Baroness Whitaker

Labour - Life peer

Regenerating Seaside Towns and Communities Committee
17th May 2018 - 19th Mar 2019
Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 Committee
29th Jun 2017 - 13th Mar 2018
National Policy for the Built Environment Committee
11th Jun 2015 - 11th Feb 2016
Draft Bribery Bill (Joint Committee)
11th May 2009 - 16th Jul 2009
Intergovernmental Organisations Committee
15th Nov 2007 - 7th Jul 2008
Human Rights (Joint Committee)
3rd Jul 2001 - 20th Nov 2003
Draft Corruption Bill (Joint Committee)
24th Mar 2003 - 31st Jul 2003


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Tuesday 23rd November 2021
Armed Forces Bill
voted Aye - in line with the party majority
One of 98 Labour Aye votes vs 0 Labour No votes
Tally: Ayes - 210 Noes - 190
Speeches
Monday 8th November 2021
Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill

My Lords, I wonder whether the interesting amendment from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Garnier, might not have some …

Written Answers
Monday 1st November 2021
Dhofar War: Disclosure of Information
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to publish correspondence between Harold Wilson and Edward Heath about the Dhofar …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Baroness Whitaker has voted in 152 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Baroness Whitaker 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
Baroness Berridge (Conservative)
(14 debate interactions)
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative)
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
(11 debate interactions)
Lord Greenhalgh (Conservative)
Minister of State (Home Office)
(9 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(25 debate contributions)
Department for Education
(15 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Baroness Whitaker's debates

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Baroness Whitaker, 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 Whitaker has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Baroness Whitaker has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Baroness Whitaker has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Baroness Whitaker has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


83 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
20th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to publish correspondence between Harold Wilson and Edward Heath about the Dhofar war which is due to be released this year.

The file containing these records was reviewed recently and it was concluded that, owing to their continuing sensitivity, they should remain closed for a further 10 years in accordance with the provisions of the Public Records Act 1958.

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that (1) departments, and (2) other publicly-funded bodies, categorise Gypsies, Travellers and Roma as “white minority ethnic groups” for statistical and reporting purposes, rather than designating them either as “white British” or “minority ethnic”.

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

Professor Sir Ian Diamond | National Statistician

Baroness Whitaker

House of Lords

London
SW1A 0PW

22 September 2021

Dear Baroness Whitaker,

As National Statistician and Chief Executive of the UK Statistics Authority, I am responding to your Parliamentary Question asking what steps have been taken to ensure that departments, and other publicly-funded bodies, categorise Gypsies, Travellers and Roma as ‘white minority ethnic groups’ for statistical and reporting purposes, rather than designating them either as ‘white British’ or ‘minority ethnic’ (HL2813).

A core principle of the UK Statistics Authority’s strategy Statistics for the Public Good[1] is inclusivity. I can assure you that we are taking steps towards ensuring our statistics reflect the experiences of everyone in our society so that everyone counts and is counted, and that no one is forgotten.

Following consultation, research, and testing by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), a new ‘Roma’ response option was added to the ethnic group question within the higher-level ‘White’ category for Census 2021 for England and Wales[2]. This was in addition to the ‘Gypsy or Irish Traveller’ response option, which has been included since the 2011 Census[3].

Our Census 2021 output and analysis plans[4] include separate tailored analysis on both the Gypsy and Irish Traveller communities and the Roma communities in England and Wales. As part of developing this analysis we are engaging with Gypsy, Roma and Irish Traveller community organisations, as well as other government and expert users, to better understand the data and analysis needs around these communities.

The GSS (Government Statistical Service) harmonised standards set out how to collect and report statistics to ensure comparability across different data collections in Government. For ethnicity[5], we suggest reporting with greater granularity, which has been recommended by the Minister for Equalities (‘Departments and other agencies should publish a statement on GOV.UK outlining their plans to move their data collections to the Government Statistical Service’s (GSS) harmonised ethnicity data standard’.[6]) Over the past 12 months these standards have been adopted as the GDS’s (Government Digital Service) design pattern[7] for equalities information, meaning that Government digital services collecting administrative information are recommended to adopt these standards.

In addition, the GSS Harmonisation Champions Network[8], which includes representatives from all departments across Government which publish National Statistics, also encourage their departments to adopt these harmonised standards.

Finally, I’d like to highlight the work of the Inclusive Data Taskforce (IDTF), a group of senior academics and civil society leaders with expertise on a range of equalities topics and research methods. In October 2020, I commissioned this group to develop recommendations on how to make a step-change in the inclusivity of UK data and evidence in a broad range of areas, including ethnicity. Their recommendations will be launched on 28 September and will form the basis of a programme of work to be taken forward across government and more widely to radically improve the UK’s inclusive data infrastructure, including in relation to different ethnic groups.

Yours sincerely,

Professor Sir Ian Diamond

[1] https://uksa.statisticsauthority.gov.uk/statistics-for-the-public-good/

[2]https://www.ons.gov.uk/census/censustransformationprogramme/questiondevelopment/nationalidentityethnicgrouplanguageandreligionquestiondevelopmentforcensus2021

[3]https://www.ons.gov.uk/file?uri=/census/2011census/howourcensusworks/howweplannedthe2011census/questionnairedevelopment/finalisingthe2011questionnaire/final-recommended-questions-2011-ethnic-group_tcm77-183998.pdf

[4]https://www.ons.gov.uk/census/censustransformationprogramme/census2021outputs/2021dataproducts/analysis/ethnicgroupnationalidentitylanguageandreligion

[5] https://gss.civilservice.gov.uk/policy-store/ethnicity/

[6] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/second-quarterly-report-on-progress-to-address-covid-19-health-inequalities

[7] https://design-system.service.gov.uk/patterns/equality-information/

[8] https://gss.civilservice.gov.uk/about-us/champion-networks/harmonisation-champions/

Lord True
Minister of State (Cabinet Office)
16th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to compel companies to report their ethnicity pay gaps.

In 2018/19, the Government consulted on options for employer-level ethnicity pay reporting. Following the consultation, the Government met with businesses and representative organisations to understand the barriers to reporting and explore what information could be published to allow for meaningful action to be taken. We also ran a voluntary methodology testing exercise with a broad range of businesses to better understand the complexities outlined in the consultation using real payroll data. The Government is continuing to analyse this data and will respond in due course.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
15th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the process for ensuring that all Departments’ policies comply with the overall aim of carbon reduction and monitoring their implementation.

The UK is a world leader in climate action and clean growth, having reduced emissions faster than any other G7 nation since 1990. Achieving our ambitious net zero target is a priority for the Government.

The UK’s Clean Growth Strategy, published in 2017, was informed by all relevant departments, and describes the policies and proposals that will decarbonise the entire UK economy through the 2020s and beyond. My Rt. Hon. Friend the Prime Minister is chairing a new Cabinet committee focused on tackling climate change, discussing how departments can go further and faster in meeting our legally binding 2050 net zero target. We will be setting out further plans in key sectors such as transport, heat and buildings this year.

As policies and proposals are developed and implemented, their contribution to reducing emissions and helping us to meet our statutory emissions targets is quantified and published by BEIS in updated “Energy and Emissions Projections”. These projections enable us to monitor progress towards meeting the UK’s carbon budgets and are used to inform policy and analysis across government.

More broadly, all regulatory impact assessments for new policies include consideration of their impact in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the extent to which online advertisements promote discrimination against Traveller communities; what plans they have to ensure that digital media platforms do not carry adverts that include such discrimination; and what steps they intend to take against individuals or organisations that place adverts that discriminate against Traveller communities.

The regulation of online advertising in the UK is led by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). The ASA is responsible for the day-to-day enforcement of the UK Code for Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing (the CAP Code).

Within the CAP code, section 4.1, covers rules around discrimination, stating that “particular care must be taken to avoid offence on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age.” Marketers should be particularly aware of their depictions of these characteristics, and ensure that their ads do not contain anything which may be likely to cause serious or widespread offence on any grounds.” More information can be found here: https://www.asa.org.uk/advice-online/offence-use-of-stereotypes.html

In investigating a possible breach of advertising rules, the ASA will use the CAP code to determine the course of action. If the advertisement is deemed to be offensive or discriminatory, the advertiser will be asked to take down the ad.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
17th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the percentage of apprentices required to complete Functional Skills Level 2 qualifications in (1) Maths, (2) English, and (3) Information and Communication Technology, during the course of their apprenticeship; and how this figure varies by ethnicity.

We publish data which shows the number of apprentices enrolling on funded level 2 functional skills qualifications during their apprenticeship. We cannot determine if these qualifications are required in order to achieve the overall apprenticeship. We do not publish breakdowns of this data by ethnicity.

Not all apprentices are required to achieve level 2 functional skills by the end of their apprenticeship. An apprentice may have already obtained the required level of English and maths for the apprenticeship either via GCSEs, functional skills qualifications, or accepted equivalent qualifications, prior to starting their apprenticeship. The current and prior qualifications accepted as meeting the minimum English and maths requirements for apprenticeships can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/english-and-maths-requirements-in-apprenticeship-standards-at-level-2-and-above.

