Alistair Carmichael Portrait

Alistair Carmichael

Liberal Democrat - Orkney and Shetland

First elected: 7th June 2001

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs)

(since September 2020)

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)

(since September 2020)

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Justice)

(since July 2022)

Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)
7th Sep 2020 - 10th Jul 2022
Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Bill
2nd Feb 2022 - 9th Feb 2022
Local Government (Disqualification) Bill
24th Nov 2021 - 1st Dec 2021
Liberal Democrat Chief Whip
16th Jun 2017 - 7th Sep 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
6th Jan 2020 - 7th Sep 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)
6th Jan 2020 - 7th Sep 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)
16th Jun 2017 - 6th Jan 2020
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
7th Feb 2019 - 21st Aug 2019
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs)
29th Jul 2015 - 16th Jun 2017
Committee on Exiting the European Union
31st Oct 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Committee on the Future Relationship with the European Union
31st Oct 2016 - 3rd May 2017
Energy and Climate Change Committee
8th Jul 2015 - 17th Oct 2016
Secretary of State for Scotland
7th Oct 2013 - 8th May 2015
Comptroller (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Commons)
12th May 2010 - 7th Oct 2013
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Northern Ireland)
18th Oct 2007 - 6th May 2010
Scottish Affairs Committee
28th Jan 2008 - 6th May 2010
Consolidation etc. Bills (Joint Committee)
25th Mar 2008 - 6th May 2010
Members' Allowances
9th Feb 2009 - 6th May 2010
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Scotland)
1st Jun 2008 - 12th Apr 2010
Draft Constitutional Renewal Bill (Joint Committee)
1st May 2008 - 22nd Jul 2008
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Transport)
3rd Mar 2006 - 18th Oct 2007
Public Accounts Committee
12th Jul 2005 - 22nd May 2006
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs)
10th May 2005 - 2nd Mar 2006
Scottish Affairs Committee
16th Jul 2001 - 12th Jul 2005
Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change)
10th May 2001 - 10th May 2005
International Development Committee
5th Nov 2001 - 26th Feb 2002


Department Event
Wednesday 28th February 2024
11:30
Northern Ireland Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
28 Feb 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Northern Ireland
Save to Calendar
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Oral Question
Thursday 29th February 2024
09:30
Cabinet Office
Oral Question No. 9
What recent assessment he has made of the prevalence of the use of personal smartphones for conducting government business by Ministers and officials.
Save to Calendar
Department Event
Tuesday 26th March 2024
11:30
Ministry of Justice
Oral questions - Main Chamber
26 Mar 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Justice (including Topical Questions)
Save to Calendar
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Department Event
Wednesday 24th April 2024
11:30
Northern Ireland Office
Oral questions - Main Chamber
24 Apr 2024, 11:30 a.m.
Northern Ireland
Save to Calendar
View calendar
Note: This event involves a Department with which this person is linked, and does not guarantee their actual attendance.
Scheduled Event
Friday 21st June 2024
09:30
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
21 Jun 2024, 9:30 a.m.
Groceries Code Adjudicator (Powers and Duties) Bill: Second Reading
View calendar
Scheduled Event
Friday 21st June 2024
Private Members' Bills - Main Chamber
Family Visas (Minimum Income) Bill: Second Reading
View calendar
Division Votes
Tuesday 20th February 2024
Offshore Petroleum Licensing Bill
voted No - in line with the party majority
One of 11 Liberal Democrat No votes vs 0 Liberal Democrat Aye votes
Tally: Ayes - 286 Noes - 221
Speeches
Thursday 22nd February 2024
Post Office Horizon Scandal
The problem for many sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses is the quantification of what they are due to be repaid under the …
Written Answers
Monday 19th February 2024
Workplace Pensions: Regulation
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral contribution of The Parliamentary Under-Secretary …
Early Day Motions
Friday 2nd February 2024
200th anniversary of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution
That this House celebrates the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), formed on 4 …
Bills
Monday 19th February 2024
Family Visas (Minimum Income) Bill 2023-24
A Bill to prohibit any increase in the minimum income requirement for family visas; and for connected purposes.
MP Financial Interests
Monday 30th October 2023
1. Employment and earnings
30 January 2024, received £1,650 for attending eleven meetings. Hours: 11 hrs.
EDM signed
Thursday 8th February 2024
Jagtar Singh Johal
That this House notes that Jagtar Singh Johal, a Sikh activist and resident of Dumbarton, will be marking his 37th …
Supported Legislation
Wednesday 10th January 2024
Scottish Law Officers (Devolution) Bill 2023-24
A Bill to amend the Scotland Act 1998 to grant to the Scottish Parliament legislative competence in respect of the …

Division Voting information

During the current Parliament, Alistair Carmichael has voted in 683 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Alistair Carmichael 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
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Conservative)
(46 debate interactions)
Robert Jenrick (Conservative)
(31 debate interactions)
Dominic Raab (Conservative)
(28 debate interactions)
View All Sparring Partners
Department Debates
Home Office
(131 debate contributions)
Cabinet Office
(95 debate contributions)
View All Department Debates
View all Alistair Carmichael's debates

Orkney and Shetland Petitions

e-Petitions are administered by Parliament and allow members of the public to express support for a particular issue.

If an e-petition reaches 10,000 signatures the Government will issue a written response.

If an e-petition reaches 100,000 signatures the petition becomes eligible for a Parliamentary debate (usually Monday 4.30pm in Westminster Hall).

Petitions with highest Orkney and Shetland signature proportion
Petition Debates Contributed

Make it illegal for retailers and services to decline cash payments.

All businesses (excepting internet-based ones) and public services in which monetary transactions take place should be required by law to accept cash as a method of payment

Recognise the state of Palestine to help stop the conflict from Israel. Not recognising the Palestinian state allows Israel to continue their persecution of the Palestinians.

The Government should introduce sanctions against Israel, including blocking all trade, and in particular arms.

We want the Government to commit to not rolling out any e-vaccination status/immunity passport to the British public. Such passports could be used to restrict the rights of people who have refused a Covid-19 vaccine, which would be unacceptable.

The UK Government plans to introduce “Magnitsky law”, a law which targets people who commit gross human rights violations. Through this law or alternative means, this petition urges the UK Government to impose sanctions on China for their human rights violations on the Uyghur people.


Latest EDMs signed by Alistair Carmichael

7th February 2024
Alistair Carmichael signed this EDM on Thursday 8th February 2024

Jagtar Singh Johal

Tabled by: Martin Docherty-Hughes (Scottish National Party - West Dunbartonshire)
That this House notes that Jagtar Singh Johal, a Sikh activist and resident of Dumbarton, will be marking his 37th birthday on 9 February, his sixth in arbitrary detention in India since being abducted from the street during his honeymoon by unidentified assailants who turned out to be undercover police …
36 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Scottish National Party: 13
Labour: 9
Liberal Democrat: 4
Independent: 3
Plaid Cymru: 3
Democratic Unionist Party: 2
Alba Party: 1
Alliance: 1
Social Democratic & Labour Party: 1
24th January 2024
Alistair Carmichael signed this EDM on Tuesday 6th February 2024

Postural Tachycardia Syndrome awareness

Tabled by: Cat Smith (Labour - Lancaster and Fleetwood)
That this House notes that Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS) is an autonomic nervous system abnormality where sitting, standing and exercise can cause symptoms including shortness of breath, chest pain, brain fog, dizziness, pain, fainting, vomiting and fatigue; recognises that many people suffer a combination of symptoms, which can be chronic …
18 signatures
(Most recent: 21 Feb 2024)
Signatures by party:
Labour: 4
Plaid Cymru: 3
Scottish National Party: 3
Liberal Democrat: 3
Independent: 2
Democratic Unionist Party: 1
Conservative: 1
Alliance: 1
View All Alistair Carmichael's signed Early Day Motions

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Alistair Carmichael, 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.


3 Urgent Questions tabled by Alistair Carmichael

Wednesday 8th September 2021

Alistair Carmichael has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

11 Bills introduced by Alistair Carmichael


A Bill to set targets for the reduction of plastic pollution; to require the Secretary of State to publish a strategy and annual reports on plastic pollution reduction; to establish an advisory committee on plastic pollution; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to require Ministers of the Crown to disclose that they have been issued with a fixed penalty notice; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 40%

Last Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 6th May 2022

A Bill to prohibit any increase in the minimum income requirement for family visas; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Monday 19th February 2024
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 21st June 2024
Order Paper number: 13
(Unlikely to be Debated - would require unanimous consent to progress)

A Bill to make provision about the powers and duties of the Groceries Code Adjudicator; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Monday 11th December 2023
Next Event - 2nd Reading
Friday 21st June 2024
Order Paper number: 1
(Certain to be Debated)

A Bill to make provision for the appointment by Parliament of the Independent Anti-slavery Commissioner if the post is vacant for three months or more; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Thursday 12th January 2023

A Bill to set targets for the reduction of plastic pollution; to require the Secretary of State to publish a strategy and annual reports on plastic pollution reduction; to establish an advisory committee on plastic pollution; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Thursday 5th November 2020

A Bill to place requirements on the Government relating to the Sino-British Joint Declaration 1984 and human rights in Hong Kong; to make provision about immigration for Hong Kong residents including granting rights to live in the United Kingdom; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading
Tuesday 25th February 2020
(Read Debate)

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Wednesday 3rd July 2019
(Read Debate)

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to make provision about the acceptance of Scottish banknotes throughout the United Kingdom; to oblige businesses and companies to accept Scottish banknotes as payment; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Thursday 11th April 2019
(Read Debate)

The Bill failed to complete its passage through Parliament before the end of the session. This means the Bill will make no further progress. A Bill to set targets for the reduction of plastic pollution; to require the Secretary of State to publish a strategy and annual reports on plastic pollution reduction; to establish an advisory committee on plastic pollution; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Monday 25th February 2019

A Bill to make provision about the disclosure of the quality of mobile telecommunications network coverage by providers and establish penalties for non-compliance; to provide recourse for consumers who enter contracts for such services that do not perform as advertised; and for connected purposes.

Commons - 20%

Last Event - 1st Reading: House Of Commons
Tuesday 2nd February 2016

26 Bills co-sponsored by Alistair Carmichael

Scottish Law Officers (Devolution) Bill 2023-24
Sponsor - Joanna Cherry (SNP)

Energy Costs (Pre-payment Meters and Social Tariffs) Bill 2022-23
Sponsor - Kenny MacAskill (Alba)

Brain Tumours Bill 2022-23
Sponsor - Siobhain McDonagh (Lab)

Fire and Building Safety (Public Inquiry) Bill 2021-22
Sponsor - Daisy Cooper (LD)

Sewage Discharges Bill 2021-22
Sponsor - Tim Farron (LD)

Import of Products of Forced Labour from Xinjiang (Prohibition) Bill 2021-22
Sponsor - Brendan O'Hara (SNP)

Tibet (Reciprocal Access) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Tim Loughton (Con)

Environment (Regulation) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Tim Farron (LD)

Company Transparency (Carbon in Supply Chains) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Karen Bradley (Con)

Immigration (Health and Social Care Staff) Bill 2019-21
Sponsor - Christine Jardine (LD)

Workers (Definition and Rights) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Chris Stephens (SNP)

Parliamentary Constituencies (Amendment) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Afzal Khan (Lab)

Animals (Recognition of Sentience) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Kerry McCarthy (Lab)

Plastics Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Geraint Davies (Ind)

Parental Leave and Pay Arrangements (Publication) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Jo Swinson (LD)

Multi-employer Pension Schemes Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Alan Brown (SNP)

Supervised Drug Consumption Facilities Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Alison Thewliss (SNP)

Unsolicited Calls (Prevention) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Stephen Kerr (Con)

Legalisation of Cannabis (Medicinal Purposes) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Karen Lee (Lab)

Cold Weather Payments Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Hywel Williams (PC)

Food Advertising (Protection of Children from Targeting) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Kirstene Hair (Con)

Courts (Abuse of Process) Bill 2017-19
Sponsor - Liz Saville Roberts (PC)

Vehicle Fuel (Publication of Tax Information) Bill 2016-17
Sponsor - Peter Aldous (Con)

Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill 2016-17
Sponsor - Liz Saville Roberts (PC)

Promotion of Israeli-Palestinian Peace (United Kingdom Participation) Bill 2016-17
Sponsor - Joan Ryan (TIG)

Government Services (Telecommunication Charges) Bill 2016-17
Sponsor - Chris Stephens (SNP)


256 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
17th May 2023
To ask the Attorney General, how many people have been prosecuted for fraud each year in the last five years for which data is available.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not hold data showing the number of defendants prosecuted for offences of fraud.

The official statistics relating to crime and policing are maintained by the Home Office and the official statistics relating to sentencing, criminal court proceedings, offenders brought to justice, the courts and the judiciary are maintained by the Ministry of Justice.

Michael Tomlinson
Minister of State (Minister for Illegal Migration)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Attorney General, what steps she is taking to improve her Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

This Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies on July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance. The Attorney General’s Office always aims to respond to public correspondence within 20 working days where it falls within our remit.

My department's timeliness in responding to MP letters and Freedom of Information requests is among the best in the civil service. Since January 1st 2018, 80% of MP and Lords letters my department received were responded to within our target of 20 working days, and 99% of Freedom of Information requests were responded to within the statutory time limit. I am confident that public correspondence is responded to by my office in a similarly timely fashion and that every effort is made by my officials to respond as promptly as possible.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
10th Dec 2020
What recent discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential effect of the end of the transition period on the rule of law.

