individuals and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the furlough scheme, Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan and Bounce Back Loan, to provide some financial stability. We encourage the professions to continue to take advantage of this support where appropriate.

We will continue to closely monitor the situation, working with providers to keep these measures under review.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
8th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many prisons are currently using the Security Categorisation Policy Framework; and when they expect all prisons in England and Wales to be using this framework.

Nine establishments are using the Security Categorisation Policy Framework, all of which were involved in the live pilot of the revised procedures and use of the Digital Categorisation Service. Implementation of the framework across the adult male and young adult male estates was due to have begun in March but paused due to Covid-19. It is currently expected that implementation will start in the autumn with all male establishments using the framework by spring 2021. There are no immediate plans for implementation in the women’s estate.

8th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their policy on the (1) provision, and (2) use, of facemasks in (a) prisons, and (b) juvenile detention facilities, by (i) staff, and (ii) prisoners and detainees.

Social distancing and hygiene are the most effective controls to reduce transmission.

Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service follows the public health advice on the use of medical face masks alongside other items of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where close contact is sustained, essential and unavoidable.

12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to legislate to tackle predatory marriage.

The Government has no current legislative plans to change the existing safeguards.

A registration official has a duty to stop proceedings if they are of opinion that either of the parties to a marriage does not have the capacity to marry.

The Law Commission is currently reviewing how and where weddings take place, including the formalities and safeguarding checks required before a marriage is conducted. We will carefully consider any recommendations made in the final report.

4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consultations they (1) have undertaken, and (2) plan to undertake, in regard to the Victims Payments Scheme in Northern Ireland with (a) political parties that are not represented in the Northern Ireland Executive, and (b) civil society representatives in Northern Ireland.

The Government ran a public consultation in October and November last year on our proposals for legislating for a Victims Payments Scheme. The consultation provided an opportunity for anyone to comment on the shape of the proposed scheme.

In line with the Northern Ireland Office Equality Scheme, we notified our list of consultees - including a wide range of public bodies, political parties, religious and representative organisations - about the consultation. The consultation team also made itself available to meet a range of interested groups and parties to discuss the proposals and the issues arising from them.

We received 367 responses from a variety of parties, individuals, representatives and groups, including the Green Party NI. We carefully considered all written and oral feedback received in making final decisions about the shape of the scheme.

The Northern Ireland Office also engaged with the main parties on the detail of draft guidance that will support the scheme’s independent board in making decisions to award payments.

Viscount Younger of Leckie
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)