In general, level 2 apprentices without the required level of English and maths will need to achieve level 1 functional skills, and apprentices at level 3 and above will need to achieve level 2 functional skills. There are exceptions to the regular English and maths minimum requirements for people with special educational needs, learning difficulties or disabilities. These are set out in the apprenticeship funding rules: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apprenticeship-funding-rules. The achievement of information and communication technology functional skills is only a requirement of some apprenticeships.

16th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their white paper Skills for jobs: lifelong learning for opportunity and growth, published on 21 January, what steps they are taking (1) to ensure equality of opportunities for Gypsy, Traveller and Roma children and young people of compulsory education age who are out of school or not in education, employment or training to gain the Maths and English Level 2 qualifications required to access further education and training, including apprenticeships, and (2) to ensure that careers advice and guidance is accessible to Gypsy, Traveller and Roma students who have missed out on schooling; and what plans they have to ensure that all Government-backed careers advisors receive training on Gypsy, Traveller and Roma culture.

The participation age has been raised so that young people are now required to continue in education or training until their 18th birthday. Young people can do this through full-time education, a job or volunteering combined with part-time study, or by undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship. The government has invested nearly £7 billion during the academic year 2020/21, to ensure there is a place in education or training for every 16 to 19 year old.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to identify and track the participation of 16 and 17 year olds, supporting those who are not participating to do so and making sure that there is sufficient and suitable education and training provision to meet their needs.

The September Guarantee places a further duty on local authorities to ensure that all year 11 pupils (and year 12 pupils on one year courses) receive an offer of a place in education or training for the following September. It aims to ensure that all young people, regardless of what they achieved in school, understand that there are opportunities that will help them to progress, and to ensure that they get the advice and support they need to find a suitable place.

A range of provision is available for young people aged 16 to 24 to equip them with the skills and experience they need to progress. This includes traineeships, which provide unemployed young people with employability training, work experience and English and maths, and Supported Internships which offer tailored support for young people aged 16 to 25 who have special educational needs and disabilities.

We know students who leave school with a good grasp of English and maths increase their chances of securing a job or going on to further education, which is why students who do not achieve a GCSE grade 4 at age 16 must continue to study these subjects in Post-16 (it is also known as the ‘condition of funding’). Students who just missed out on a GCSE grade 4 are given the opportunity to achieve a GCSE. We recognise that for students with prior attainment of a GCSE grade 2 or below, a level 2 Functional Skills qualification may be more appropriate.

Alongside this, English and maths are crucial elements of a T Level and apprenticeship. Each T Level student and apprentice must ensure they have achieved a prescribed level of English and maths in order to successfully complete their programme.

The government is committed to ensuring that young people and adults are provided with high-quality careers information, advice, and guidance, regardless of their background.

We have provided specific support for pupils from disadvantaged groups such as Gypsy, Traveller and Roma, special educational needs, and looked after children. This includes investing over £1.7 million to test new approaches to broaden aspirations and raise awareness of pathways into training and work.

Our statutory guidance, first introduced in September 2012, requires that schools secure independent and impartial careers guidance on the full range of education and training options.

Members of the careers profession, including careers advisers are trained to give impartial careers, information, advice and guidance. They work closely with school leaders to develop careers plans that reflect a pupil’s personal circumstance. They also take into account a pupil’s background and aspirations when giving them impartial careers advice. We will continue working with members of the careers profession, including the Careers Development Institute, to ensure careers advisers and other professionals receive adequate training to enable them to deal with pupils from all backgrounds, including those from the traveller community.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the objectives of the new appointee to the post of Education Recovery Commissioner; and how they intend to take account of the educational deprivation of Gypsy, Traveller and Roma children.

The government is committed to helping children and young people regardless of background to make up learning lost as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

In January 2021, my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, committed to work with parents, teachers and pupils to develop a long-term plan to help pupils make up their learning over the course of this Parliament. As an immediate step to support early years settings, schools and colleges, on 24 February, we committed an additional £700 million to support summer schools, tutoring, early language interventions and additional support to schools to help pupils make up their learning.

We have appointed Sir Kevan Collins as the Education Recovery Commissioner to advise on this broader plan. The objectives of the Education Recovery Commissioner as outlined in the terms of reference are to advise on the design and implementation of potential interventions that will help students catch up learning lost due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Education Recovery Commissioner will also consider how schools and the system can more effectively target resources and support at pupils and areas in greatest need, regardless of background.

The terms of reference for the Education Recovery Commissioner are published here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/960070/Terms_of_reference.pdf#:~:text=Education%20Recovery%20Commissioner%3A%20role%20specification%20and%20terms%20of,approach%20for%20education%20recovery%2C%20with%20a%20particular%20focus.

26th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to their report Interim Conclusion of the Review of Post-18 Education and Funding, published on 21 January, what equality assessment they have carried out into the impact of introducing minimum entry requirements to higher education institutions on (1) Gypsies, Travellers and Roma, (2) care-leavers, (3) refugees, and (4) other under-represented groups; and what steps they are taking to ensure that such groups have equitable access to higher education.

The government is committed to social mobility – putting students, their needs, and their career ambitions first, be that in higher education, further education, or apprenticeships.

It is more crucial than ever that we tap into the brilliant talent that our country has to offer, and make sure that university places are available to all who are qualified by ability and attainment to pursue them, and who wish to do so.

We plan to consult on reforms to the higher education system, including consideration of minimum entry requirements, in spring 2021 before setting out a full response to the report and conclusion to the review of post-18 education and funding alongside the next Comprehensive Spending Review.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
15th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the report by Ofsted COVID-19 series: briefing on early years, October 2020, published on 10 November, what plans they have to support children in early years settings whose communication and language skills have fallen behind since the first COVID-19 national lockdown.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are spending up to £9 million of the National Tutoring Programme fund, in the 2020/21 academic year, on the Nuffield Early Language Intervention, a robustly evidenced programme proven to improve oral language skills in the reception year.

The recent Spending Review has confirmed that the department will fund further expansion of an evidence-based reception year early language programme in the 2021/22 academic year.

We are also investing £20 million in a high-quality professional development programme for early years practitioners to drive up standards in maths, early language, and literacy amongst pre-reception children in disadvantaged areas of 51 local authorities.

Additionally, over 3,000 early adopter schools are implementing the reforms to the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) from September 2020, ahead of statutory roll out in September 2021. One of the main aims of the revised framework is to improve early years outcomes for all children, particularly disadvantaged children, in the critical areas that build the foundation for later success, such as language development.

As part of the reforms, we have revised the educational programmes to strengthen teaching practice in communication and language, providing a deeper focus on building vocabulary to address the word gap between disadvantaged children and their peers. Further information on the early adopter EYFS framework can be accessed here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/896810/EYFS_Early_Adopter_Framework.pdf.

29th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they intend to apply the findings and recommendations of the report by the Social Mobility Commission Apprenticeships and social mobility: fulfilling potential, published on 24 June, to members of Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities.

Apprenticeships are an excellent way to access a wide range of rewarding careers and offer considerable value to individuals. We welcome the Social Mobility Commission’s finding that apprenticeships boost employment and reduce the gap in earnings between people from disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged backgrounds.

We are supporting employers, apprentices and training providers during this challenging time, and we remain committed to ensuring that high-quality apprenticeship opportunities are as accessible as possible to all people from all backgrounds, including young people from Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities. We have worked with some of the country’s most influential employers through our Apprenticeship Diversity Champions Network to promote best practice in recruiting and supporting apprentices from diverse backgrounds. Our Apprenticeships Support and Knowledge programme also supports schools across England to provide disadvantaged students with information on apprenticeships.

We are committed to levelling up opportunity across the country. We are focused on how we can make sure more people and businesses can take advantage of apprenticeships in the future, especially small and medium sized businesses in disadvantaged areas. We continue to listen to employers, providers and apprentices, to see how we can build on our reforms so that they continue to support people from all backgrounds and the economy more broadly.

11th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of Irish Traveller and Gypsy and Roma children being looked after in care rising from 50 in total in 2009 to 540 in total in 2019; and what data they hold about (1) the reasons for referrals of such children, (2) the agencies making such referrals, and (3) whether such children have had prior contact with social care departments.

Working Together to Safeguard Children is clear that local areas should have a comprehensive range of effective, evidence-based services in place to address assessed needs. Local authorities have the freedom to decide these services based on local priorities and the needs of families in their area.

The department holds data on children who are looked after (CLA) by primary category of need, which is the main reason the child is looked after, but not necessarily the sole reason. More detail on the reason for referrals children to social services will have been obtained at the point of referral and assessment and this data is collected in the Children in Need (CIN) census. Information on 2) the agencies making referrals and on 3) whether children have had prior contact with social care departments is also collected within the CIN census.