The Government has been working hard to ensure a smooth end to the transition period that gives effect to the referendum result. It will continue to work with the Withdrawal Agreement Joint Committee and final decisions are expected in the coming days.

The duty of the Law Officers is to ensure that the Government acts lawfully at all times. I take that responsibility seriously, and that will not change after the end of the transition period, regardless of whether we reach negotiate a deal with the EU.

25th Apr 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether his Department is enrolled on any trusted flagger programmes with social media companies.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport lead on social media companies and related trusted flagger programmes. Therefore, the Cabinet Office does not hold any information on this subject.

21st Mar 2022
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether the National Security Advisor was empowered to direct FCDO officials in determining evacuation priorities during the pull-out from Afghanistan in August 2021 (b) in respect of Nowzad and (b) more widely.

Following an NSC decision on 15 April 2021, the coordination of the Afghanistan evacuation was led by a small group of officials from relevant departments across Government, chaired by the relevant Deputy National Security Advisor, reporting to the National Security Advisor. The role of this group was to ensure the evacuation proceeded in line with policies and priorities agreed by the NSC. Staff for Nowzad were processed in line with this policy.

7th Feb 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he has taken to ensure that due diligence procedures for government procurement are adequate to prevent goods made from forced labour in Xinjiang from entering the UK supply chain.

This government is committed to preventing modern slavery occurring in public sector supply chains.


The Cabinet Office has published commercial policy and guidance setting out the steps that all Government departments must take to identify and mitigate modern slavery and labour abuse risks throughout the commercial life cycle - focussing on the areas of highest risk. This policy is mandatory for all Central Government Departments, their Executive Agencies and Non-Departmental Public Bodies. The policy can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0519-tackling-modern-slavery-in-government-supply-chains.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner. To that end, the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for Government Departments and Agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence including: a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and; when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

In the Cabinet Office, we continue to prioritise timely responses to correspondence from members of the public - despite a significant increase in case volumes. We also keep our processes under continuous review to further improve the time taken to respond.

30th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, pursuant to the Answer of 1 November 2019 to Question 175803, on Local Government: Elections, whether EU citizens will be eligible to (a) stand as candidates, (b) serve a full-term if elected and (c) vote in local government elections in England and Wales in 2020 during the transition period of the UK leaving the EU.

I refer the Hon member to the answer which I gave to PQ 1802 on 29 January 2020.

18th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of strengthening the enforcement powers of the Groceries Code Adjudicator.

The Government’s most recent review of the Groceries Code Adjudicator, which was published in July, found that the GCA continues to be a highly effective regulator. It did not identify the need for strengthening its enforcement powers.

As Minister for Enterprise, Markets and Small Business, I regularly meet the Adjudicator who agrees that his current powers provide the necessary tools to enforce the Code and change retailer behaviour.

Kevin Hollinrake
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Department for Business and Trade)
22nd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what steps she plans to take to incentivise the development of low-carbon cement technologies.

Phase 2 of the Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator (IEEA) supported projects to develop energy and resource efficiency technology in cement, worth a total of £720,000 in grant funding. Over £13 million in funding has been awarded from UKRI’s Innovate Transforming Foundation Industry Challenge for decarbonisation projects in the cement sector, including over £2.6m to Cemex to look at the valorization of contaminated waste glass to produce low carbon cements at its Rugby plant. The Department for Energy security and Net Zero is also undertaking research to explore barriers and opportunities for the adoption of low carbon, resource efficient materials in the construction sector.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, whether she has had discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on funding to support the development of the low-carbon cement sector.

My Rt hon Friend the Secretary of State regularly discusses a range of issues with my Rt hon Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer. Carbon Capture Usage and Storage will be crucial for decarbonisation of industries, such as cement, which otherwise lack viable alternatives to achieve deep decarbonisation. CCUS and low carbon hydrogen are vital to transforming these sectors. In March, the Chancellor announced £20 billion investment in the early development of CCUS to help meet the Government’s climate commitments. The Government is taking forward the Hanson Padeswood Cement Works to proceed to negotiations for support under the Industrial Carbon Capture business model.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
22nd Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, what discussions she has had with the Construction Industry Council on decarbonising the cement industry.

Officials have regular discussions with the Green Construction Board and with other bodies on a range of issues relating to the decarbonisation of cement. The Government is committed to exploring opportunities to decarbonise this critical foundation material and regularly engages with the Mineral Products Association and the sector to discuss the challenges and opportunities involved in decarbonisation, and potential ways forward. The Department for Business and Trade is working with the Construction Leadership Council, with a key priority being net zero and biodiversity, to support use of lower carbon materials and products such as cement and concrete in the construction sector.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of a 50% increase in Administrative Strike Prices; and whether an increase in those Prices applies to all renewable technologies in Allocation Round 6.

The Government reviews auction parameters, including Administrative Strike Prices, ahead of every Contracts for Difference allocation round. Considering recent price volatility and that no offshore wind technologies were successful in Allocation Round 5, the Government has conducted a thorough review of its cost assumptions ahead of Allocation Round 6. The Government will set parameters that reflect the Contracts for Difference scheme’s objective to encourage low-carbon generation whilst considering net zero commitments, energy security and the likely cost to consumers. Core parameters for Allocation Round 6 will be published in November 2023.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
9th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, how her Department plans to take into account changes in the level of costs when setting the Administrative Strike Price for renewable technologies in Allocation Round 6 of the Contracts for Difference.

The Government reviews auction parameters, including Administrative Strike Prices, ahead of every Contracts for Difference allocation round. Considering recent price volatility and that no offshore wind technologies were successful in Allocation Round 5, the Government has conducted a thorough review of its cost assumptions ahead of Allocation Round 6. The Government will set parameters that reflect the Contracts for Difference scheme’s objective to encourage low-carbon generation whilst considering net zero commitments, energy security and the likely cost to consumers. Core parameters for Allocation Round 6 will be published in November 2023.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
23rd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero, if he will publish the modelling used to select households that receive payments under the Alternative Fuel Payment scheme.

Details on how the Department determined which households received an automatic Alternative Fuel Payment can be found in Section 3 of the Domestic Alternative Fuel Payment (AFP) scheme in Great Britain: guidance for electricity suppliers:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/domestic-alternative-fuel-payment-afp-scheme-in-great-britain-guidance-for-electricity-suppliers.

This includes links to relevant data, where available.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
13th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what estimate her Department has made of the cost of the withdrawal of copper wire telecommunications to local authorities.

The change to digital landlines will affect many sectors of the economy, including services delivered by local authorities. We cannot definitively comment on the estimated cost of the upgrade on local authorities, since the services and devices vary from one local authority to another.

The Government engages regularly with local authorities to raise awareness of the PSTN migration. As part of that engagement, we have encouraged local authorities to collate and share cost data related to the migration with DSIT and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). We have also made clear that local authorities should plan ahead for how they may be impacted by the migration, including by considering the budgetary implications of upgrading outdated devices.

With regards to communicating the migration, industry is best placed to inform their respective customers. Communications Providers have varying strategies and timelines for the migration, as well as a better understanding of the needs of their individual customers. By contrast, there is a significant risk that a nationwide campaign would be misleading and counterproductive, for example by not giving appropriate advice to vulnerable customers.

That said, DSIT has published a webpage on GOV.UK about the PSTN migration as a way to increase public awareness. This resource provides guidance about how consumers can prepare for the switchover and where they can find additional information. The webpage can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-transition-from-analogue-to-digital-landlines. We also regularly engage with Ofcom and Communication Providers to discuss how best to communicate with end users, particularly vulnerable customers.

13th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, whether her Department plans to launch a nation-wide public awareness campaign on the withdrawal of copper wire telecommunications.

I refer the Hon. Member to the answer I gave on 18th December to Question 6770

13th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, what guidance she has issued with the Secretary of State for Levelling up, Housing and Communities to local authorities on the costs of moving to digital telecare.

The Department of Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) and the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) both regularly provide information to local authorities about the PSTN migration. Officials from both departments also attend a Digital Switchover Working Group, hosted by the Local Government Authority.

DSIT is shortly looking to publish further guidance to local authorities about how the switch-off of analogue landlines may impact them. Among several other issues, this guidance will cover aspects of the provision of adult social care.

15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, when she plans to announce her next steps on the Spaceflight Programme.

The Government is committed to becoming the leading provider of commercial small satellite launch in Europe by 2030, as set out in the National Space Strategy.

Further vertical launches are planned from Scotland as part of phase one of the Spaceflight Programme. The UK Space Agency is also currently developing phase two of the programme, which will seek to further ensure an effective UK launch capability, subject to business case approval. Further engagement with industry will proceed once approval has been secured.

15th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology, when he expects the bidders’ conference for the Space Flight 2 Programme to take place.

The Government is committed to becoming the leading provider of commercial small satellite launch in Europe by 2030, as set out in the National Space Strategy.

Further vertical launches are planned from Scotland as part of phase one of the Spaceflight Programme. The UK Space Agency is also currently developing phase two of the programme, which will seek to further ensure an effective UK launch capability, subject to business case approval. Further engagement with industry will proceed once approval has been secured.

31st Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he plans to take to ensure that community-owned wind farms, solar farms and hydro schemes that reinvest their surplus back into local communities are exempted from any new regulations created or implemented under section 16 of the Energy Prices Act 2022.

The role of community and locally owned renewable energy schemes is supported by the Government and policy developments will reflect this.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
15th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the total output in 2021 was of oil from all the oil and gas fields in East and West Shetland.

The total output in 2021 of oil from fields in the West of Shetland is estimated by the North Sea Transition Authority to be around 52 million barrels. The North Sea Transition Authority does not make a specific estimate for the ‘East of Shetland’ as any such fields would be included in the ‘Northern North Sea’ area.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the total output was in 2021 of natural gas from all the oil and gas fields in East and West Shetland.

The total output in 2021 of natural gas from fields in the West of Shetland is estimated by the North Sea Transition Authority to be around 83 billion cubic feet. The North Sea Transition Authority does not make a specific estimate for the ‘East of Shetland’ as any such fields would be included in the ‘Northern North Sea’ area.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the latest estimate his Department has made of the total recoverable oil reserves remaining from the oil and gas fields in East and West Shetland.

The “UK Oil and Gas Reserves and Resources” report, published by the North Sea Transition Authority in 2021, estimates that, from the end 2020, there are around one billion barrels of oil reserves remaining in the West of Shetland.

The report can be found at: www.nstauthority.co.uk/media/7764/rr-report_final-22-september-2021.pdf.

The report does not make a specific estimate for the ‘East of Shetland’, as any such fields would be included in the ‘Northern North Sea’ area.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
15th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what the latest estimate is of the total recoverable natural gas reserves remaining from the oil and gas fields in East and West Shetland.

The “UK Oil and Gas Reserves and Resources” report, published by the North Sea Transition Authority in 2021, estimates that, at the end 2020, there are around 284 billion cubic feet of gas reserves remaining in the West of Shetland.

The report can be found at: www.nstauthority.co.uk/media/7764/rr-report_final-22-september-2021.pdf.

The report does not make a specific estimate for the ‘East of Shetland’, as any such fields would be included in the ‘Northern North Sea’ area.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, how many households in (a) Orkney and (b) Shetland have had smart meters installed.

The Government’s official statistics on the rollout of smart meters are available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/smart-meters-statistics. These statistics are based on data from energy suppliers provided at Great Britain-level only.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to help improve access to smart meters in areas with low take-up.

The Government wants to ensure that households and small businesses in Great Britain can benefit from smart metering and has required energy suppliers to establish Smart Energy GB, which is responsible for consumer engagement. Smart Energy GB has objectives to drive consumer take-up and assist consumers who may face additional barriers in accessing smart metering.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what data is available on the smart meter installation rate in Scotland.

The smart meter rollout is making good progress, with 26.4 million smart and advanced meters in homes and small businesses across Great Britain as of the end of September 2021.

The Government’s official statistics on the rollout of smart meters are available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/smart-meters-statistics. These statistics are based on data from energy suppliers provided at Great Britain-level only.

Greg Hands
Minister of State (Department for Business and Trade)
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether his Department or its Arm's Length Bodies has a working relationship, including on (a) contractual or (b) commercial terms, with the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) or any of its subsidiaries.

BEIS does not have any contractual or commercial terms with Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) or any of its subsidiaries.

1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, whether the Government has made an assessment of the potential implications for national security of UK Universities undertaking research either funded by or in partnership with the Chinese-state linked company Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI).

The UK’s research sector is independent and free to make decisions on research collaborations. However, university due diligence processes should consider reputational, ethical and security risks and collaborations must remain within the limits of the law. The Government reserves the right to intervene, where we judge that collaborations are not in the national interest or breach domestic or international law.

The Government supports the sector to make informed decisions on international research collaboration through the Trusted Research campaign and supported Universities UK to develop guidelines, published in October 2020, to help universities tackle security risks related to international collaboration.

Additionally, BEIS is establishing a Research Collaboration Advice Team which will work directly with institutions to help embed best practice.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The department is committed to responding to all enquiries in a timely manner.

25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, whether her Department is enrolled on any trusted flagger programmes with social media companies.

DCMS engages regularly with a range of social media platforms. As part of our operational work, DCMS has trusted flagger status with major social media platforms to flag harmful content which is in violation of platform terms of service.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps she is taking to improve her Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

DCMS has taken a number of steps to improve response times. These include increasing the size of its correspondence team and improving internal reporting measures.