The information requested is not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost. Due to the way in which the data is held, the department would not be able to provide the detailed information on 1) above and the information requested for 2) and 3) above without exceeding the cost threshold applicable to central government. In order to provide the required data, we would need to create new datasets and methodologies for matching CIN assessment data to CLA data.

11th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Traveller Movement Barriers in education—young Travellers in London, in particular of its findings that (1) 40 per cent of Traveller students experienced bullying by other pupils, and (2) 67 per cent of such students experienced bullying by teachers.

We welcome the report by the Traveller Movement, along with their contribution through the Department for Education’s Gypsy, Roma and Traveller stakeholder group, and recognise the issues the report raises.

Bullying of any kind, including that based on anti-Gypsyism, is unacceptable in any setting – the government is committed to eradicating it. Every young person deserves the opportunity to progress and fulfil their potential, regardless of their ethnic background, and to do so in an environment free from fear, prejudice or hate.

All schools are required by law to have a behaviour policy that outlines measures to encourage good behaviour and prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils. A culture of good behaviour in school is critical to enabling pupils to fulfil their potential. We are continuing to support schools to create disciplined and safe environments.

Under the Equalities Act 2010, schools are under a duty take steps to eliminate harassment, foster good relations, and advance equality of opportunity. Ofsted looks at how a school complies with its statutory duties and promotes equality of opportunity, and holds schools to account for anti-Gypsyism or other behaviour issues.

24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made on the commitment to legislate to strengthen Ofsted's powers in relation to unregistered schools made in their Integrated Communities Action Plan, published in February 2019.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, remains committed to legislate in order to strengthen Ofsted’s powers in relation to its investigation of unregistered independent schools. We are working closely with Ofsted to clarify what those enhanced powers will look like so that anyone found to be running an illegal school complies with the law or is prosecuted and that these settings close.

On 14 February, we announced that we would be increasing our funding to Ofsted to build upon and expand its work in tackling and investigating unregistered independent schools successfully and preparing cases for prosecution. In 2016, we established a joint team with Ofsted to tackle unregistered schools. Between 1 January 2016 and 31 August 2019, Ofsted has undertaken 362 inspections of 293 suspected unregistered independent schools – 83 settings were issued with a warning notice and Ofsted made sure 72 of these stopped operating illegally. There have also been three successful prosecutions.

We have recently issued two section 128 barring directions to individuals convicted of operating an unregistered independent school and will continue to pursue further barring directions where it is deemed appropriate.

24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what powers they intend to give Ofsted to support inspectors to (1) investigate, (2) prosecute, and (3) close, unregistered schools.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, remains committed to legislate in order to strengthen Ofsted’s powers in relation to its investigation of unregistered independent schools. We are working closely with Ofsted to clarify what those enhanced powers will look like so that anyone found to be running an illegal school complies with the law or is prosecuted and that these settings close.

On 14 February, we announced that we would be increasing our funding to Ofsted to build upon and expand its work in tackling and investigating unregistered independent schools successfully and preparing cases for prosecution. In 2016, we established a joint team with Ofsted to tackle unregistered schools. Between 1 January 2016 and 31 August 2019, Ofsted has undertaken 362 inspections of 293 suspected unregistered independent schools – 83 settings were issued with a warning notice and Ofsted made sure 72 of these stopped operating illegally. There have also been three successful prosecutions.

We have recently issued two section 128 barring directions to individuals convicted of operating an unregistered independent school and will continue to pursue further barring directions where it is deemed appropriate.

24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will legislate to strengthen Ofsted's powers to (1) investigate, (2) prosecute, and (3) close, unregistered schools.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, remains committed to legislate in order to strengthen Ofsted’s powers in relation to its investigation of unregistered independent schools. We are working closely with Ofsted to clarify what those enhanced powers will look like so that anyone found to be running an illegal school complies with the law or is prosecuted and that these settings close.

On 14 February, we announced that we would be increasing our funding to Ofsted to build upon and expand its work in tackling and investigating unregistered independent schools successfully and preparing cases for prosecution. In 2016, we established a joint team with Ofsted to tackle unregistered schools. Between 1 January 2016 and 31 August 2019, Ofsted has undertaken 362 inspections of 293 suspected unregistered independent schools – 83 settings were issued with a warning notice and Ofsted made sure 72 of these stopped operating illegally. There have also been three successful prosecutions.

We have recently issued two section 128 barring directions to individuals convicted of operating an unregistered independent school and will continue to pursue further barring directions where it is deemed appropriate.

24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will ensure that providers found guilty of running unregistered schools are prevented from doing so again in future.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, remains committed to legislate in order to strengthen Ofsted’s powers in relation to its investigation of unregistered independent schools. We are working closely with Ofsted to clarify what those enhanced powers will look like so that anyone found to be running an illegal school complies with the law or is prosecuted and that these settings close.

On 14 February, we announced that we would be increasing our funding to Ofsted to build upon and expand its work in tackling and investigating unregistered independent schools successfully and preparing cases for prosecution. In 2016, we established a joint team with Ofsted to tackle unregistered schools. Between 1 January 2016 and 31 August 2019, Ofsted has undertaken 362 inspections of 293 suspected unregistered independent schools – 83 settings were issued with a warning notice and Ofsted made sure 72 of these stopped operating illegally. There have also been three successful prosecutions.

We have recently issued two section 128 barring directions to individuals convicted of operating an unregistered independent school and will continue to pursue further barring directions where it is deemed appropriate.

15th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they now plan to ratify the Aarhus Convention.

The UK ratified the Aarhus Convention in 2005 and we remain a party in our own right. Our exit from the EU does not change our commitment to respect, protect and fulfil the obligations contained in this important international agreement.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
9th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the recent finding by Friends, Families and Travellers, published on 8 July, which found that 74 per cent of GP surgeries breached NHS England guidelines and the Equality Act 2010 in March and April by refusing to register nomadic patients.

NHS England and NHS Improvement and the Department are engaging with Friends, Families and Travellers on their report to understand the issues raised. NHS England and NHS Improvement have been clear on the need to continue to register new patients throughout the pandemic. Patients can register without attending the practice by delivering their applications by any means, including by post and digitally. Any patient refused registration and who is not registered with another practice may request immediate necessary treatment for a new or pre-existing condition for up to 14 days.

Lord Kamall
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Health and Social Care)
27th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government which NHS Trusts do not provide speech therapy for stammering adults; what are the reasons for those Trusts not providing such therapy; and what plans they have to establish a consistent service across England to provide such therapy.

It has not proved possible to respond to this question in the time available before prorogation. Ministers will correspond directly with the Member.

11th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans NHS England has to ensure that speech and language therapists are identified as essential members of the multi-disciplinary teams in the Designated Long COVID clinics announced on 7 October 2020.

As part of the five point plan for ‘long’ COVID-19, NHS England made £10 million available to the National Health Service to establish post COVID-19 assessment clinics. The national specification for these services asks providers ensure patients have access to a multidisciplinary team of professionals to account for the multi-system nature of post COVID-19 syndrome. Where speech and language therapy are required, patients should be able to get the treatment they need.

11th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the recommendation in the report by Children's Commissioner for England Still not safe: The public health response to youth violence, published on 6 February, for the levelling up of spending on speech and language therapy services around the country.

We recognise that early language development is a significant health inequalities issue. Improving the number of children having good speech, language and communication skills by five years old is a national priority. Public Health England, with the Department for Education, is working to ensure that speech, language and communication needs are identified early on. We are monitoring the effectiveness of local joint arrangements through inspections by Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission. This will inform what further action is needed.

15th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Bethell on 25 November (HL Deb, col 254), when they will answer the Written Question tabled by Baroness Whitaker on 21 October (HL9456), namely, what plans they have (1) to mark International Stammering Awareness Day on 22 October, and (2) to develop technology across the NHS which ensures equal access to specialist speech and language therapy for people who stammer.

I replied to the noble Baroness’s Question on 21 December 2020.

28th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Bethell on 8 September (HL Deb, cols 662–5), what assessment they have made of the findings of the report by Friends, Families and Travellers, published on 21 August, that the suicide rate of people from the Gypsy and Traveller community is six to seven times higher than the rest of the population; why Gypsies and Travellers are not included on the list of high risk groups in their National Suicide Prevention Plan; and what plans they have to discuss measures to tackle the prevalence of suicide among Gypsy and Traveller communities with Baroness Whitaker and representatives of Friends, Families and Travellers.

We have not made a formal assessment. We continue to explore ways of improving the quality and timeliness of suicide data to allow both national and local partners to continue to monitor rates, identify trends and develop effective prevention plans.

We know that there are certain groups that may be exposed to more risk factors for suicide, and we expect local agencies to work together to ensure that their plans are tailored to meet the needs of these groups. These groups include people from minority ethnic groups, such as Romany Gypsies or Irish Travellers.

We will consider any request from the noble Baroness for such a discussion.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to set up a task force to address the risks to health faced by Gypsies and Travellers living in caravans in camps without amenities such as running water and sanitation during the COVID-19 pandemic, on the lines of the task force for rough sleepers.

We currently have no plans to set up such a task force.

We have been in close contact with Gypsy and Traveller voluntary and community sector organisations and are working hard to support these communities through the pandemic.

Ministers have written to councils and caravan and campsite owners about the particular needs of some Gypsy and Traveller communities at this time but it is our view that local authorities are best placed to determine how to support vulnerable groups, in line with their public health responsibilities.

19th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to the impact of COVID-19 on Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities; and whether these communities have been included in their assessments of the effects of the virus on BAME individuals.

There is emerging evidence of an association between ethnicity and COVID-19 incidence and adverse health outcomes. We are working hard to understand more about COVID-19 and establish robust data on the factors impacting the number of COVID-19 cases and health outcomes for different groups within the population.

As part of this, we have commissioned Public Health England to consider the impact of various factors such as ethnicity, obesity, age, gender and geographical location, where data is available.

The Minister of State for Home Affairs and Housing, Communities and Local Government (the noble Lord Greenhalgh) has written to councils outlining their responsibility to support all communities, including Gypsy and Traveller communities, and to ensure they have access to water, sanitation and waste collections. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Rough Sleeping and Housing (Luke Hall MP) has written to owners and managers of caravan sites making clear they should keep sites open to allow people to remain if they would otherwise have nowhere to live.

14th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) reports that 58 per cent of Roma, and 43 per cent of Travellers, who have been tested for COVID-19 in Ireland have had a positive result, and (2), plans by the government of the Republic of Ireland to set up a mobile unit to test and treat marginalised groups in inner cities, with rapid delivery of test results; and whether they have any plans to set up similar facilities in the UK.

We are keen to learn from examples of best practice wherever they exist and the Department will continue to work with other countries throughout the crisis and beyond.

We are developing “prototypes” to pilot equal access to testing using existing local authority networks. The learning from these pilots will be disseminated to all local authorities in order to establish a national framework to support groups such as the Roma, Gypsy and Traveller communities.

We are also setting up a series of local testing sites to make testing easier to access for those without digital or vehicle access. 11 are operational as at 14 July 2020.

13th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to Resolution C15/2021 of the Universal Postal Union that stamps from the Chagos Islands must be issued by the government of Mauritius to be valid, what assessment they have made of the continued sale of British Indian Ocean Territory postage stamps.

We are disappointed by the Universal Postal Union's resolution C15/2021. The UK has no doubt as to our sovereignty over the British Indian Ocean Territory, which has been under continuous British sovereignty since 1814. Adoption of this resolution means that the Universal Postal Union will no longer register, distribute, or forward BIOT stamps issued by the Territory. However UK stamps continue to be used for the UK military postal service, accessible to UK military and civilian contractors.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to hold discussions with the government of Mauritius in relation to a settlement concerning the future of the Chagos Islands which will (1) allow Chagossians to return to the islands, and (2) safeguard the future of the UK military base on Diego Garcia.

There are no current plans for discussions with the Government of Mauritius on the future of BIOT which will allow Chagossians to return to the islands. We remain open to dialogue with Mauritius on matters of shared interest, including BIOT and its Marine Protected Area (MPA). The defence facilities on BIOT help to keep people here in the United Kingdom and around the world safe. The UK will cede sovereignty of the territory to Mauritius when it is no longer required for defence purposes.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
13th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the human rights implications of the exclusion of Baháʼí students from universities in Iran as a consequence of policies set by the Iranian Education Monitoring and Evaluation Organization; and what representations they have made, if any, to the government of Iran in relation to such exclusions.

The UK is committed to defending freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all, and promoting respect between different religious and non-religious communities. Promoting the right to FoRB is one of the UK's longstanding human rights priorities.

The Baha'i community in Iran continue to be systematically discriminated against, harassed, and targeted. We have repeatedly raised these persistent human rights violations with Iran. On 9 March, at the UN Human Rights Council, the UK called on Iran to end the discrimination and persecution of religious minorities, particularly towards the Baha'i and Christian converts. The education ministry's reported policies are another example of this discrimination. All religious or ethnic minorities should be allowed to participate fully in society and, together with the international community, we have pressed Iran to improve its poor record on all human rights issues. We call on President Raisi to set Iran on a different course and commit to improving human rights in Iran, including for all religious minorities.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
29th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park on 9 June (HL981), what plans they have to propose amendments to the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court to include the crime of ecocide by amending preambular paragraph 2 and article 8 of the Rome Statute, as proposed by the Stop Ecocide Foundation in their document Independent Expert Panel for the Legal Definition of Ecocide, published on 22 June.

Ecocide is not a crime recognised under existing international law and there is currently no consensus on its legal definition. Its removal from the drafting process of the Rome Statute was significant in gaining agreement on the crimes included within the International Criminal Court's jurisdiction.

The Rome Statute already provides for some protections to the natural environment in armed conflict, designating intentional attacks that knowingly and excessively cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment as a war crime.

The UK's priority is to reform and strengthen the Court to function efficiently and effectively and deliver successful prosecutions. This is a major State-Party driven process where the involvement of States Parties is fundamental to success. A significant amendment such as this is unlikely to achieve the support of the 82 States necessary to pass the amendment.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
15th Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to progress the proposed Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity.

The United Kingdom supported the International Law Commission's work on the prevention and punishment of crimes against humanity and would welcome a convention. We will continue to seek consensus within the UN General Assembly Sixth Committee for a concrete timetable for negotiations.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
25th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of the United Arab Emirates regarding the imprisonment of Albert Douglas.

Whilst the FCDO cannot interfere in the legal processes of another country, officials have been in contact with the UAE authorities to raise concerns for Mr Douglas' health and welfare, and to ensure his access to medical treatment. Consular staff are in contact with Mr Douglas and are providing him with ongoing support.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to secure the future of the military base on Diego Garcia by negotiating a settlement of the sovereignty dispute with the government of Mauritius.

There are no current plans for negotiations with the Government of Mauritius on the future of BIOT. We remain open to dialogue with Mauritius on matters of shared interest, including BIOT and its Marine Protected Area (MPA).

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the China Tribunal Judgment, published on 17 June 2019, on the government of China’s organ harvesting from Falun Gong practitioners; and what action they intend to take regarding the government of China’s treatment of Falun Gong practitioners.

We remain concerned by all restrictions placed on freedom of religion or belief in China, including on practitioners of Falun Gong. We continue to monitor the issue of alleged organ harvesting closely and consider carefully all evidence presented to us. As we have previously stated, if the allegations of systematic, state sponsored organ harvesting are true they would constitute very grave violations of human rights.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 15 February (HL12876) and the judgment by the Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on 28 January concerning the delimitation of a maritime boundary between the Exclusive Economic Zones of Mauritius and Maldives in the vicinity of the Chagos Archipelago, what assessment they have made of whether the UK and the Republic of the Maldives are also entitled to agree a delimitation of a maritime boundary between the UK (in respect of its claim to the British Indian Ocean Territory) and the Republic of the Maldives.

The judgment by the Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) was in relation to the delimitation of a maritime boundary claimed by Mauritius to exist between Mauritius and the Republic of Maldives in the Indian Ocean. The UK was not a party to those proceedings, which can have no effect for the UK or for maritime delimitation between the UK (in respect of the British Indian Ocean Territory) and Maldives.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
11th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Kosovo about permitting to Kosovan Roma who were forced to leave Kosovo as a result of war the right to vote in the forthcoming elections in that country.

In the run up to the recent elections, we publicly and privately encouraged the electoral authorities in Kosovo to ensure all eligible overseas voters in Kosovo were able to do so, regardless of ethnicity. These snap elections had a shorter preparatory period than normal, putting pressure on the Central Election Commission and creating risks that not all ballots cast overseas would arrive on time. The process of verifying and counting the votes from overseas is now underway.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to make representations to the government of Kosovo about allowing Kosovan Roma in other countries the right to vote in the forthcoming elections.

In the run up to the recent elections, we publicly and privately encouraged the electoral authorities in Kosovo to ensure all eligible overseas voters in Kosovo were able to do so, regardless of ethnicity. These snap elections had a shorter preparatory period than normal, putting pressure on the Central Election Commission and creating risks that not all ballots cast overseas would arrive on time. The process of verifying and counting the votes from overseas is now underway.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of China about parole for Dr Gulshan Abbas on humanitarian grounds.

We are concerned at reports of the sentencing of Dr Gulshan Abbas to 20 years in jail, and note the health concerns expressed by her family. The Foreign Secretary has raised our serious concerns about the human rights situation in Xinjiang directly with his counterpart, China's Foreign Minister and State Counsellor Wang Yi. The UK has also repeatedly taken a leading international role in holding China to account internationally. For example, our joint statement at the UN General Assembly Third Committee in October 2020, where alongside Germany, we brought together a total of 39 countries to express grave concern at the situation in Xinjiang, and called for China to allow unfettered access to the region for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and other independent observers.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
1st Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the judgment by the Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea on 28 January concerning the delimitation of maritime boundary between Mauritius and Maldives, which found that the Advisory Opinion was determinative of Mauritian sovereignty, what steps they are taking to comply with (1) the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice, published on 25 February 2019 and (2) the UN General Assembly Resolution 73/295 from 22 May 2019.