Julia Lopez
Minister of State (Department for Science, Innovation and Technology)
10th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, with reference to the risk of sensitive vaccine data being shared and the risk of discrimination against fans without smartphones, whether a Data Protection Impact Assessment and a Equality Impact Assessment have been completed in relation to the trial of Covid-status certification at the Euro 2020 matches taking place at Wembley Stadium.

As part of the government’s world leading Events Research Programme, we are trialling the use of negative Lateral Flow Tests as part of test-on-entry protocols and how technology could be used to demonstrate vaccine status via the NHS app through Phase 3 of the Government’s Events Research Programme.

Event organisers only hold the standard data required for ticket purchasing and processing.

Attendees do not need a smartphone to demonstrate their Covid-status. They can have their vaccination status, or negative Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test emailed to their email address. This can be printed out from a PDF, and the printed copy brought with attendees to an event.

Any positive tests are reported through NHS Test and Trace, with contact tracing undertaken to ascertain details of activity during the day of the event, including travel, seating, and activity at the venue. All testing data is held by NHS Test and Trace, details on their privacy notice can be found here: https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk/help/privacy-notice.

A Data Protection Impact Assessment and Public Sector Equality Duty Assessment have been completed for the EURO matches being played at Wembley as part of the Events Research Programme. As DCMS will not be collecting any personal data at these events, GDPR does not apply in this instance.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what representations he has made to the Government of Saudi Arabia on the blocking of law suits attempted by the Premier League to protect its intellectual property in that country; and if he can make a statement.

My officials are working closely with their counterparts in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Trade to ensure the international interests of the Premier League and other UK sports bodies are protected and promoted around the world. We know that the Premier League is a great soft power asset for the UK, and we will continue to encourage relevant national governments to ensure it receives parity of treatment in all international markets.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answers of 19 May 2020 o Questions 45015, 45016 and 45017, whether illegal streaming of premium UK sports content and UK broadcasters by via beoutQ boxes has ceased in addition to beoutQ’s satellite piracy being stopped; and if he will make a statement.

Together with FCO, DIT and IPO colleagues, we continue to monitor and protect the intellectual property rights of UK rights holders, including UK sports institutions, in international markets. We also continue to maintain a dialogue with them and secondary rights holders, whenever we are requested to do so. We have received reports of continuing infringements of intellectual property rights in the Middle East. Where we do so, we will continue to pursue those with the relevant authorities.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
1st Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, pursuant to the Answers of 18 May 2020 to Questions 45015, 45016 and 45017, what assessment he has made of the effect on the value of UK sports’ broadcasting rights of beoutQ boxes and the illegal streaming of live sport through those boxes in (a) Saudi Arabia and (b) throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Together with FCO, DIT and IPO colleagues, we continue to monitor and protect the intellectual property rights of UK rights holders, including UK sports institutions, in international markets. We also continue to maintain a dialogue with them and secondary rights holders, whenever we are requested to do so. We have received reports of continuing infringements of intellectual property rights in the Middle East. Where we do so, we will continue to pursue those with the relevant authorities.

Nigel Huddleston
Financial Secretary (HM Treasury)
2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how many apprenticeship places (a) became available and (b) were filled in the fishing industry in each year of the last 10 years.

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

The department does not hold or publish data on the number of apprenticeship places that become available in specific industries each year. However, the number of starts and achievements on apprenticeships within the ‘fishing and aquaculture’ industry in England are published.

Starts figures are available from the 2012/13 academic year here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/69bfd6b1-e5cf-4c81-4465-08db462637b9. Achievement data is available from the 2018/19 academic year here: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/ec714288-32ea-4047-4466-08db462637b9. The most recent data relates to the 2020/21 academic year. These figures are small and have been suppressed for disclosure control (using c) when less than five.

Robert Halfon
Minister of State (Education)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what vocational training options are available for adult British National (Overseas) passport holders on arrival to the UK; and whether funding options for that education are immediately available to those people.

Full details on education and training for those arriving from Hong Kong on the British Nationals (Overseas Visa), are set out in the government's welcome pack for arrivals from Hong Kong on the British Nationals (Overseas) visa. The welcome pack is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1013244/HK_BN__O__Welcome_Pack_August_2021.pdf.

Hong Kong British Nationals and their dependents have access to further education (FE) and training for those aged 16-19, whether that's in school sixth forms for 16-18 year-olds or other FE settings for 16-19 year-olds. In line with existing eligibility rules, and after three years ordinary residency in the UK, they will have access to further education and training for adults (19 years and above).

The Lifelong Learning Entitlement will be introduced from 2025 and the department will consult on its scope and policy in due course, as part of our planned pathway to delivery.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether Hong Kong British National (Overseas) passport holders have access to funding for training for adults through the adult education budget on arrival to the UK.

Full details on education and training for those arriving from Hong Kong on the British Nationals (Overseas Visa), are set out in the government's welcome pack for arrivals from Hong Kong on the British Nationals (Overseas) visa. The welcome pack is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1013244/HK_BN__O__Welcome_Pack_August_2021.pdf.

Hong Kong British Nationals and their dependents have access to further education (FE) and training for those aged 16-19, whether that's in school sixth forms for 16-18 year-olds or other FE settings for 16-19 year-olds. In line with existing eligibility rules, and after three years ordinary residency in the UK, they will have access to further education and training for adults (19 years and above).

The Lifelong Learning Entitlement will be introduced from 2025 and the department will consult on its scope and policy in due course, as part of our planned pathway to delivery.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether Hong Kong British National (Overseas) passport holders will have access to the Lifelong Loan Entitlement when it launches from 2025.

Full details on education and training for those arriving from Hong Kong on the British Nationals (Overseas Visa), are set out in the government's welcome pack for arrivals from Hong Kong on the British Nationals (Overseas) visa. The welcome pack is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1013244/HK_BN__O__Welcome_Pack_August_2021.pdf.

Hong Kong British Nationals and their dependents have access to further education (FE) and training for those aged 16-19, whether that's in school sixth forms for 16-18 year-olds or other FE settings for 16-19 year-olds. In line with existing eligibility rules, and after three years ordinary residency in the UK, they will have access to further education and training for adults (19 years and above).

The Lifelong Learning Entitlement will be introduced from 2025 and the department will consult on its scope and policy in due course, as part of our planned pathway to delivery.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether Hong Kong British National (Overseas) passport holders arriving in the UK have immediate access to Government-funded adult vocational training.

Full details on education and training for those arriving from Hong Kong on the British Nationals (Overseas Visa), are set out in the government's welcome pack for arrivals from Hong Kong on the British Nationals (Overseas) visa. The welcome pack is available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1013244/HK_BN__O__Welcome_Pack_August_2021.pdf.

Hong Kong British Nationals and their dependents have access to further education (FE) and training for those aged 16-19, whether that's in school sixth forms for 16-18 year-olds or other FE settings for 16-19 year-olds. In line with existing eligibility rules, and after three years ordinary residency in the UK, they will have access to further education and training for adults (19 years and above).

The Lifelong Learning Entitlement will be introduced from 2025 and the department will consult on its scope and policy in due course, as part of our planned pathway to delivery.

Alex Burghart
Parliamentary Secretary (Cabinet Office)
29th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what (a) system and (b) support his Department has in place to recognise Hong Kong based qualifications.

On 31 January 2021, the government introduced a new immigration route for British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) status holders in Hong Kong, providing the opportunity for them and their eligible family members to live, work and study in the UK.

Departments across government are working closely together to ensure that the necessary support and guidance is provided for BN(O) status holders who take advantage of the new visa route.

The UK European Network Information Centre (ENIC) provides expert advice on behalf of the government on the comparability of international qualifications, including those from Hong Kong to UK qualifications. UK higher education institutions and other educational institutions use the ENIC database to assess the qualifications of applicants for their courses.

Full details on a range of matters, including education and training, for those arriving from Hong Kong on the BN(O) visa is set out in the government’s welcome pack for arrivals from Hong Kong on the BN(O) visa: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/welcome-a-guide-for-hong-kong-british-national-overseas-visa-holders-in-the-uk.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated 'Guide to Handling Correspondence' for government departments and agencies in July 2021, which is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/handling-government-correspondence-guidance.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following the publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, this department had an unprecedented increase in the volume of customer contact. As a result timeliness for the despatch of correspondence to the public has unfortunately been affected. Additional resources have now been made available to the correspondence team and there has been a steady and sustained improvement in timeliness. During September 2021, 90% of correspondence was answered within the 20 day target and the expectation is that this will continue to improve. In order to provide the public with rapid access to advice the department placed an emphasis on answering phone calls throughout this calendar year, with over 94% of telephone enquiries presented to the National Helpline being answered every month during 2021.

Michelle Donelan
Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology
7th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment she has made with Cabinet colleagues of the adequacy of business preparedness for future controls on the import of (a) food and (b) fresh products from the EU.

Following publication of the draft Border Target Operating Model (BTOM) in April 2023, the Government ran a six-week engagement period with industry. The feedback received is reflected in the final BTOM, notably the decision to delay implementation by three months, to January 2024, giving businesses more time to prepare. Before implementation of controls, awareness of and readiness for new controls will be boosted through a series of engagement events. Further guidance will be available on GOV.UK.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an assessment of the potential impact of changes to Government policy on visas for employment in the fishing industry on the cost of fish.

The Government’s longstanding position has been that foreign nationals need permission to work in UK waters and that transit visas have never been an appropriate visa to use to work in the UK. There has been no change in our position with this regard. The Government recognises there will be adjustment required for the industry to become compliant with the immigration system and has offered a generous visa support package to the sector. We are working closely with the fishing industry and Seafish to monitor labour shortages and their impact on the cost of fish.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
10th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if she will make an estimate of the quantity of exported food that has been wasted due to delays in inspections at UK borders in the last 12 months.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 11 May 2023 to PQ 183339.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps her Department is taking to help increase the number of fishermen.

Through our UK Seafood Fund, we are investing up to £10 million to support projects that will develop new courses and improve the quality of current courses to attract new entrants and upskill existing workers. In our first funding round, we awarded just over £1 million with nearly half of the funding allocated to Scotland.

In Shetland, we awarded just over £186,000 to the University of Highlands and Islands that will partner with industry and schools to pilot courses aimed at introducing 13 to 16 year-olds to the seafood sector and seafood careers and help 16 to 18 year-olds transition into the seafood industry. The courses will also made available to new adult entrants.

A second funding round, which will provide further funding to improve the quality and accessibility of training facilities is open until 19 May and I would encourage applications. More details can be found here: UK Seafood Fund: Skills and Training Scheme - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, when she last met representatives of the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations.

The Secretary of State has not met representatives of the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO). I last met representatives of the NFFO in Newlyn on 5 April.

Mark Spencer
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
8th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, how many applications have been made for compensation for lost sales under the Seafood Disruption Support Scheme; what proportion of applications to that scheme were accepted for payment; what proportion of successful applications to that scheme were paid out to the full amount requested; and what the average payout was to firms in receipt of compensation payments under that scheme.

The Seafood Disruption Support Scheme (SDSS) was launched in February 2021 to help seafood businesses cover a proportion of verifiable losses that occurred during export to the single market in January. The scheme was designed in line with Government public funding principles, which apply strict conditions and evidence requirements to business to ensure that taxpayers’ money is spent responsibly. In February the scheme received 119 applications across the UK with 31 applicants meeting the criteria for the scheme. Successful applicants were eligible for 50% of their verifiable loss, up to a value of £100,000. Defra can confirm that the total amount delivered through the scheme was £377,138.11.

Alongside the SDSS, Defra also delivered the Seafood Response Fund (SRF), which made payments to cover the fixed costs of catching and shellfish aquaculture businesses. The SRF provided funding to some businesses which were unsuccessful under the SDSS scheme.

In total over £22 million was delivered through both UK-wide and devolved emergency schemes in 2021, of which £16 million was provided directly by Defra.

Financial support was only one of the many actions taken by this Government to alleviate the pressures faced in early 2021 as a result of export disruption. Defra’s priority has always been to keep exports moving – which is why the Government acted swiftly to form the Seafood Exports Working Group and the Scottish Seafood Exports Taskforce, working closely with industry to identify and address priority issues to minimise disruption to trade flows. Through ongoing engagement with the EU, Defra has been able to resolve a number of issues with the EU and improved consistency between Border Control Posts, such as certification for organic salmon, ink colour on export health certificates (EHC), and which species are exempt from catch certificate requirements.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for Government departments and agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

Victoria Prentis
Attorney General
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what steps she is taking to improve her Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

Penny Mordaunt
Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, in light of the potential acquisition of Newcastle football club by Saudi Arabia, what steps her Department is taking to tackle ongoing internet piracy by Saudi Arabia-backed pirate broadcaster beoutQ.

Officials in the Department for International Trade work closely with their counterparts in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Intellectual Property Office on matters relating to the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights around the world.

Government ministers and our Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have raised this matter with the Saudi Arabian government and will continue to make representations about any alleged broadcast infringement activities of UK IP.

We understand broadcasting piracy on satellite in Saudi Arabia, through the pirate operator beoutQ, has now stopped. This followed pressure by the UK, the US, European countries, and major sports rights holders.

We are aware that there are continued issues of infringement of UK-owned intellectual property rights across all industries through the use of IPTV apps, and we will work with the IPO to address these issues and work to protect UK intellectual property in all territories.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has had with Cabinet colleagues on the effect of internet piracy by pirate broadcasters, such as beoutQ, on the export value of the UK’s intellectual property.

Officials in the Department for International Trade work closely with their counterparts in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Intellectual Property Office on matters relating to the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights around the world.