The United Kingdom is aware of the judgment delivered on 28 January by the Special Chamber of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) formed to deal with the dispute concerning delimitation of a maritime boundary claimed by Mauritius to exist between Mauritius and Maldives in the Indian Ocean (Mauritius/Maldives). The UK is not a party to these proceedings, which can have no effect for the UK or for maritime delimitation between the UK (in respect of the British Indian Ocean Territory) and the Republic of the Maldives.

The UK Government respects the International Court of Justice and has considered the content of the Advisory Opinion carefully, but does not share the Court's approach. An Advisory Opinion is not a legally binding judgment, it is advice provided to the UN General Assembly at its request. The UN General Assembly resolution is also non-binding.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
3rd Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Sugg on 18 November (HL10143), whether they accept the description used by the International Court of Justice in its Advisory Opinion of 25 February 2019 Legal Consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965 that Chagossians were "forcibly removed" by the UK between 1967 and 1973.

The UK Government has expressed sincere regret about the manner in which Chagossians were removed from BIOT in the 1960s and 1970s. In its Written Statement to the ICJ, the UK accepted that the way that Chagossians were treated was wrong and that there was a callous disregard for their interests. However, the UK did not characterise their treatment in the same terms as those used in the Advisory Opinion.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Sugg on 18 November (HL10143), what assessment they have made of the extent to which their Chagossian support package, announced on 16 November 2016 (HCWS260), (1) addresses the aspiration of those Chagossians who wish to return or resettle in the Chagos Islands, and (2) takes into account the Advisory Opinion Legal Consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965 issued by the International Court of Justice on 25 February 2019, which found that resettlement "is an issue relating to the protection of the human rights of those concerned which should be addressed by the General Assembly during the completion of the decolonization of Mauritius".

The decision not to support resettlement followed an independent feasibility study of the practicalities of resettlement (published in February 2015) and a public consultation (results published in January 2016). The consultation found that there were differing indications of the likely demand from Chagossians for resettlement across the communities in the UK, Mauritius, the Seychelles and elsewhere.

The UK Government is determined to use the Support Package to address the aspirations of those Chagossians who wish to return or resettle, and all the community: the desire for better lives, and to maintain a connection to the Territory. For those that wish to return, the Support Package has funded to date eight heritage visits, with a total of 154 visiting the Territory. Unfortunately due to the pandemic we have had to suspend the Heritage Visit programme, but will resume it as soon as it is safe to do so. Beyond the programme of visits, the package focuses on improved access to health and social care, better education and employment opportunities, and cultural conservation. The detail of the package is kept under constant review and we remain committed to engaging with Chagossians to explore ways to better deliver its objectives.

The Support Package was announced in 2016 and is not affected by the International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion of 25 February 2019.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of allegations that (1) the removal between 1968 and 1973, and (2) the subsequent treatment, of the inhabitants of the Chagos Islands is a crime against humanity as defined in Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; and how they intend to respond to those allegations.

The UK does not accept this characterisation of the removal of Chagossians from the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), or subsequent treatment of former inhabitants. Nor is this a description used by either the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its Advisory Opinion, or the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) Tribunal members in the Award in respect of the circumstances of the removal of Chagossians.

The UK Government has expressed sincere regret about the manner in which Chagossians were removed from BIOT in the 1960s and 1970s. While it has decided not to support resettlement, the UK Government is determined to address the aspirations of Chagossians which make them seek to resettle, which are the desire for better lives, and the desire to maintain a connection to the Territory.

21st Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Sugg on 3 August (HL7037), whether they will now answer the question put, namely, what has been the total cost to the public purse of the UK’s participation in recent proceedings before the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965.

These advisory proceedings in the International Court of Justice concerned a request for an advisory opinion from the United Nations General Assembly. All Member States of the United Nations were invited to participate in the proceedings. Thirty-one States and the African Union filed written statements, and ten States and the African Union filed written comments on the written statements. Twenty-two States and the African Union participated in the oral proceedings.

The UK participated at all stages of the proceedings. From the accessible records held by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, the legal costs of the UK's participation were £309,608.20. This figure comprises Counsels' fees and Government Legal Department fees.

28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Nigeria about (1) the detention of Mubarak Bala, and (2) reports that the detention has included no contact with the detainee's (a) family, or (b) legal representatives.

The UK Government is monitoring Mr Bala's case closely. We continue to stress to the Government of Nigeria the importance of a transparent investigation that respects Mr Bala's human rights, the rule of law, and the Nigerian constitutional right to freedom of religion or belief. Our High Commission in Abuja discussed the case with the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the police after Mr Bala's arrest. James Duddridge (Minister for Africa) raised Mr Bala's case directly with the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs on 21 May.

We welcome the recent magistrate court order instructing the police to allow Mr Bala access to legal representation. We call on the relevant authorities to ensure that the order is followed, and that Mr Bala's family are permitted visiting rights in line with local law and current Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. Defending freedom of religion or belief for all remains a UK Government policy priority and we will continue to use our voice internationally to protect this human right.

20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Sugg on 17 July (HL6542), what has been the total cost to the public purse of the UK’s participation in recent proceedings before the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965.

These advisory proceedings in the International Court of Justice concerned a request for an advisory opinion from the United Nations General Assembly. All Member States of the United Nations were invited to participate in the proceedings. Thirty-one States and the African Union filed written statements, and ten States and the African Union filed written comments on the written statements. Twenty-two States and the African Union participated in the oral proceedings, which took place in September 2018. The UK participated at all stages of the proceedings. The ICJ handed down its advisory opinion in February 2019.

6th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what has been the total cost to the public purse of defending the cases brought against them by the government of Mauritius before (1) the International Court of Justice, and (2) the tribunal constituted under Annex VII of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The UK, alongside a number of United Nations member States, participated in recent proceedings before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). These proceedings were not contentious proceedings brought by Mauritius against the UK. Rather they were advisory proceedings following a request from the United Nations General Assembly for an advisory opinion from the ICJ.

From the accessible records held by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the legal costs incurred by the UK in defending the proceedings brought by Mauritius in an arbitral tribunal constituted under Annex VII of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea were £1,505,720.00 (comprising Counsels' fees and arbitration fees which were shared with Mauritius).

6th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what has been the total cost to the public purse of defending all legal actions brought against them (1) by, or (2) on behalf of, Chagossians in (a) courts, or (b) tribunals, in England and Wales since 1998; and whether their assessment of these costs includes the staff costs of Foreign and Commonwealth Office personnel working on these cases.

From the accessible records held by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, the legal costs of defending all actions brought against HMG by or on behalf of Chagossians in domestic courts or tribunals since 1998 to present are £3,971,391.17.

This figure has not been adjusted to take account of costs awarded to HMG.

It is not possible to assess the staff costs of FCO officials working on these cases, as staff time is not recorded in this way.

15th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the support expressed by the Prime Minister for the Black Lives Matter campaign in his message of 8 June, what steps they are taking to ensure that the ethos of that campaign is fully incorporated into their decision-making regarding the treatment of citizens of the British Indian Ocean Territory and the right of return of Chagossians to the Outer Islands.

The UK Government has expressed sincere regret about the manner in which Chagossians were removed from the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) in the 1960s and 1970s. It announced in November 2016 that resettlement of Chagossians could not be supported on the grounds of feasibility, defence and security interests, and cost to the British taxpayer. The Government further announced at that time that it would implement a support package worth approximately £40 million over ten years. The support package intends to provide Chagossians in the communities in which they currently live - predominantly UK, Mauritius and Seychelles, - with better life chances. The Government recognises the emotional connection of Chagossians to BIOT, and has expanded the heritage visit programme to allow more Chagossians to visit in the coming years.

10th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have received the report of the United Nations Secretary-General to the United Nations General Assembly on the implementation of its resolution calling on the United Kingdom to return the Chagos Islands to Mauritius by 22 November 2019; and if not, when they expect to receive it.

The United Nations published the Secretary General's report on the 'Advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legal consequences of the separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965' on 12 June. The UK government has issued a statement following the publication of this report. A copy of the statement can be found at gov.uk, United Nations Secretary General's report on the implementation of Resolution 73/295: UK statement.

11th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the consistency with which the term “freedom of religion or belief” is used in their publications instead of “religious freedom”; and what steps they will take to ensure that only the term “freedom of religion or belief” is used.

The United Kingdom is committed to defending freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief as set out in international law. We attach great importance to referring to 'Freedom of Religion or Belief' in publications, as we assess this best captures the freedom to have a faith, belief, or no belief at all. On occasion, the British Government has referred to 'religious freedom' as a short-hand, but we strive to ensure that 'Freedom of Religion or Belief' is referred as often as practicable, particularly in formal publications.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that Iran’s Baha'i minority are being prevented from obtaining identity cards under new rules, thereby depriving them of basic civil rights.

We are aware of reports that Iran's Baha'i community are being prevented from obtaining identity cards under new rules, depriving them of accessing many basic services. We remain concerned about the continued harassment and mistreatment that the Baha'i and other minority religious groups face. We support the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran's assessment that discrimination against the Baha'is in Iran is sanctioned by a lack of constitutional recognition. We regularly call upon Iran to cease harassment of all religious minorities and to fulfil its international and domestic obligations to protect freedom of religion or belief to all Iranians.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
9th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of NatWest bank's closure, without explanation, of the accounts of (1) small business customers after their approval for loans under the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, and (2) the members of the Facebook group ‘NatWest closed down my account'.

The Government believes that any dispute arising between banks and their customers is usually best resolved by the parties involved. If a customer wishes to pursue a complaint, their first recourse is through the bank's official customer complaints procedure. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requires banks to properly investigate all complaints and, through ongoing supervision, it continues to monitor the banks' complaint handling processes.

If a customer is not satisfied with their bank's response to their complaint, then they may wish to consider an approach to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS provides a free, independent dispute resolution service for bank customers, including eligible small businesses.

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
6th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many immigration detention cases they have reviewed since the Home Office committed to review urgently the cases of every person held in immigration detention.

I refer the Noble Lady to my answer of 16 June 2020 regarding immigration detention cases reviewed, which can be found at:

https://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-questions-answers/?page=1&max=20&questiontype=AllQuestions&house=commons%2Clords&uin=58843

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
29th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to mitigate the issues faced by Roma EU citizens resident in the UK, with settled status, who may have their applications for naturalisation refused because they did not have Comprehensive Sickness Insurance before settled status was granted throughout any period of self-sufficiency or as a student.

It has always been a requirement for a person to have been in the UK lawfully during the residential qualifying period for naturalisation.

EEA Regulations set out the requirements which individuals need to follow if they wish to reside here lawfully before attaining permanent residence. For example, in the case of students or the self-sufficient – but not those who were working here – the possession of comprehensive sickness insurance has always been a requirement under these regulations. Our customer guidance explains this position.

The British Nationality Act allows us to exercise discretion over this requirement in the special circumstances of a case. The nationality application form and guide encourage applicants to give us relevant information to help us do so, including for Roma EU citizens.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what account Sir Mark Rowley’s review of the adequacy of hate crime legislation will take of the incidents recorded by GateHerts against members of the Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities.

The review is being conducted by Sir Mark Rowley on behalf of the Commission for Countering Extremism which is independent of the Home Office. The review aims to identify any gaps in existing legislation that may be used to tackle extremism and to make practical recommendations on changes to existing offences and powers.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Mar 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 13 February (HL1230, HL1231, HL1232), why the Equality Impact Assessment was not included in the consultation Strengthening police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments.

All Government departments have a responsibility to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) under the Equality Act 2010.

As such, when formulating any policy changes, Ministers must have due regard to the need to: (1) eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by or under the Equality Act 2010, (2) advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not, and (3) foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.

This ongoing duty has been and will continue to be met. The consultation document has addressed these three limbs of the PSED which are referenced on pages 21 to 22 (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/844954/Unauthorised_Encampments_-_consultation_paper.pdf).

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
30th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in their recent consultation Strengthening police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments, the Home Office took note of the Government's Consultations Principles Guidance 2018; and whether the Home Office intends to review its consultation in order to ensure that the views of Gypsies and Travellers can be reflected.

Home Office officials have worked with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community (GRT) to agree a bespoke consultation response system to ensure they are able to fully contribute to the ongoing consultation.

This bespoke system is now in operation and provides an opportunity for the GRT community to submit their views in a simplified format on the general proposals contained in the consultation. Since its launch last month, over 1700 responses have been received by the Home Office through this method. The views of respondents will be captured in the consultation response.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
30th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the Home Office did not include an Equality Impact Assessment in their recent consultation Strengthening police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments; and what plans they have to conduct such an assessment.

Home Office officials have worked with the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller community (GRT) to agree a bespoke consultation response system to ensure they are able to fully contribute to the ongoing consultation.

This bespoke system is now in operation and provides an opportunity for the GRT community to submit their views in a simplified format on the general proposals contained in the consultation. Since its launch last month, over 1700 responses have been received by the Home Office through this method. The views of respondents will be captured in the consultation response.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Sep 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Future Homes Task Force Delivery Plan to deliver net zero homes.

On the 27th July, the industry-led Future Homes Task Force published a Delivery Plan that sets out the action needed from industry to deliver new homes in line with government’s climate, environmental and sustainability targets by 2050. Relevant government departments (MHCLG, BEIS and Defra) were consulted on the development of the Delivery Plan, which aligns with upcoming regulation such as the Future Homes Standard and with wider environmental policies and priorities such as those on bio-diversity net gain and water efficiency.

The Task Force also announced the creation of the industry-led Future Homes Hub to oversee implementation of the Delivery Plan. The Future Homes Hub will help industry by coordinating pilot developments and prototypes, identifying operational solutions, carrying out research and analysis into delivery challenges and producing technical guidance. The knowledge and outputs from the Hub’s work will be freely shared with industry to help minimise costs and support effective delivery, which will be particularly helpful for SMEs.

It is right that industry leads this work and steps up where necessary to ensure it can meet the challenges associated with the country’s net zero ambitions. Government is pleased to support the work of the Future Homes Hub and senior officials from MHCLG, BEIS, Defra and Homes England sit on the Hub’s board in non-executive roles, helping advise on its programme of work and offering strategic guidance.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
26th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the research by Katharine Quarmby 'Systemic Racism within a Rigged System', published in Byline Times on 24 May, on the risks to health and wellbeing on 242 authorised Gypsy and traveller sites; and what steps they will take in response.

The Planning Policy for Traveller Sites (PPTS) which was published alongside the National Planning Policy Framework (the Framework) in 2012 recognises the differing needs and land use of travelling communities and encourages improved site provision.

The Planning Policy for Traveller Sites sets out that authorities should ensure that traveller sites are sustainable economically, socially and environmentally ensuring that (amongst other matters) policies provide for proper consideration of the effect of local environmental quality (such as noise and air quality) on the health and well-being of travellers that may locate there.

The Government remains firmly committed to delivering a cross-government strategy to tackle the inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to implement the undertakings they made in their response to the House of Commons' Women and Equalities Committee report Tackling inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, published on 5 April 2019.

The Government made a number of commitments across departments in its response to the Committee’s report in July 2019. While the Government’s top priority has been to respond to the unprecedented challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, we are continuing to progress the measures we outlined in our response to the Committee, chief among them our commitment to deliver a cross-government strategy to tackle the inequalities faced by Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities.

In our response to the Committee we committed to tackle inequalities in a number of areas, including education. My department has invested £400,000 into education and training programmes for over 100 Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children and young people, to receive extra tuition to catch up on lost learning during the pandemic, one-to-one support and expert guidance to help them progress in education or find employment.

This is in addition to the Department for Education’s National Tutoring Programme, worth £350 million, which will increase access to high-quality tuition for the most disadvantaged young people over the 2020-21 academic year. The Department of Education also recently made the announcement about additional laptops and tablets to be made available in 2021 for schools and colleges.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to allow the same number of people to attend a humanist wedding as religious and civil weddings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Humanists weddings can take place with 15 people present under these Regulations, as is the case for religious ceremonies and civil ceremonies.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
27th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they plan to mark Roma Holocaust Memorial Day on 2 August.

Every year we honour the memory of the Roma and Sinti population murdered by the Nazi's at the annual Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations on 27 January. The 2nd of August marked the liquidation of the Gypsy Family camp' at Auschwitz-Birkenau and this year due to the restrictions on gatherings brought about by the Covid 19 pandemic I honoured the memory of the Roma and Sinti men, women and children murdered by the Nazi's by releasing a short film on social media.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the task force on rough sleeping led by Dame Louise Casey will provide specific support for Roma rough sleepers to ensure that possible language barriers and concerns about dealing with officials are overcome.

We want to ensure local areas have the tools they need to meet the diverse needs of anyone who has been sleeping rough, regardless of their background.

The recently announced taskforce spearheaded by Dame Louise Casey will work with local government, charities, businesses, faith and community groups, and other public sector partners across the country, leading the next phase of the Government’s support for rough sleepers during the pandemic.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government maintains close contact with Roma stakeholder groups. Through this continued stakeholder engagement, we ensure all our policy approaches are informed by a wide range of considerations and meet the needs of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities in the UK.

Lord Greenhalgh
Minister of State (Home Office)
15th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the total number of unreleased Imprisonment for Public Protection prisoners in (1) Category A, (2) Category B, (3) Category C, and (4) Category D; and how many years are left on their tariff in each case.