Government ministers and our Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have raised this matter with the Saudi Arabian government and will continue to make representations about any alleged broadcast infringement activities of UK IP.

We understand broadcasting piracy on satellite in Saudi Arabia, through the pirate operator beoutQ, has now stopped. This followed pressure by the UK, the US, European countries, and major sports rights holders.

We are aware that there are continued issues of infringement of UK-owned intellectual property rights across all industries through the use of IPTV apps, and we will work with the IPO to address these issues and work to protect UK intellectual property in all territories.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
11th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what assessment she has made of the effect on the export value of the UK sports’ broadcasting rights of pirate broadcaster, BeoutQ.

Officials in the Department for International Trade work closely with their counterparts in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Intellectual Property Office on matters relating to the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights around the world.

Government ministers and our Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have raised this matter with the Saudi Arabian government and will continue to make representations about any alleged broadcast infringement activities of UK IP.

We understand broadcasting piracy on satellite in Saudi Arabia, through the pirate operator beoutQ, has now stopped. This followed pressure by the UK, the US, European countries, and major sports rights holders.

We are aware that there are continued issues of infringement of UK-owned intellectual property rights across all industries through the use of IPTV apps, and we will work with the IPO to address these issues and work to protect UK intellectual property in all territories.

Graham Stuart
Minister of State (Department for Energy Security and Net Zero)
20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency's plan to recruit 300 additional driving examiners, how many and what proportion of these additional driving instructors were recruited in Scotland as on 20 September 2022.

Driver testing services were significantly disrupted during the pandemic, which has led to a high demand for learners who are now wanting to take their driving test.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working hard to provide as many practical driving test appointments as it can, including recruiting more than 300 driving examiners across Great Britain. The first recovery recruitment campaign was launched on 10 February 2021. Since then, 285 driving examiners have entered testing, of which 20 were in Scottish test centres.

In addition, there are 147 recruits who are in the process of being trained to become driving examiners, of which 18 are for test centres in Scotland.

The DVSA’s examiner recruitment campaigns continue to be successful but, like many employers, the DVSA is finding the job market extremely competitive. As it moves through each recruitment campaign, the DVSA will continually review and make changes and improvements to its recruitment and selection process, and training courses.

On 20 September 2022, the DVSA launched its latest campaign to recruit another 136 driving examiner posts; 8 of these posts are intended for test centres in Scotland.

Since the commencement of the recovery recruitment campaigns, waiting times for car practical driving tests have reduced by 1.5 weeks (based on the DVSA’s data at the end of August 2022).

20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the change in the average waiting time for a driving test has been in the period since the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency began its recruitment of 300 additional driving examiners.

Driver testing services were significantly disrupted during the pandemic, which has led to a high demand for learners who are now wanting to take their driving test.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working hard to provide as many practical driving test appointments as it can, including recruiting more than 300 driving examiners across Great Britain. The first recovery recruitment campaign was launched on 10 February 2021. Since then, 285 driving examiners have entered testing, of which 20 were in Scottish test centres.

In addition, there are 147 recruits who are in the process of being trained to become driving examiners, of which 18 are for test centres in Scotland.

The DVSA’s examiner recruitment campaigns continue to be successful but, like many employers, the DVSA is finding the job market extremely competitive. As it moves through each recruitment campaign, the DVSA will continually review and make changes and improvements to its recruitment and selection process, and training courses.

On 20 September 2022, the DVSA launched its latest campaign to recruit another 136 driving examiner posts; 8 of these posts are intended for test centres in Scotland.

Since the commencement of the recovery recruitment campaigns, waiting times for car practical driving tests have reduced by 1.5 weeks (based on the DVSA’s data at the end of August 2022).

20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, with reference to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency's plan to recruit 300 additional driving examiners, how many additional driving instructors been recruited as on 20 September 2022.

Driver testing services were significantly disrupted during the pandemic, which has led to a high demand for learners who are now wanting to take their driving test.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working hard to provide as many practical driving test appointments as it can, including recruiting more than 300 driving examiners across Great Britain. The first recovery recruitment campaign was launched on 10 February 2021. Since then, 285 driving examiners have entered testing, of which 20 were in Scottish test centres.

In addition, there are 147 recruits who are in the process of being trained to become driving examiners, of which 18 are for test centres in Scotland.

The DVSA’s examiner recruitment campaigns continue to be successful but, like many employers, the DVSA is finding the job market extremely competitive. As it moves through each recruitment campaign, the DVSA will continually review and make changes and improvements to its recruitment and selection process, and training courses.

On 20 September 2022, the DVSA launched its latest campaign to recruit another 136 driving examiner posts; 8 of these posts are intended for test centres in Scotland.

Since the commencement of the recovery recruitment campaigns, waiting times for car practical driving tests have reduced by 1.5 weeks (based on the DVSA’s data at the end of August 2022).

20th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, when the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency began its recruitment of 300 additional driving examiners.

Driver testing services were significantly disrupted during the pandemic, which has led to a high demand for learners who are now wanting to take their driving test.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is working hard to provide as many practical driving test appointments as it can, including recruiting more than 300 driving examiners across Great Britain. The first recovery recruitment campaign was launched on 10 February 2021. Since then, 285 driving examiners have entered testing, of which 20 were in Scottish test centres.

In addition, there are 147 recruits who are in the process of being trained to become driving examiners, of which 18 are for test centres in Scotland.

The DVSA’s examiner recruitment campaigns continue to be successful but, like many employers, the DVSA is finding the job market extremely competitive. As it moves through each recruitment campaign, the DVSA will continually review and make changes and improvements to its recruitment and selection process, and training courses.

On 20 September 2022, the DVSA launched its latest campaign to recruit another 136 driving examiner posts; 8 of these posts are intended for test centres in Scotland.

Since the commencement of the recovery recruitment campaigns, waiting times for car practical driving tests have reduced by 1.5 weeks (based on the DVSA’s data at the end of August 2022).

13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what the DVSA’s target time is for answering customer calls on 0300 200 1122; and what its performance is against that target.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency’s (DVSA) target time for answering customer calls made to 0300 200 1122, which was set before the coronavirus pandemic, is 70% of calls answered within 30 seconds.

Pre-pandemic, the performance was 79.27% during the period 1 January to 31 August 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to significant disruption to DVSA services with the customer service centre receiving an unprecedented number of customer calls – rising, for example, to around 30,000 extra calls each month during June, July and August 2021, which has inevitably impacted on the time taken to answer each call.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic led to increased staff attrition/departures during 2020/21, with the call centre operating with an average of 10 fewer agents than usual. The DVSA is currently undergoing a recruitment campaign to increase to the number of agents, which will improve the service standard.

The exceptionally high call volumes during the pandemic, and the fall in agent numbers, resulted in a performance of 40.88% during the period 1 January to 31 August 2020, and 38.27% for the same period this year.

13th Apr 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what methods of communication are available to (a) Ministers and (b) hon. Members for corresponding with the chief executive of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency.

The Chief Executive of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) welcomes correspondence from ministers and hon members about issues for which the DVSA is responsible, either electronically or by post.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency aims to respond to letters and emails it receives within 10 working days.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what his policy is on support for private ferry companies affected by the economic effect of the covid-19 outbreak.

The Coronavirus outbreak is among the biggest challenges our transport industry has ever confronted, and I am grateful for the sustained efforts by ferry operators in running crucial services to support the continued flow of freight. The Government announced an unprecedent package of financial measures worth £350 billion to support companies through these challenging times and a full range of support schemes have been made available to UK businesses. My department is working closely with maritime operators to consider how these apply to them.

In addition, on 24 April we announced a package of funding to support lifeline services and critical freight routes. This includes up to £10.5m for lifeline services to the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight, up to £17m for critical freight routes between Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and support for up to 26 critical freight routes between Great Britain and mainland Europe.

We will continue to work closely with industry to monitor the implementation of these measures to continue these vital services.

7th Feb 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with reference to the oral contribution of The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions during the debate on Defined-Benefit Pension Schemes of 17 January 2024 Official Report, column 329WH, whether the Minister has had discussions with the Pensions Regulator.

I know this is an important issue for many people and I am intending to meet with the Pensions Regulator when diaries allow. This will help me to look at the situation, try to understand what has happened and take a view on whether the arrangements currently in place are working as intended.

Paul Maynard
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
17th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps he is taking to help increase the number of reciprocal agreements on state pensions with other countries.

The Government does not have a policy to increase the number of countries with which the UK has reciprocal agreements on state pensions. For this reason, no steps are being taken to this end.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if he will make a comparative assessment of the number and proportion of women affected by the increase in state pension age for women born in the 1950s who died before receiving their state pension (a) between1948 and 31 December 2015 and (b) since 31 December 2015; and whether there are statistically significant differences in those mortality rates.

We have not undertaken the requested analysis and therefore do not hold the information you have requested.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
1st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of the women born in the 1950s affected by the increase in state pension age have died before reaching their state pension age since 31 December 2015.

We have not undertaken the requested analysis and therefore do not hold the information you have requested.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
8th Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the potential benefits of factoring in windchill in the calculation of temperature for the distribution of Cold Weather Payments.

Cold Weather Payments are intended to contribute towards the additional cost of heating a home during periods of severely cold weather, in England and Wales. The Scottish Government has introduced the Winter Heating Payment scheme to replace Cold Weather Payments for claimants living in Scotland.

Changing the eligibility criteria, or altering the temperature calculation, would significantly increase the cost, complexity and uncertainty of the scheme. We continually monitor the delivery of Cold Weather Payments to ensure it meets the policy intent.

Laura Trott
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, whether problems that may cause delays in Winter Fuel Payments were identified in relation to the new Seasonal Payment System; and what mitigation was put in place to avoid such delays.

99.9% of customers were paid by the 23rd of December, with the remaining 0.1% paid by the 31st March which is the end of the winter fuel published timeframe. There are no outstanding annual Winter Fuel Payments for the winter 2020-21 exercise.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many delayed Winter Fuel Payments were caused by incorrect address transfers in the new Seasonal Payment System.

No payments were delayed due to data transfer between the systems.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what risk assessments took place before the transfer to the new Winter Fuel Payments database (Seasonal Payment System).

The decision to move to the Seasonal Payment System was based on a number of factors including best use of technology, commercial and operational considerations as we strive to deliver a modern and effective welfare system. Risk assessments took place before the start of the exercise.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how the new Winter Fuel Payments database (Seasonal Payment System) was chosen.

The decision to move to the Seasonal Payment System was based on a number of factors including best use of technology, commercial and operational considerations as we strive to deliver a modern and effective welfare system. Risk assessments took place before the start of the exercise.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th May 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many Winter Fuel Payments remain outstanding for 2020-21.

None.

Guy Opperman
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
14th Sep 2020
What steps she is taking to encourage SMEs to participate in the Kickstart scheme.

We are determined that small businesses play a key part in the Kickstart Scheme. We are actively encouraging a range of organisations to step forward as intermediaries, this includes the Chambers of Commerce, Local Authorities and charities – so they can support small employers offer Kickstart roles to young people.

Mims Davies
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Work and Pensions)
24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how much NHS employers paid in Immigration Skills Charge (a) in 2017-18, (b) in 2018-19, (c) in 2019-20, (d) in 2020-21, (e) in 2021-22 and (f) to date in 2022-23.

The information requested is not held centrally.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner. The Cabinet Office published an updated ‘Guide to Handling Correspondence’ for Government Departments and agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for Departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required and when correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another Department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all Departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

To 17 October 2021, the Department has replied to 85% of cases from the public within its target of 18 working days. We aim to reply to 90% within this timeframe. We are deploying additional resource to improve this performance.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what the legal basis is for the use of Covid Status Certification for attendance at domestic events as set out in the wording on the NHS App Covid-19 Status privacy policy.

Under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 the Secretary of State may by direction disapply any relevant restriction or requirement in relation to specified premises, a specified event or a specified gathering, for the purposes of a research programme to evidence the potential transmission of coronavirus in controlled environments. The Government is running the Events Research Programme, as announced in February, and will use this research to trial a number of potential mitigations, including certification.

7th Jun 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that NHS users are aware of the upcoming 23 June 2021 deadline to opt-out of patient data sharing plans.

NHS Digital proactively promoted the new collection approach with all media outlets, using social media channels to promote information including an animation which describes what is a complex area in easy to understand terms. Patient facing materials have been developed by NHS Digital for general practitioners to use.

Following the announcement that the data collection will be delayed until 1 September 2021, NHS Digital intends to use the next two months to continue to enhance communications and further raise awareness with the public about the new collection and its benefits.

31st Jan 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whether he has made an assessment of the consistency of (a) the decision to pause future funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and (b) paragraph 86(4) of the International Court of Justice's Order relating to the case of the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip (South Africa v Israel), published on 26 January 2024.

We are appalled by allegations that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) staff were involved in the 7 October attack against Israel, a heinous act of terrorism that the UK Government has repeatedly condemned. The UK is pausing any future funding of UNRWA whilst we review these concerning allegations.

However, we remain committed to getting humanitarian aid to the people in Gaza who desperately need it, and our decision to pause future funding to UNRWA has no impact on the UK's contribution to the humanitarian response. Our commitment to trebling aid to Gaza still stands, and we are getting on with aid delivery through funding multiple implementing partners including other UN agencies and international and UK NGOs. This support is helping people in Gaza get food, water, shelter and medicines.