The Government is committed to the protection of the public and the effective management of offenders. By law, prisoners serving indeterminate sentences who have completed their tariff will be released only when the independent Parole Board concludes that the risk they present to the public is capable of being safely managed in the community under probation supervision.

The following two tables show the number of unreleased prisoners serving an IPP sentence at 31 March 2021, by gender, ethnicity and the number of years to their tariff expiry, in England and Wales. The total number of IPP prisoners recorded in these two tables is 1,784.

Table 1

Gender

Number (Row Total)

Less than 1 year

1 year to less than 2 years

2 year to less than 3 years

3 year to less than 4 years

4 year to less than 5 years

5 or more years

Tariff expired

Tariff unavailable

Male

1,761

24

22

13

5

6

7

1,682

2

Female

23

0

0

0

0

0

0

23

0

Table 2

Ethnicity

Number (Row Total)

Less than 1 year

1 year to less than 2 years

2 year to less than 3 years

3 year to less than 4 years

4 year to less than 5 years

5 or more years

Tariff expired

Tariff unavailable

Asian or Asian British

92

3

0

2

2

1

1

83

0

Black or Black British

229

7

5

3

1

1

4

208

0

Mixed

70

0

3

0

0

0

0

67

0

Other ethnic group

8

0

0

0

0

0

0

8

0

White

1,380

14

14

8

2

4

2

1,334

2

Unrecorded

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Not stated

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

0

The following two tables show the number of recalled prisoners serving an IPP sentence at 31 March 2021, by gender and ethnicity, in England and Wales. All recalled IPP prisoners are post tariff as it is not possible to release an IPP prisoner prior to the expiry of their minimum tariff date. The total number of IPP prisoners recorded in these two tables is 1,350.

Table 3

Gender

Number

Male

1,327

Female

23

Table 4

Ethnicity

Number

Asian or Asian British

42

Black or Black British

161

Mixed

74

Other ethnic group/Not Stated

4

White

1,069

The table below shows the number of unreleased prisoners serving an IPP sentence at 31 March 2021, by security category and the number of years to their tariff expiry, in England and Wales. The total number of IPP prisoners recorded in the below table is 1,784.

Table 5

Security Category

Number (Row Total)

Less than 1 year

1 year to less than 2 years

2 year to less than 3 years

3 year to less than 4 years

4 year to less than 5 years

5 or more years

Tariff expired

Tariff unavailable

A

17

1

1

0

0

1

0

14

0

B

323

2

1

3

1

2

5

309

0

C

871

7

13

9

4

4

1

831

2

D

548

14

7

1

0

0

0

526

0

Females (open and closed)

23

0

0

0

0

0

0

23

0

Others

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

A prisoner’s individual needs in relation to offending behaviour and resettlement, or their individual circumstances (such as medical requirements) may result in an individual being held in a prison of a higher category than their own approved category. Prisoners will not be allocated to a prison of a lower security category than the security category assigned to them personally.

Notes for all figures:

  1. These figures have been drawn from the Public Protection Unit Database and Prison-NOMIS held by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service. As with any large scale recording systems, the figures are subject to possible errors with data migration and processing.
  2. Tariff refers to the length of time between date of sentence and tariff expiry date.
Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
15th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what they estimate to be the total number of recalled Imprisonment for Public Protection prisoners broken down by (1) gender, and (2) ethnicity; and how many years are left on their tariff in each case.

The Government is committed to the protection of the public and the effective management of offenders. By law, prisoners serving indeterminate sentences who have completed their tariff will be released only when the independent Parole Board concludes that the risk they present to the public is capable of being safely managed in the community under probation supervision.

The following two tables show the number of unreleased prisoners serving an IPP sentence at 31 March 2021, by gender, ethnicity and the number of years to their tariff expiry, in England and Wales. The total number of IPP prisoners recorded in these two tables is 1,784.

Table 1

Gender

Number (Row Total)

Less than 1 year

1 year to less than 2 years

2 year to less than 3 years

3 year to less than 4 years

4 year to less than 5 years

5 or more years

Tariff expired

Tariff unavailable

Male

1,761

24

22

13

5

6

7

1,682

2

Female

23

0

0

0

0

0

0

23

0

Table 2

Ethnicity

Number (Row Total)

Less than 1 year

1 year to less than 2 years

2 year to less than 3 years

3 year to less than 4 years

4 year to less than 5 years

5 or more years

Tariff expired

Tariff unavailable

Asian or Asian British

92

3

0

2

2

1

1

83

0

Black or Black British

229

7

5

3

1

1

4

208

0

Mixed

70

0

3

0

0

0

0

67

0

Other ethnic group

8

0

0

0

0

0

0

8

0

White

1,380

14

14

8

2

4

2

1,334

2

Unrecorded

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Not stated

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

0

The following two tables show the number of recalled prisoners serving an IPP sentence at 31 March 2021, by gender and ethnicity, in England and Wales. All recalled IPP prisoners are post tariff as it is not possible to release an IPP prisoner prior to the expiry of their minimum tariff date. The total number of IPP prisoners recorded in these two tables is 1,350.

Table 3

Gender

Number

Male

1,327

Female

23

Table 4

Ethnicity

Number

Asian or Asian British

42

Black or Black British

161

Mixed

74

Other ethnic group/Not Stated

4

White

1,069

The table below shows the number of unreleased prisoners serving an IPP sentence at 31 March 2021, by security category and the number of years to their tariff expiry, in England and Wales. The total number of IPP prisoners recorded in the below table is 1,784.

Table 5

Security Category

Number (Row Total)

Less than 1 year

1 year to less than 2 years

2 year to less than 3 years

3 year to less than 4 years

4 year to less than 5 years

5 or more years

Tariff expired

Tariff unavailable

A

17

1

1

0

0

1

0

14

0

B

323

2

1

3

1

2

5

309

0

C

871

7

13

9

4

4

1

831

2

D

548

14

7

1

0

0

0

526

0

Females (open and closed)

23

0

0

0

0

0

0

23

0

Others

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

A prisoner’s individual needs in relation to offending behaviour and resettlement, or their individual circumstances (such as medical requirements) may result in an individual being held in a prison of a higher category than their own approved category. Prisoners will not be allocated to a prison of a lower security category than the security category assigned to them personally.

Notes for all figures:

  1. These figures have been drawn from the Public Protection Unit Database and Prison-NOMIS held by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service. As with any large scale recording systems, the figures are subject to possible errors with data migration and processing.
  2. Tariff refers to the length of time between date of sentence and tariff expiry date.
Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
15th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what they estimate to be the total number of unreleased Imprisonment for Public Protection prisoners broken down by (1) gender, and (2) ethnicity; and how many years are left on their tariff in each case.

The Government is committed to the protection of the public and the effective management of offenders. By law, prisoners serving indeterminate sentences who have completed their tariff will be released only when the independent Parole Board concludes that the risk they present to the public is capable of being safely managed in the community under probation supervision.

The following two tables show the number of unreleased prisoners serving an IPP sentence at 31 March 2021, by gender, ethnicity and the number of years to their tariff expiry, in England and Wales. The total number of IPP prisoners recorded in these two tables is 1,784.

Table 1

Gender

Number (Row Total)

Less than 1 year

1 year to less than 2 years

2 year to less than 3 years

3 year to less than 4 years

4 year to less than 5 years

5 or more years

Tariff expired

Tariff unavailable

Male

1,761

24

22

13

5

6

7

1,682

2

Female

23

0

0

0

0

0

0

23

0

Table 2

Ethnicity

Number (Row Total)

Less than 1 year

1 year to less than 2 years

2 year to less than 3 years

3 year to less than 4 years

4 year to less than 5 years

5 or more years

Tariff expired

Tariff unavailable

Asian or Asian British

92

3

0

2

2

1

1

83

0

Black or Black British

229

7

5

3

1

1

4

208

0

Mixed

70

0

3

0

0

0

0

67

0

Other ethnic group

8

0

0

0

0

0

0

8

0

White

1,380

14

14

8

2

4

2

1,334

2

Unrecorded

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

Not stated

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

4

0

The following two tables show the number of recalled prisoners serving an IPP sentence at 31 March 2021, by gender and ethnicity, in England and Wales. All recalled IPP prisoners are post tariff as it is not possible to release an IPP prisoner prior to the expiry of their minimum tariff date. The total number of IPP prisoners recorded in these two tables is 1,350.

Table 3

Gender

Number

Male

1,327

Female

23

Table 4

Ethnicity

Number

Asian or Asian British

42

Black or Black British

161

Mixed

74

Other ethnic group/Not Stated

4

White

1,069

The table below shows the number of unreleased prisoners serving an IPP sentence at 31 March 2021, by security category and the number of years to their tariff expiry, in England and Wales. The total number of IPP prisoners recorded in the below table is 1,784.