We are also clear that an immediate pause is necessary to get aid in and hostages out, and then progress towards a sustainable, permanent ceasefire, without a return to destruction, fighting and loss of life.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
31st Jan 2024
To ask the Minister of State, Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, with reference to the Oral Statement of the Minister of State of 29 January 2024, on Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Official Report, columns 620-622, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the temporary pause in funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), announced on 27 January 2024, on Palestinian refugees in (a) Jordan, (b) Lebanon, (c) Syria, (d) East Jerusalem, (e) West Bank and (f) Gaza.

We remain committed to getting humanitarian aid to the those who desperately need it, and our decision to pause future funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has no impact on the UK's contribution to the humanitarian response, whether in Gaza or the wider region. Our commitment to trebling aid to Gaza still stands, and we are getting on with aid delivery to the region through funding multiple implementing partners including other UN agencies and international and UK NGOs. This support is helping people get food, water, shelter and medicines. The UK is providing £60 million in humanitarian assistance to support partners including the British Red Cross, UNICEF, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and Egyptian Red Crescent Society (ERCS) to respond to critical food, fuel, water, health, shelter and security needs in Gaza. We will continue to support and have supported the United Nations World Food Programme to deliver a new humanitarian land corridor from Jordan into Gaza. 750 tonnes of life-saving food aid arrived in the first delivery and 315 tonnes in the second delivery.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
17th Apr 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will appoint the Law Society of Scotland and the Faculty of Advocates to the Domestic Advisory Group under the EU-UK Trade Cooperation Agreement.

Members of the UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) Domestic Advisory Group (DAG) were selected following an Expression of Interest (EoI) process in 2021. At the first DAG meeting, members requested greater representation, in particular from Northern Ireland.

The Government therefore reopened the EoI process between August - September 2022 to create a small number of additional places. The Law Society of Scotland and Faculty of Advocates applied at this second stage.

All applications were considered carefully, balancing the need for sectoral and geographic representation of civil society organisations, while also keeping the group small enough for all members to be able to contribute effectively.

The EoI process has now closed, and the membership list has been finalised. However, the Government will keep membership of the DAG under review.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if his Department will make an assessment of the impact of his planned meeting with the Finance Minister of Hong Kong due to take place in April 2023 on the Government's policy that the People's Republic of China is in ongoing non-compliance with the Sino-British Joint Declaration; and what steps he plans to take to advance his Department's policy objectives on Hong Kong and its relationship with China during that meeting.

No such meeting is planned. We have made clear our assessment of China's non-compliance with the Sino-British Joint Declaration and our strong opposition to the National Security Law. The Foreign Secretary set out those issues with State Councillor Wang Yi in February. Through the Integrated Review Refresh, the Prime Minister has set the direction across government for a consistent, coherent, and robust approach to China, rooted in our national interest and values. That extends to our approach on Hong Kong.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
24th Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, to what territory the 2030 roadmap for UK-Israel bilateral relations, signed on 21 March, applies.

The 2030 Roadmap for UK-Israel Bilateral relations was signed on 21 March between the British Government and the Government of Israel. It is a living document reflecting the elevation, in November 2021 of our bilateral relationship to a strategic partnership. The Roadmap does not apply to the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

David Rutley
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the appointment process was of bodies to the Domestic Advisory Group under the EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

The Government ran an Expression of Interest campaign from 19 October 2021 until 29 November 2021 to determine membership of the Domestic Advisory Group (DAG). The membership list was published on 31 March 2022. The Expression of Interest exercise was reopened on 15 August 2022 until 16 September 2022 to allow additional members to apply. These organisations were announced on 26 September 2022. They were chosen based on being a not-for-profit civil society organisation, having relevant Trade Cooperation Agreement expertise and representing UK citizens and businesses.

The membership of the UK DAG is determined by the Government and can be reviewed on a regular basis, in consultation with the DAG Executive Council.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
22nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, which bodies are represented on the Domestic Advisory Group under the EU–UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement.

The membership of the Domestic Advisory Group (DAG) consists of business organisations, trade unions, charities and voluntary organisations. The full list of Members is published on: UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement Domestic Advisory Group - Members

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/uk-eu-trade-and-cooperation-agreement-domestic-advisory-group#current-dag-members-are

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
23rd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to the fifty-first session of the Human Rights Council, published on 21 July 2022, whether he has made recent representations to his Bahraini counterpart on the release of Sayed Nizar Alwadaei.

We have noted this report and continue to follow and discuss the cases of Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, Abduljali Al Singace and Hasan Mushaima, amongst others, with the Bahraini Government as well as with the independent human rights oversight bodies. We encourage those with concerns about their detention to raise them as necessary with the relevant oversight bodies.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the report of the United Nations Secretary General, published on 14 September 2022, which names individuals Bahrain has subjected to reprisals, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of that reprisals' report; and what representations he plans to make to his counterparts in the government of Bahrain on (a) the individuals mentioned in that report to be provided with redress and (b) the immediate and unconditional release of (i) Abdulhadi AlKhawaja, (ii) Abduljali AlSingace and (iii) Hassan Mushaima and (c) restoration of citizenship to Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei and the release of his brother in law Sayed Nizar.

We have noted this report and continue to follow and discuss the cases of Abdulhadi Al Khawaja, Abduljali Al Singace and Hasan Mushaima, amongst others, with the Bahraini Government as well as with the independent human rights oversight bodies. We encourage those with concerns about their detention to raise them as necessary with the relevant oversight bodies.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
23rd Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs with reference to the joint-letter from 15 leading NGOs including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy on imprisoned human rights activist and academic Dr Abduljalil AlSingace, if he will make it his policy to implement the actions in that letter.

We continue to follow and discuss the case of Dr Abduljalil al-Singace, and others as necessary, with the Bahraini Government as well as with the independent oversight bodies. This was done most recently in September 2022. We welcome the clarification provided by the Bahrain Embassy in its release of 23 August, and its post on Twitter on 28 September.

Gillian Keegan
Secretary of State for Education
31st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if the British Ambassador will attend the trial on 3 April 2022 in Bahrain of Duaa Alwadaei, the British-Bahraini wife of human rights defender, Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei.

Our Embassy in Bahrain is aware of Mrs Alwadaei's case and is following the situation closely. We have given her family details of the consular assistance available.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
4th Mar 2022
To ask Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 3 March 2022 to Question 128203, on Uyghur Tribunal, whether the Government declined to provide evidence to the Uyghur Tribunal.

FCDO Ministers and officials engaged extensively with Sir Geoffrey Nice over the last year to discuss the panel's work. This included highlighting extensive relevant open source research on the situation in Xinjiang.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
23rd Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether the Government declined to provide evidence to the Uyghur Tribunal.

We welcome the contribution the panel chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice has made to building international awareness and understanding of the human rights violations in Xinjiang. The findings add to our serious and well-known concerns about the severity of the human rights violations being perpetrated against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. FCDO Ministers and officials engaged extensively with Sir Geoffrey over the last year to discuss the panel's work. We also followed its work closely, and FCDO officials observed virtually the panel's hearings and concluding session.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
31st Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent representations officials in her Department have made to their Chinese counterparts on the (a) whereabouts and (b) health of professional tennis player Peng Shui.

The Government has called on the Chinese authorities to assure the safety of Peng Shuai and we continue to follow her case closely. We have also raised the issue with the Chinese Ambassador in London, and the authorities in Beijing.

Everyone should be allowed to speak out without fear of repercussions. All reports of sexual assault, anywhere in the world, should be investigated.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
6th Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many investigations have been opened by Israeli authorities into potential serious violations of international law by its forces during its May 2021 offensive on Gaza.

The UK welcomed the announcement of a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza on 20 May. Following the ceasefire announcement, the former Foreign Secretary visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and made clear that the UK would continue to work with the parties, and other actors, to encourage a durable ceasefire and to urge them to address the drivers of conflict. Israel has a legitimate right to self-defence. In exercising this right, it is vital that all actions are proportionate and in line with International Humanitarian Law.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether (a) she and (b) officials in her Department have made representations to their Israeli counterparts on encouraging that country to implement the 2019 recommendations of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination that it ensure equal treatment for all persons on the territories under its effective control and subject to its jurisdiction.

Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories is a human rights priority for the FCDO. Human Rights is a crucial element underpinning the UK's foreign policy. This is why we regularly raise concerns with the Government of Israel, where they exist. We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and have a regular dialogue with Israel on legal issues relating to the occupation.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
2nd Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what estimate her Department has made of the number of (a) instances of violence against Palestinians by Israeli settlers between 1 September and 30 November 2021, (b) investigations opened into those instances of violence by Israeli authorities and (c) prosecutions for those acts.

The UK regularly raises the issue of settler violence with the Government of Israel, most recently with Israel's Ministry of Defence on 19 October. We welcome Israeli authorities' discussion of how to address this issue, and urge Israel to bring those responsible to justice and end the culture of impunity. We continue to stress the importance of the Israeli security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment her Department has made of the accuracy of reports that subsidiaries of BGI Group companies conducted genetic analyses of China’s minority Uighurs; and if she will take steps to backlist those companies.

We are aware of reports that subsidiaries of Chinese headquartered genome sequencing company BGI Group cooperated with the Chinese government on the collection of genetic information in Xinjiang.

On 12 January 2021, the UK Government announced a series of robust measures in respect of UK supply chains to help ensure that no British organisations - government or private sector, deliberately or inadvertently - are profiting from or contributing to human rights violations against the Uyghurs or other minorities in Xinjiang. These measures include a review of export controls as they apply to Xinjiang, the introduction of financial penalties for organisations that fail to comply with their obligations under the Modern Slavery Act, and new, robust guidance to UK businesses on the specific risks faced by companies with links to the region.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
30th Nov 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what (a) training and (b) awareness raising (i) Ministers and (ii) officials in her Department receive on their obligations under the Geneva Conventions Act 1957 and subsequent legislation not to commit, aid, abet or procure the commission by any other person of a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions.

The Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols are at the core of international humanitarian law (IHL). FCDO staff undertake training through the International Academy which includes modules on the Conventions and other aspects of IHL. More detailed training is available for those who work in this field. Additionally the FCDO undertook to produce a voluntary report on the domestic implementation of IHL, including the Conventions. This report was published on GOV.UK in 2019 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/implementation-of-international-humanitarian-law-at-domestic-level-voluntary-report. In response to a pledge made at the International Committee of the Red Cross Quadrennial Conference, the UK is promoting and assisting other states to produce similar reports, in conjunction with the British Red Cross, and have produced a toolkit in several languages to assist them to do so. In 2019 the UK hosted a conference at Lancaster House to mark 70 years of the Conventions and to address the challenges to compliance.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps she is taking to improve her Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021. The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

In 2020 the FCDO received 43% more correspondence (former FCO and former DFID combined) from members of the public compared to 2019. The FCDO is now recruiting additional employees to help manage the increased volume of public correspondence in the central correspondence team, investigating how to make better use of technology, including automation, in managing all correspondence and actively monitoring performance across the FCDO to drive up the timeliness of answers to the 20 day deadline.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy and Human Rights in the Gulf, entitled The cost of repression, published on 6 July 2021, what assessment the Government has made of the implications for its policies of the findings in that report that the beneficiaries of the Government's Integrated Activity Fund and Gulf Strategy Fund have facilitated and perpetrated human rights violations and potential war crimes and that the Government has made misleading and deceptive statements about those funds.

The FCDO's International Programme (IP), and within it the Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF), is a vital tool in promoting positive change and reforms across the world, including in the Gulf. Our programmes help our partners to continue their human rights reform, address key climate change and green growth opportunities and challenges, tackle illicit finance, improve marine conservation, promote economic diversification, promote diversity and inclusion including on LGBTQ+ rights, and develop their institutions.

All cooperation through the IP, including the GSF, is subject to rigorous risk assessments to ensure all work meets our human rights obligations and our values. The Government does not shy away from raising legitimate human rights concerns, and encourage other states to respect international law.

We now publish an annual summary of the GSF's work on gov.uk. We will not publish further information where doing so presents risks to our staff, programme suppliers and beneficiaries, or which may impact our relationships with our international partners, and therefore our ability to influence their reform efforts.

We will provide updates on an annual basis.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy and Human Rights in the Gulf, entitled The cost of repression, published on 6 July 2021, what assessment the Government has made of the implications for its policies of the recommendations in that report; and if the Government will publish a response to that report.

The FCDO's International Programme (IP), and within it the Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF), is a vital tool in promoting positive change and reforms across the world, including in the Gulf. Our programmes help our partners to continue their human rights reform, address key climate change and green growth opportunities and challenges, tackle illicit finance, improve marine conservation, promote economic diversification, promote diversity and inclusion including on LGBTQ+ rights, and develop their institutions.

All cooperation through the IP, including the GSF, is subject to rigorous risk assessments to ensure all work meets our human rights obligations and our values. The Government does not shy away from raising legitimate human rights concerns, and encourage other states to respect international law.

We now publish an annual summary of the GSF's work on gov.uk. We will not publish further information where doing so presents risks to our staff, programme suppliers and beneficiaries, or which may impact our relationships with our international partners, and therefore our ability to influence their reform efforts.

We will provide updates on an annual basis.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the case of Bahraini political prisoner, Hassan Mushaima, and representations from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the EU Parliament for his immediate release, if the Government will make representations to the Government of Bahrain on the immediate release of Hassan Mushaima from prison.

We continue to monitor and raise the cases of Hassan Mushaima, Husain Moosa, Mohammed Ramadhan and others, with the Bahraini Government as well as with the Oversight bodies. We understand that the Bahraini Government is in contact with the UN regarding its human rights reform effort.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the decision published by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, published on 16 June 2021, which states that the detention of Bahraini death row inmates, Mohammed Ramadhan and Husain Moosa, is arbitrary and in contravention of international law, what assessment the Government has made of the implications for its policies of the decision by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; and if the Government will make representations on that decision to the Government of Bahrain at the earliest opportunity.

We continue to monitor and raise the cases of Hassan Mushaima, Husain Moosa, Mohammed Ramadhan and others, with the Bahraini Government as well as with the Oversight bodies. We understand that the Bahraini Government is in contact with the UN regarding its human rights reform effort.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
13th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether his Department has received evidence of an increase in repressive behaviour towards (a) Uyghurs and (b) other Turkic Muslim minorities in the Uyghur region of China following recent events in Afghanistan.

The UK is committed to working with our international partners to stand up for the rights of Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang. We also have serious concerns about the developing situation in Afghanistan and how this may affect minorities in the region. We will continue to monitor developments closely.

Amanda Milling
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will take steps to build international support for a global arms embargo on Myanmar.

The UK is a longstanding supporter of an arms embargo on Myanmar. We are clear that countries should not sell arms to the Myanmar military. The UK autonomous Myanmar sanctions regulations prohibit the provision of military related services, including the provision of technical assistance, to or for the benefit of the Tatmadaw. We will work closely with partners to pressure those who sell arms to the military.

10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will take steps to prevent UK companies doing business with military-owned and controlled companies in Myanmar in response to the coup in that country.

The Foreign Secretary and the International Trade Secretary have written to British Companies active in Myanmar to make clear our expectation that they do nothing to support the military. We are clear that the military must pay the price for their actions, that is why we are exploring all options to put pressure on their economic interests, this includes sanctions.

We remain committed to the principle of 'do no harm' with sanctions, and therefore wish to ensure that any measures balance the risk of disproportionately affecting poor people in Myanmar and imposing a cost on the military. In addition, as set out in the written ministerial statement of 25 February, we are reviewing our approach to Trade and Investment in Myanmar, and while that review takes place have suspended all trade promotion activity.

19th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will (a) make representations to the Government of Saudia Arabia on halting the execution of Nawaf al-Osaimi for crimes committed as a teenager and (b) urge the Government of Saudi Arabia to undertake an independent review of its death row population to identify people on death row for childhood crimes and ensure that no other child defendants face execution.

The UK strongly opposes the death penalty in all countries and in all circumstances, as a matter of principle. This is especially the case for juveniles. This is in line with the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Arab Charter on Human Rights. We reiterated our opposition to the death penalty in Saudi Arabia in a joint statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 15 September.

We regularly raise our concerns about the use of the death penalty, including individual cases with the Saudi Arabian authorities and we will continue to do so. In August, our Chargé d'affaires in Riyadh raised the issue of the death penalty with Minister of State Al Jubeir. I raised the death penalty with Dr Awwad al Awwad, President of Saudi Arabia's Human Rights Commission during his virtual visit in July.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
18th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what representations his Department has received on the judgments of Branch 54 of the Special Court for Article 49 of the Constitution, issued on 1 August 2020 and a further extraordinary session of the Court of Appeal on 13 October 2020, on the expropriation of properties and farms owned by a community of Bahá’is in the village of Ivel; and if he will make a statement.

We remain deeply concerned by the continuing systematic discrimination, harassment and targeting of the Baha'i community in Iran. On 26 October 2020, we made a statement calling on Iran to ensure members of all religious and ethnic groups are treated equally before the law and allowed to participate fully in society. We support the assessment made by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, that discrimination against the Baha'is is sanctioned by a lack of constitutional recognition. The Government continues to raise our concerns on this and other persistent human rights violations with Iran, and maintains close engagement with the Baha'i community.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to protect the 156 Palestinian families in occupied East Jerusalem from eviction and forced transfer.

We continue to be concerned by the impact of evictions on ordinary Palestinians and the viability of a future Palestinian state. We regularly make clear our serious concerns about the evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem to the Israeli authorities and the Municipality of Jerusalem, both bilaterally and in co-operation with like-minded diplomatic partners. The Fourth Geneva Convention, which applies to all occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, prohibits demolitions or forced evictions absent military necessity.

Evictions of Palestinians from their homes cause unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians, call into question Israel's commitment to a viable two-state solution and, in all but the most exceptional of cases, are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. I raised our concern about the eviction of Palestinians from their homes, with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 29 October 2020, and the British Embassy in Tel Aviv raises this issue regularly with the Israeli authorities. On 25 November 2020, the UK Consul General Jerusalem visited families at risk of eviction in Sheikh Jarrah, restating UK opposition to evictions of Palestinians from their homes. The UK is focused on preventing demolitions and evictions from happening in the first place through our legal aid programme, which supports Bedouin communities and Palestinians facing demolition or home eviction in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem. We continue to urge the Government of Israel to develop improved mechanisms for zoning, planning and permitting in Area C for the benefit of the Palestinian population, including by facilitating local Palestinian participation in such processes.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to evictions of Palestinian families and the expansion of settlements in occupied East Jerusalem, what representations his Department has made to the Israeli authorities on reviewing the Absentees' Property Law and the Administrative Matters Law in that country.

We continue to be concerned by the impact of evictions on ordinary Palestinians and the viability of a future Palestinian state. We regularly make clear our serious concerns about the evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem to the Israeli authorities and the Municipality of Jerusalem, both bilaterally and in co-operation with like-minded diplomatic partners. The Fourth Geneva Convention, which applies to all occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, prohibits demolitions or forced evictions absent military necessity.

Evictions of Palestinians from their homes cause unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians, call into question Israel's commitment to a viable two-state solution and, in all but the most exceptional of cases, are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. I raised our concern about the eviction of Palestinians from their homes, with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 29 October 2020, and the British Embassy in Tel Aviv raises this issue regularly with the Israeli authorities. On 25 November 2020, the UK Consul General Jerusalem visited families at risk of eviction in Sheikh Jarrah, restating UK opposition to evictions of Palestinians from their homes. The UK is focused on preventing demolitions and evictions from happening in the first place through our legal aid programme, which supports Bedouin communities and Palestinians facing demolition or home eviction in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem. We continue to urge the Government of Israel to develop improved mechanisms for zoning, planning and permitting in Area C for the benefit of the Palestinian population, including by facilitating local Palestinian participation in such processes.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
13th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what the Government's policy is on the responsibility of the Israeli Government for the eviction of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and throughout occupied East Jerusalem, notwithstanding the involvement of private settler organisations in that matter.

We continue to be concerned by the impact of evictions on ordinary Palestinians and the viability of a future Palestinian state. We regularly make clear our serious concerns about the evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem to the Israeli authorities and the Municipality of Jerusalem, both bilaterally and in co-operation with like-minded diplomatic partners. The Fourth Geneva Convention, which applies to all occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, prohibits demolitions or forced evictions absent military necessity.

Evictions of Palestinians from their homes cause unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians, call into question Israel's commitment to a viable two-state solution and, in all but the most exceptional of cases, are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. I raised our concern about the eviction of Palestinians from their homes, with the Israeli Ambassador to the UK on 29 October 2020, and the British Embassy in Tel Aviv raises this issue regularly with the Israeli authorities. On 25 November 2020, the UK Consul General Jerusalem visited families at risk of eviction in Sheikh Jarrah, restating UK opposition to evictions of Palestinians from their homes. The UK is focused on preventing demolitions and evictions from happening in the first place through our legal aid programme, which supports Bedouin communities and Palestinians facing demolition or home eviction in both the West Bank and East Jerusalem. We continue to urge the Government of Israel to develop improved mechanisms for zoning, planning and permitting in Area C for the benefit of the Palestinian population, including by facilitating local Palestinian participation in such processes.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
8th Dec 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with reference to the reported attack by Israeli forces against Palestine Red Crescent Society paramedics treating an injured man in Jordan Valley on 24 November 2020, what recent representations he has made to his Israeli counterparts to encourage prompt, independent and thorough investigations into and accountability for incidents of obstruction and attacks against health workers in the occupied Palestinian territory.

We condemn any incidence of violence by settlers against Palestinians. We continue to stress the importance of the Israeli security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population, and urge restraint in the use of live fire. In instances where there have been accusations of excessive use of force, we have advocated swift, transparent investigations. We welcome the efforts of Israeli authorities to address settler violence, and urge them to thoroughly investigate every instance to bring those responsible to justice.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment the Government has made of the potential merits of (a) the UK not participating in the G20 summit in Saudi Arabia in response to that country's human rights record and (b) making the UK's participation contingent on the release of women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul.

The UK will participate in the G20 Summit, which is likely to focus on health, the global economic recovery and wider global challenges (including climate change, trade and development). It is a key part of international planning for a sustainable recovery from coronavirus. As current G20 President, Saudi Arabia will play a vital role in coordinating the global health and economic response. We hope that the international platform provided by the G20 Presidency encourages continued progress on domestic reforms.

Our close relationship with Saudi Arabia allows us to raise our concerns about human rights, including on political detainees, in private and in public. We have expressed significant concerns about reports of continuing arrests and arbitrary detentions in Saudi Arabia. The UK signed a statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 15 September. It deeply regretted the continued detention of at least five women's human rights defenders, arrested in 2018, and called for the release of all political detainees. We continue to raise concerns at all levels and we are monitoring the ongoing situation closely.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, if he will take diplomatic steps to make Saudi Arabia's participation in the upcoming virtual G20 summit conditional upon the release of (a) Prince Turki bin Abdullah, (b) Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and (c) other political detainees in that country.

Our close relationship with Saudi Arabia allows us to raise our concerns about human rights, including on political detainees, in private and in public. We have expressed significant concerns about reports of continuing arrests and arbitrary detentions in Saudi Arabia. The UK signed a statement at the UN Human Rights Council on 15 September. It called for the release of all political detainees, and noted concern over reports of torture and arbitrary detention. We continue to raise concerns at all levels and we are monitoring the ongoing situation closely.

The G20 Leaders' Summit is likely to focus on health, the global economic recovery and wider global challenges (including climate change, trade and development). It is a key part of international planning for a sustainable recovery from coronavirus. As current G20 President, Saudi Arabia will play a vital role in coordinating the global health and economic response. We hope that the international platform provided by the G20 Presidency encourages continued progress on domestic reforms.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
16th Jun 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, whether officials in his Department have had discussions with their (a) Egyptian, (b) Sudanese and (c) Ethiopian counterparts on the Grand Renaissance Dam.

We are aware of reports on the ongoing dispute between Ethiopia and Egypt over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. We continue to urge all parties involved to come to an agreement and to avoid taking any unilateral action. The Foreign Secretary spoke to Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry on these terms on 8 June, as did the Minister for Africa with Ethiopian Foreign Minister Gedu on 20 May. We welcome the resumption of talks between the Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt to work towards a peaceful resolution.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many UK nationals are awaiting repatriation as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

Helping British nationals who need and want to return to the UK is one of the Government's highest priorities. Since the outbreak in Wuhan, we estimate that over 1.3 million people have returned to the UK via commercial routes - the majority supported by our work to keep vital routes open. Additionally we have brought home over 31,000 people on 146 flights organised by the Foreign Office from 27 countries and territories.

We estimate that low tens of thousands of British travellers remain overseas. We continue to work round the clock to keep them informed of options to return and support them where necessary when they choose to take those options, whether that is commercial routes or special Her Majesty's Government charter flights.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many EU Civil Protection Mechanism flights the UK has participated in since the start of the covid-19 pandemic.

The UK has activated the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism (CPM) on several occasions, as part of our international response to coronavirus, which has helped repatriate British travellers and EU citizens. As of 24 April, the EU estimated that around 2,000 UK citizens had been repatriated under the CPM.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many EU Civil Protection Mechanism flights the Government has agreed to participate in since the start of the covid-19 outbreak.

The UK has activated the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism (CPM) on several occasions, as part of our international response to coronavirus, which has helped repatriate British travellers and EU citizens. As of 24 April, the EU estimated that around 2,000 UK citizens had been repatriated under the CPM.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many repatriation flights for UK nationals have been arranged since the start of the covid-19 pandemic.

Since 31 January, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has repatriated over 31,000 people on 146 flights from 27 countries and territories. We estimate that over 1.3 million people have returned to the UK via commercial routes - the majority supported by our work to keep vital routes open.

The UK Government continues to work with the airline industry and host governments across the world to help bring back British travellers to the UK as part of the plan announced by the Foreign Secretary on 30 March - with up to £75 million available for special charter flights to priority countries, focused on helping the most vulnerable travellers.

12th May 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many UK nationals have been repatriated since the restrictions on travel during the covid-19 pandemic were introduced.

Since 31 January, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has repatriated over 31,000 people on 146 flights from 27 countries and territories. We estimate that over 1.3 million people have returned to the UK via commercial routes - the majority supported by our work to keep vital routes open.