Table 5

Security Category

Number (Row Total)

Less than 1 year

1 year to less than 2 years

2 year to less than 3 years

3 year to less than 4 years

4 year to less than 5 years

5 or more years

Tariff expired

Tariff unavailable

A

17

1

1

0

0

1

0

14

0

B

323

2

1

3

1

2

5

309

0

C

871

7

13

9

4

4

1

831

2

D

548

14

7

1

0

0

0

526

0

Females (open and closed)

23

0

0

0

0

0

0

23

0

Others

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

A prisoner’s individual needs in relation to offending behaviour and resettlement, or their individual circumstances (such as medical requirements) may result in an individual being held in a prison of a higher category than their own approved category. Prisoners will not be allocated to a prison of a lower security category than the security category assigned to them personally.

Notes for all figures:

  1. These figures have been drawn from the Public Protection Unit Database and Prison-NOMIS held by Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service. As with any large scale recording systems, the figures are subject to possible errors with data migration and processing.
  2. Tariff refers to the length of time between date of sentence and tariff expiry date.
Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
23rd Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many cases of Imprisonment for Public Protection are supervised in the community by the National Probation Service, by number of years since the tariff.

As at 31 December 2020, there were 3,125 offenders serving a sentence of Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) being supervised in the community by the Probation Service in England and Wales. For the purposes of providing the information requested, relevant variables could be matched across the two separate datasets held centrally in only 2,637 of those cases.

Years since
tariff expiry

Number of IPP offenders supervised in the community

Less than 12 months

4

1

16

2

38

3

58

4

80

5

125

6

145

7

230

8

260

9

314

10

361

11

431

12

347

13

196

14

32

Total

2,637

The figures in this table have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

Offenders serving an IPP sentence may be released into the community once they have completed their tariff only at the discretion of the Independent Parole Board. Once released, they are managed under licence by the Probation Service. The IPP licence period differs from licences for other indeterminate sentences in that, after 10 years from first release by the Parole Board, offenders can apply to the Board to have the licence terminated. The minimum 10-year period is not paused or reset if an offender is recalled to prison or serves a subsequent sentence for further offences.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
16th Mar 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to introduce legislation in response to the Law Commission’s forthcoming review on weddings law.

The Law Commission is conducting a fundamental review of the law on how and where people can legally marry in England and Wales. As part of that review, the Government invited the Law Commission to make recommendations about how marriage by humanist and other non-religious belief organisations could be incorporated into a revised or new scheme for all marriages that is simple, fair and consistent.

The Commission launched its consultation on 3 September 2020 and this closed on 4 January 2021. The law on wedding ceremonies is a complex and important area of the law. The Commission considered it essential to conduct an extensive consultation with the wide range of interested groups and individuals who would be affected by reform.

The Commission expects to report to Government with its recommendations in the second half of this year. The Government will decide on provision for non-religious belief marriage, on the basis of the Law Commission's recommendations.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
9th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to allow commercial wedding celebrants to perform legally recognised marriages without being precluded from carrying on a business of solemnising marriages for the purpose of profit or gain.

Reform to fundamental marriage law in England and Wales needs to be wholesale and not undertaken on a piecemeal basis. That is why we invited the Law Commission last year to review the law on how and where couples may marry. As part of that review, the Law Commission will make recommendations about how marriage by humanists and other non-religious belief organisations could be incorporated into a revised or new scheme for all marriages that is simple, fair and consistent.

The Law Commission’s consultation on weddings also considers how the law could allow independent celebrants to solemnize legal weddings. The Government will decide on provision on the basis of the Law Commission's recommendations.

The Law Commission published its consultation paper on 3 September and will welcome contributions from all stakeholders.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
9th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken to consider extending legal recognition of humanist marriages since 2013; and what further plans they have to do so.

Reform to fundamental marriage law in England and Wales needs to be wholesale and not undertaken on a piecemeal basis. That is why we invited the Law Commission last year to review the law on how and where couples may marry. As part of that review, the Law Commission will make recommendations about how marriage by humanists and other non-religious belief organisations could be incorporated into a revised or new scheme for all marriages that is simple, fair and consistent.

The Law Commission’s consultation on weddings also considers how the law could allow independent celebrants to solemnize legal weddings. The Government will decide on provision on the basis of the Law Commission's recommendations.

The Law Commission published its consultation paper on 3 September and will welcome contributions from all stakeholders.

Baroness Scott of Bybrook
Baroness in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government in which circumstances marriages in England and Wales are legally recognised by virtue of (1) the building in which the marriage takes place, (2) the registrar or officiant conducting the ceremony, and (3) the religion of the marriage.

In general terms, the law requires couples to give due notice of the marriage and to marry in the place specified when they gave notice and in the presence of certain people. Marriages are not automatically valid because they involve a certain building, person or religion: on the contrary, they are capable of legal recognition because they follow a route set out in statute. The statute law also sets out circumstances in which a marriage will be void.

As part of its review of the law on how and where couples may marry in England and Wales, the Law Commission will make recommendations regarding what the consequences of failing to comply with all or some of the requirements for a valid marriage should be. The Government looks forward to publication of its consultation paper in September.

20th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the reply by Lord Keen of Elie on 15 July (HL Deb, cols 1659–61), how the situation of Black and other minority ethnic defendants, including those from Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities, will be taken into account in (1) the membership, and (2) the terms of reference, of the Royal Commission on criminal justice.

The Government is committed to a justice system that is fair, open and accessible to all.

In defining the terms of reference and membership of the Royal Commission, we are taking into account the need for the Commission to understand effectively the experiences of all those that engage with the criminal justice system. This will of course need to include taking account issues of race and the experiences of Black and other minority ethnic people, including those from Gypsy, Traveller and Roma communities.

Further details will be announced in due course.

6th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress they have made in rectifying the absence of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers from official monitoring systems across the criminal justice system since the publication of the Lammy Review.

The Ministry of Justice is committed to improving collection and publication of data to identify and tackle any disparities in the Criminal Justice System.

In England and Wales, there are 18 ethnic groups recommended for use by government when asking for someone’s ethnicity. It is recognised that these ethnic groups do not represent how all people identify. People are encouraged to write in their ethnicity using their own words if they do not identify with any groups in the list.

Criminal justice organisations of England and Wales have adopted a revised Self-Defined 18+1 data standard to deliver greater precision when recording the defendant’s ethnicity status. This 18+1 standard added the option of “Gypsy or Irish Traveller”, however it does not include “Roma” and relies on self-identification by a defendant, who may choose to withhold this information.

Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) integrated the capability to collect data using the 18+1 standard into its systems from June 2018.

The Youth Justice Board (YJB) have also now extended the ethnic categorisation within the Youth Offending Team Case Management System to the 18+1 standard, meaning that “Gypsy or Irish Traveller” is now recorded as a separate ethnic group in addition to the other 18 ethnic groups recorded. This will enable the YJB to explore and better understand the experience throughout the Youth Justice System for GRT individuals and identify areas for potential work.

W3 (White: Gypsy or Irish Traveller) ethnicity has been available in nDelius, the probation service’s case management system, since its inception in 2013 following the “Gypsy or Irish Traveller” ethnicity option being included in the 2011 Census.

The Ministry of Justice has produced guidance for all criminal justice staff on working with GRT communities. This covers the importance of recording ethnicity and how to overcome the issues of low recording.

9th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the risk of the restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic leading to a significant loss of income for legal aid firms, what assessment they have made of the impact of the Legal Aid Agency’s practice of (1) permitting only two claims a year for ongoing cases, and (2) only paying 75 per cent of such claims.

The Ministry of Justice recently held a consultation on increasing the limits associated with claims for payment on account. This consultation closed on 16 June 2020.

Following this, the limit will be increased, allowing four such requests to be made in a twelve month period. This will be implemented once the necessary updates to infrastructure are completed, and the impact of this change will be kept under review.

9th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on legal aid firms of (1) the stay on possession proceedings for tenants until the end of August, and (2) any subsequent substantial loss of income; and what steps they are taking to ensure that such firms are paid for their work in accordance with the Cabinet Office’s Procurement Policy Note 02/20: Supplier relief due to COVID-19, published on 20 March.

MoJ is continuing to work closely with the Legal Aid Agency and HMCTS to assess the impact of Covid-19 on legal aid provision, and to support practitioners to work remotely when possible.

The Government have taken measures to support the sector include paying for virtual hearings in the same way as in-person hearings, halting pursuit of outstanding debts, relaxing some evidence requirements, and encouraging legal practitioners to use existing avenues of financial help, such as the ability to apply for early payment for work already done on a case. These measures will help Legal Aid providers adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

PN 02/20, which has been updated in PPN 04/20, requires contracting authorities to determine whether a supplier is ‘at risk’. In making that determination, an authority will need to consider what steps have been taken by a public-sector provider to access other available support, because providers have no automatic entitlement to relief payments under the PPN and should not use them to supplement or duplicate the wider support measures that have been made available to UK businesses.

Data on legal aid expenditure on areas such as housing possession is released quarterly by the Legal Aid Agency, with the next release scheduled for September.