The UK Government continues to work with the airline industry and host governments across the world to help bring back British travellers to the UK as part of the plan announced by the Foreign Secretary on 30 March - with up to £75 million available for special charter flights to priority countries, focused on helping the most vulnerable travellers.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to the Chief Executive of Hong Kong on the potential use of national security legislation to suspend the Hong Kong Legislative Council; and what assessment he has made of the compatibility of the use of that legislation with the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Under Article 23 of the Hong Kong Basic Law, the Hong Kong SAR Government has an obligation to enact national security legislation, however, the Basic Law does not provide a deadline for such legislation to be enacted. While it is a matter for the Hong Kong authorities to decide when and how to bring forward the legislation, we note the risk that any attempt to introduce it before wider concerns about rights and freedoms in Hong Kong have been addressed could further unsettle the situation in Hong Kong. Any legislation introduced in Hong Kong should be consistent with both the letter and the spirit of the Joint Declaration and the Hong Kong Basic Law. The UK Consul General in Hong Kong meets the Chief Executive and her team on a regular basis, and frequently raises the rights and freedoms guaranteed under the Joint Declaration.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many flights the Government has sponsored in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The British Government is working with the airline industry and host governments across the world to help bring back British travellers to the UK as part of the plan announced by the Foreign Secretary on 30 March - with up to £75 million available for special charter flights to priority countries, focused on helping the most vulnerable travellers. Through the work that our teams have done with airlines or foreign governments to keep vital routes open we estimate that over 1.3 million people have returned to the UK via commercial routes since the outbreak began.

As of 0800 on 27 April, more than 18,630 people on 90 flights organised by the British Government have been brought back from 20 different countries and territories. The Government has also assisted more than 19,000 passengers on board cruise ships to return home, either by providing consular assistance, or by working with local authorities and cruise operators to allow ships to dock.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many UK nationals have been repatriated since the travel restrictions were introduced in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

The British Government is working with the airline industry and host governments across the world to help bring back British travellers to the UK as part of the plan announced by the Foreign Secretary on 30 March - with up to £75 million available for special charter flights to priority countries, focused on helping the most vulnerable travellers. Through the work that our teams have done with airlines or foreign governments to keep vital routes open we estimate that over 1.3 million people have returned to the UK via commercial routes since the outbreak began.

As of 0800 on 27 April, more than 18,630 people on 90 flights organised by the British Government have been brought back from 20 different countries and territories. The Government has also assisted more than 19,000 passengers on board cruise ships to return home, either by providing consular assistance, or by working with local authorities and cruise operators to allow ships to dock.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many UK nationals are awaiting repatriation as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The British Government is working with the airline industry and host governments across the world to help bring back British travellers to the UK as part of the plan announced by the Foreign Secretary on 30 March - with up to £75 million available for special charter flights to priority countries, focused on helping the most vulnerable travellers. As of 0800 on 27 April, we estimate around 57,500 British Nationals (BN) are still wanting to return to the UK, with 1 British national passenger still to return from cruise ships.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, with reference to the covid-13 outbreak, how many EU Civil Protection Mechanism flights the UK has participated in to date.

The UK has activated the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism (CPM) on several occasions, as part of our international response to coronavirus, which has helped repatriate British Nationals and EU citizens. As of 16 April, the UK has activated 6 flights.

Stranded British travellers and their families are our priority. One of the conditions of activating the CPM is to allow EU nationals on board as well. In regions where there have been a large number of British people who wish to return to the UK that has not always been possible. The CPM would, therefore, not be relevant as we haven't been able to offer seats to EU nationals.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many UK embassies are open as of 20 April 2020.

On 20 April 2020, 98.6% of our Posts were open. 113 of these Posts are British Embassies (this number does not include British High Commissions, Overseas Territories or Posts which are subordinate to Embassies). Four Posts have closed because of the Covid-19 pandemic: our Consulate Generals in Wuhan and Chongqing and the Embassy offices (which do not hold Embassy status) in N'djamena and Goma.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many UK consulates remain open during the covid-19 pandemic.

On 20 April 2020, 98.6% of our Posts were open. 37 of these are British Consulate Generals and 16 are British Consulates. These numbers include only those Posts classed as Consulate Generals or Consulates, and do not include other types of overseas office or representation, such as Honorary Consulates.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many UK embassy and consulate staff are self-isolating as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The FCO does not hold data centrally on the number of Embassy and Consulate staff who are self-isolating because of COVID-19 symptoms.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many UK nationals have contacted UK embassies and consulates for help since covid-19 related travel restrictions were introduced.

Since 16 March, FCO staff in Embassies, Consulates, and our consular contact centres, together with our commercially contracted call centres, have handled almost 105,000 telephone enquiries. In addition they have dealt with over 3,500 written enquiries per week.

20th Apr 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, how many EU Civil Protection Mechanism flights the Government has signed up to participate in as a result of the covid-19 outbreak.

The UK has activated the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism (CPM) on several occasions, as part of our international response to coronavirus, which has helped repatriate British Nationals and EU citizens. As of 16 April, the EU estimates that 1,837 British Nationals have been repatriated under the CPM.

Stranded British travellers and their families are our priority. One of the conditions of activating the CPM is to allow EU nationals on board as well. In regions where there have been a large number of British people who wish to return to the UK that has not always been possible. The CPM would, therefore, not be relevant as we haven't been able to offer seats to EU nationals.

20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Saudi Arabian counterpart on on the human rights of women's rights activists in that country.

We remain concerned about the continued detention of women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia, and about the allegations that women's rights activists have been subject to torture during their detention in Saudi Arabia. We have consistently called for them to have access to legal representation, raised concerns about the use of solitary confinement and allegations of torture, and have pressed for due process. During his visit to Riyadh on 4 and 5 March, the Foreign Secretary raised our concerns about the continued detention of women's rights activists. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and raise these cases.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment has he made of the effect of the continued detention of female activists in Saudi Arabia on human rights in that country; and if he will make a statement.

We are concerned about the continued detention of women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia, and allegations that activists have been subject to torture during detention. The Foreign Secretary raised our concerns about the ongoing detention of political detainees, including women's rights defenders, during his visit to Riyadh on 4 and 5 March. We will continue to raise concerns.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment he made of the risk to female British tourists visiting Saudi Arabia.

We welcome Saudi Arabia's recent reforms supporting greater female participation in Saudi society, including through the expansion of education and employment opportunities. However, women's rights in Saudi Arabia still fall short of international standards. We continue to raise our concerns about women's rights with the Saudi authorities along with broader human rights issues, most recently by the Foreign Secretary during his visit earlier this month. We have not issued any travel advice specifically for British women visiting Saudi Arabia.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he has made to his Saudi counterpart on the detention of Prince Turki bin Abdullah.

We continue to monitor the cases of political detainees in Saudi Arabia, including Prince Turki bin Abdullah. We regularly raise human rights issues with Saudi Arabia, most recently by the Foreign Secretary during his visit earlier this month.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
20th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what estimate he has made of the value of the UK assets and investments of those implicated in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

We do not comment on individual cases.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential for British journalists to be expelled from (a) mainland China, (b) Hong Kong, and (c) Macau, following the decision by the Chinese Foreign Ministry to expel US citizens working for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the New York Times from those regions.

As Lord Ahmad said in the Lords on 19 March, we have consistently stated our concern about media freedoms in China. The Chinese Government's announcement that they will prevent certain American journalists from working in China and Macao further restricts transparency at a particularly important time. The suggestion by the Chinese MFA that this measure may apply in Hong Kong is deeply concerning. The Sino-British Joint Declaration is clear. It sets out that immigration decisions are the sole responsibility of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, and freedom of the press is guaranteed. It is imperative that these rights and freedoms are fully respected.

We are concerned about the implications this decision could have upon British Journalists. We will continue to monitor the situation and work with the Chinese and Hong Kong Governments on this issue.

We remain fully committed to upholding Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms underpinned by the legally binding Joint Declaration, and the 'One Country, Two Systems' framework set out in the Hong Kong Basic Law.

18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what assessment he has made of the potential for US citizens working for British news publications to be expelled from (a) mainland China, (b) Hong Kong, and (c) Macau, following the decision by the Chinese Foreign Ministry to expel US citizens working for American news publications from those regions.

As Lord Ahmad said in the Lords on 19 March, we have consistently stated our concern about media freedoms in China. The Chinese Government's announcement that they will prevent certain American journalists from working in China and Macao further restricts transparency at a particularly important time. The suggestion by the Chinese MFA that this measure may apply in Hong Kong is deeply concerning. The Sino-British Joint Declaration is clear. It sets out that immigration decisions are the sole responsibility of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, and freedom of the press is guaranteed. It is imperative that these rights and freedoms are fully respected.

We are concerned about the implications this decision could have upon British Journalists. We will continue to monitor the situation and work with the Chinese and Hong Kong Governments on this issue.

We remain fully committed to upholding Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms underpinned by the legally binding Joint Declaration, and the 'One Country, Two Systems' framework set out in the Hong Kong Basic Law.

18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his US counterpart on introducing sanctions in response to the decision by the Chinese Foreign Ministry to expel US citizens working for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the New York Times from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

We have announced our intention to establish a UK autonomous Global Human Rights ('Magnitsky-style') sanctions regime. It would be inappropriate to comment on potential designations before the regulations come into force.

18th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect on human rights of the use of the death penalty in Saudi Arabia.

We regularly make clear, using a range of Ministerial and diplomatic channels, that the British Government opposes the death penalty in all circumstances and in every country. This is especially the case for crimes other than the most serious and for juveniles. This is in line with the minimum standards set out in the EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty of 2008 and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Arab Charter on Human Rights. We regularly raise human rights issues with Saudi Arabia, most recently by the Foreign Secretary during his visit earlier this month.

James Cleverly
Home Secretary
9th Mar 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the Togo Government on the benefits of independent domestic election observation.

We welcomed the largely peaceful conduct of Togo's presidential election on 22 February, and the deployment of election observers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union. The UK participated in an unofficial election monitoring mission with the UN in Lomé. We were however deeply concerned that Togo's Electoral Commission revoked the election observer license of the National Consultation of Civil Society of Togo on 18 February, preventing 600 independent observers from participating.

22nd Jan 2024
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make representations to (a) HSBC and (b) other UK-based pension providers to accept early withdrawal requests from Hong Kongers on the British National (Overseas) visa scheme who intend to obtain an indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

Ministers engage regularly with the UK financial sector on a range of issues. The root of the problem is the Chinese Government's decision not to recognise the BN(O) passport as a valid identity document in Hong Kong. The UK firmly opposes the discrimination of BN(O)s in this way. We continue to urge the Hong Kong authorities to facilitate early drawdown of funds as is the case for other Hong Kong residents who move overseas permanently.

Bim Afolami
Economic Secretary (HM Treasury)
12th Sep 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential impact of the increase in alcohol duty on (a) economic growth and (b) job creation within the Scotch Whisky industry.

The potential impacts of the recent changes to alcohol duty rates were published at Spring Budget in HMRC’s Tax Information and Impact Note and can be found online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/changes-to-alcohol-duty-rates/alcohol-duty-rate-changes#summary-of-impacts.

This Government is supporting Scotch Whisky. We have provided a series of cuts and freezes to alcohol duties in the past decade. Before Spring Budget 2023, the spirits industry has benefitted from cuts or freezes to spirits duty at eight out of the last nine fiscal events, since the end of the duty escalator for spirits in 2013. The most recent alcohol duty freeze from Autumn Budget 2021, including the extension to 1 August 2023, represented a total tax cut of £2.7 billion over the next four years.

We have also undertaken the biggest reform of alcohol duties in 140 years and moved all alcohol products to being taxed based on their strength, narrowing the gap between spirits and still wine.

Further, we have removed punitive tariffs on Scotch Whisky imposed on the US market and are committed to protecting the interests of Scotch Whisky in trading agreements, ensuring that they face lower tariffs for export, and that the unique characteristics and global reputation of Scotch is protected, as demonstrated recently in our free trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand, and the CPTPP.

Gareth Davies
Exchequer Secretary (HM Treasury)
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential effect of changing taxation rules on NHS provided housing to help (a) retain NHS staff and (b) encourage new staff to island communities.

Where an employer provides living accommodation to an employee and it is not within the scope of any exemptions, the cost of providing that accommodation will be taxable as a benefit-in-kind.

The tax rules for employer provided accommodation apply to the whole of the UK and are consistent across different employers. This ensures the UK tax system is simple, easy to understand, and limits the risk of abuse.

The Government keeps all taxes under review.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
17th Jul 2023
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will review the employer-provided living accommodation tax exemptions and the potential impact of geographical location on the application of those exemptions.

Where an employer provides living accommodation to an employee and it is not within the scope of any exemptions, the cost of providing that accommodation will be taxable as a benefit-in-kind.

The tax rules for employer provided accommodation apply to the whole of the UK and are consistent across different employers. This ensures the UK tax system is simple, easy to understand, and limits the risk of abuse.

The Government keeps all taxes under review.

Victoria Atkins
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how much money the FCA has spent on online advertising relating to fraud and scams, by company.

This is a matter for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is operationally independent from Government. The question has been passed on to the FCA. The FCA will reply directly to the Honourable Member by letter. A copy of the letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

John Glen
Paymaster General and Minister for the Cabinet Office
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

In April 2021, 72% of Treasury replies were answered within 20 working days. This has increased to 77% as of October 2021 and we are continuing to make improvements to response times.

Helen Whately
Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what additional funding has been provided to the NHS as a result of the UK’s departure from the EU and statements made during the 2016 referendum campaign.

The NHS is a key spending priority for the government and that is why it committed in 2018 to a historic settlement that provides a cash increase of £33.9 billion a year by 2023-24. The announcement was clear that “some of the extra funding will come from the money the government will no longer spend on the annual membership subscription to the European Union after Britain has left”

Since then, we have gone even further, and announced a new Health and Social Care Levy which will provide a further £15.7bn to the NHS over the next 3 years.

9th Mar 2021
If his Department will make an assessment of the potential merits of making permanent the five per cent reduced rate of VAT for the tourism and hospitality sector.

The temporary reduced rate of VAT was introduced on 15 July to support the cash flow and viability of about 150,000 businesses and to protect over 2.4 million jobs in the hospitality and tourism sectors. As announced at Budget, this relief will now run until 31 March 2022, with a staggered return to the standard rate. Applying this relief permanently would come at a significant cost to the Exchequer, and that cost would have to be balanced by increased taxes elsewhere, or reductions in Government spending.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, how many people who have been in settlement discussions with HMRC on the Loan Charge have settled their case.

About 5,600 employers and individuals settled their use of disguised remuneration tax avoidance schemes in the period to 30 September 2020, in addition to the about 11,000 employers and individuals who settled their use of disguised remuneration schemes between Budget 2016 and 31 March 2020.

Further information on settlements is available in HMRC’s report to Parliament on the implementation of the recommendations of the independent Loan Charge Review, which was published on 3 December: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-loan-charge-review-hmrc-report-on-implementation.

25th Nov 2020
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what estimate he has made of the number of people who will be declared bankrupt as a result of the implementation of the Loan Charge.

HMRC do not want to make anybody bankrupt, and insolvency is only ever considered as a last resort. HMRC will work with individuals to reach sustainable and manageable payment plans wherever possible. In line with current practice, HMRC will pause recovery action where a taxpayer has no ability to pay, until there is a significant change of circumstance.

HMRC are not always the only creditor and some individuals may choose to enter insolvency themselves based on their overall financial position.

Anyone who is worried about being able to pay what they owe is encouraged to get in touch with HMRC as soon as possible on 03000 599110.

12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps his Department is taking to provide support to people who have been misreferred to Prevent.

Where the police take a decision that a referral is not suitable for Prevent, the referral will be closed. The person being referred will not routinely be made aware of the referral. Where the person is signposted for support via other services – which could include social care or mental health services – they will receive support via the appropriate service.

It will process complaints from both the public and practitioners, and will take instruction from Ministers to conduct investigations and publish findings. The unit will be delivered by the Commission for Countering Extremism, and will be answerable to Ministers on the Prevent oversight board.

Tom Tugendhat
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) children and (b) young people under the age of 20 referred to Prevent in the latest period for which data is available.

The Home Office published its annual statistics on individuals referred to and supported through Prevent programme on December 7th 2023. The release covers Prevent data reported between April 2022 and March 2023, and for the first time includes statistics to show the number of minors referred to Prevent. In the year ending 31 March 2023, there were 3,773 referrals to Prevent for individuals aged 17 and under.

This comprises 56% of referrals where the age was known. Combining those aged 17 and under with those aged 18, 19 and 20, there were 4,322 referrals to Prevent for individuals aged under 21.

This comprises 64% of all referrals where the age was known. More information and detailed data tables are provided in the latest release, available at https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/individuals-referred-to-prevent

Tom Tugendhat
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions he has had with neurodiverse people on the potential impact of the Prevent duty on them.

The Home Office keeps the needs of people referred to Prevent under review. Over the past 3 years, this has included training for Prevent practitioners - including Intervention Providers and Channel panels - from the National Autistic Society to ensure that people with neurodiverse conditions are effectively supported throughout their engagement with Prevent.

Neurodiversity was also considered as part of the Prevent Duty Guidance Equality Impact Assessment, which was updated in September 2023.

Tom Tugendhat
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
12th Dec 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate he has made of the number of neurodiverse people referred to Prevent in the latest period for which data is available.

The Home Office does not hold information on the number of neurodiverse people referred to Prevent, as neurodiversity is not recorded on either the police or Home Office-owned Prevent databases.

A new Prevent case management system will be launched next year which will be able to capture data more accurately, including information relating to neurodiversity.

Tom Tugendhat
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
15th Nov 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate he has made of the date by which he will next receive an update on the independent policing productivity review.

The Policing Productivity Review was commissioned in August 2020 to produce clear, practical, and deliverable recommendations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of policing functions. They have provided their report to the Home Office, which has now been published.

The Government welcomes this review and is supportive of any effort to reduce bureaucracy and make it easier for the police to do their jobs. The Home Office is considering each of the recommendations and will engage with relevant stakeholders to respond to the report in due course.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many staff vacancies were there for the Border Force in each of the last five years.

The information requested could not be obtained without disproportionate cost. The link to Home Office annual reports and accounts which hold detail on staff costs is enclosed below:

HO annual reports and accounts - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many staff worked for the Border Force in each of the last five years.

Staffing figures for Border Force can be found at Home Office annual report and accounts:

HO annual reports and accounts - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent discussions she has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Business and Trade, (b) police forces, (c) the National Crime Agency, (d) HMRC and (e) the Food Standards Agency on the traffic of illicit and counterfeit food goods across the channel.

Border Force work closely with the lead department DEFRA in relation to Products of Animals Origins and food smuggling data.

The DEFRA link below will provide further detail in relation to the questions asked:

www.gov.uk/guidance/import-or-move-food-and-drink-from-the-eu-and-northern-ireland-to-great-britain

4th Jul 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the levels of cross-channel food smuggling in each of the last five years.

Border Force work closely with the lead department DEFRA in relation to Products of Animals Origins and food smuggling data.

The DEFRA link below will provide further detail in relation to the questions asked:

www.gov.uk/guidance/import-or-move-food-and-drink-from-the-eu-and-northern-ireland-to-great-britain

13th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what is the current average wait time for a decision to be made on a modern slavery case under the National Referral Mechanism.

The Home Office publishes quarterly and annual statistics regarding the National Referral Mechanism (NRM). These include the average time taken to make a Conclusive Grounds Decision. The latest published NRM statistics can be found here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1154119/modern-slavery-national-referral-mechanism-statistics-uk-quarter-1-2023-january-to-march-tables.ods

17th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the average time taken to investigate cases at Action Fraud.

Action Fraud is the national reporting service for fraud but is not responsible for investigations. Reports submitted to Action Fraud are considered by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and evaluated to assess the information available which could assist an investigation.

The NFIB currently aims to review every report for vulnerability within 72 hours of it being received on the NFIB technology platform. All allegations where viable lines of enquiry are identified should be disseminated to the appropriate force within 7– 28 days of reporting, depending on the level of information and evidence available.

We are working with City of London Police to refresh and upgrade the current Action Fraud service. Improvements include using automation within NFIB to increase its effectiveness.

Tom Tugendhat
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
5th May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Office, what proportion of her Department's budget was spent on food for the police force in each of the last five years; and what proportion of food supplied to the police force was produced by UK farmers in each of those years.

The Home Office does not hold information relating to the proportion of budgets spent on food for police forces and what proportion of the food supplied was produced by UK farmers.

Decisions on how to use funding and resources are an operational matter for Chief Constables. Police and Crime Commissioners are best placed to make resourcing decisions within their communities based on their local knowledge and experience,

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
2nd Mar 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what information her Department holds on the average financial loss per fraud victim in 2022.

Fraud covers a diverse range of modus operandi and as a result losses incurred by victims can vary and there is no typical victim. Caution should therefore be applied in using data to generate an average loss figure.

The Office for National Statistics publish annually the financial losses for fraud broken down into bands, Fraud victims incurred a financial loss in around two in three (64%) incidents in the year ending March 2022 Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW) (Nature of crime: fraud and computer misuse table 8a). Financial loss represents incidents where an amount of money or cash had been stolen or taken as a direct result of fraud, regardless of any later reimbursement, or any additional charges or costs incurred (such as bank charges, repair costs or replacement costs).

In incidents for which victims suffered a financial loss:

  • the average (median) loss being £79
  • the majority (77%) incurred a loss of less than £250
  • around 14% incurred a loss of between £250 and £999, and the remaining 9% incurred a loss of £1,000 or more

Financial loss suffered by victims of fraud, Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW)

Financial loss

Total proportion of frauds

Percentage of those frauds involving financial loss
[note 1]

Cumulative total

No financial loss

35.5

[z]

[z]

Less than £20

7.0

10.9

10.9

£20 - £49

15.9

24.7

35.6

£50 - £99

13.4

20.8

56.4

£100 - £249

13.6

21.1

77.5

£250 - £499

6.6

10.2

87.7

£500 - £999

2.3

3.6

91.2

£1,000 - £2,499

3.2

4.9

96.1

£2,500 - £4,999

1.5

2.3

98.4

£5,000 - £9,999

0.4

0.7

99.1

£10,000 or more [note 5]

0.6

0.9

100.0

Median loss [note 6] [note 7]

[z]

£79

[z]

Unweighted base - number of incidents

2,708

1,653

[z]

Source: Office for National Statistics - Telephone-operated Crime Survey for England and Wales (TCSEW)

Note 1: This represents incidents where an amount of money or cash had been stolen or taken as a direct result of fraud, regardless of any later reimbursement, or any additional charges or costs incurred (such as bank charges, repair costs or replacement costs).

Tom Tugendhat
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
27th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the average time is for a refugee to receive a Biometric Residence Permit after receiving refugee status.

The waiting times for biometric residence permits (BRP) are dictated by the BRP production and delivery processes. Regarding the individual production time of each BRP from the time a decision is made, the information is not available publicly and could only be obtained at a disproportionate cost.

We aim to deliver a BRP within 7 working days of the immigration decision. BRPs are produced at the secure delivery facility (Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA)) within 48 hours of the production request being made and are collected by our secure delivery partner the same day. Our secure delivery partner aims to attempt to deliver the BRPs within 48 hours of receipt of the BRPs. This equates to a minimum of 5 working days from date of production request being made to delivery of the BRP. We have added an additional 2 working days to the timeline advised to applicants to allow us to resolve any production issues.

Since 1st April 2022, DVLA have produced all BRPs within 48 hours of the production request, with 97.7% being produced within 24 hours. Since 1st April 2022, our delivery partner attempted to deliver over 99% of BRPs within 48 hours, and delivered over 75% of BRPs successfully on first delivery attempt.

The Home Office is developing a border and immigration system which will be digital by default. The ambition is to phase out physical documents such as biometric residence permits before the end of 2024 as we move towards a system of online evidence of immigration status (eVisas).

21st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Oral contribution of the Minister for Immigration of 20 February 2023, Official Report, column 33, when she plans to publish findings from the monitoring of human rights lawyers acting for asylum seekers.

People who make dangerous journeys by putting their lives at risk to reach the UK often seek immigration advice. When considering representations, the Home Office ensures that firms raising such immigration matters have the correct regulatory credentials. If evidence exists that obligations have been breached, we may refer the firm to regulators.

21st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Oral contribution of the Minister for Immigration of 20 February 2023, Official Report, column 33, for what reason the Government is undertaking monitoring of human rights lawyers acting for asylum seekers.

People who make dangerous journeys by putting their lives at risk to reach the UK often seek immigration advice. When considering representations, the Home Office ensures that firms raising such immigration matters have the correct regulatory credentials. If evidence exists that obligations have been breached, we may refer the firm to regulators.

21st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many human rights lawyers acting for asylum seekers are monitored by her Department in (a) England, (b) Scotland, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) Wales.

People who make dangerous journeys by putting their lives at risk to reach the UK often seek immigration advice. When considering representations, the Home Office ensures that firms raising such immigration matters have the correct regulatory credentials. If evidence exists that obligations have been breached, we may refer the firm to regulators.

21st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the oral contribution of 20 February by the Minister for Immigration, Official Report, column 33, how many human rights (a) solicitors, (b) advocates and (c) barristers acting for asylum seekers are being monitored by the Government.

People who make dangerous journeys by putting their lives at risk to reach the UK often seek immigration advice. When considering representations, the Home Office ensures that firms raising such immigration matters have the correct regulatory credentials. If evidence exists that obligations have been breached, we may refer the firm to regulators.

21st Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the oral contribution of 20 February by the Minister for Immigration, Official Report, column 33, in what way her Department is monitoring the activities of a small number of legal practitioners.

People who make dangerous journeys by putting their lives at risk to reach the UK often seek immigration advice. When considering representations, the Home Office ensures that firms raising such immigration matters have the correct regulatory credentials. If evidence exists that obligations have been breached, we may refer the firm to regulators.

9th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Home Affairs, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policy of the High Court ruling on R v Secretary of State for the Home Department.

It is not clear from the Hon. Member’s question which case he is referring to, however, the Home Office will always consider the implication of relevant High Court judgments as part of policy development.

2nd Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what contracts the Home Office currently has with Nick Timothy.

Nick Timothy is undertaking a short piece of work to advise on structures and systems which support the Home Secretary in the Home Office.

Nick Timothy started in the role on December 12 and the current appointment period is to the end of February. It is unpaid

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
18th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many vacancies there are in the Fire and Rescue Service.

The Home Office does not collect information on the number of vacancies in the Fire and Rescue Services in England.

The Home Office collects data annually on the size and diversity of the Fire and Rescue Service workforce in England. These statistics are published here: Fire statistics data tables - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).

It is the responsibility of each Fire and Rescue Authority to determine what resources they need to meet their anticipated risk.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many asylum seekers are housed in hotels in England.

The Home Office has a statutory obligation to provide accommodation and other support to asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute while their application for asylum is being considered.

The significant increase in dangerous journeys across the Channel is placing unprecedented strain on our asylum system and it has made it necessary to continue to use hotels to accommodate some asylum seekers. The use of hotels is a short-term solution, and we are working hard with local authorities to find appropriate accommodation.

9th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what external organisations were consulted when drafting the changes to the asylum claim system announced in the Prime Minister’s statement on 13 December 2022.

As the Prime Minister outlined last month, we are radically re-engineering the end-to-end asylum process, for instance, by drafting shorter and simpler guidance, and omitting long, substantive interviews where decisions can be taken on the evidence available. We are committed to engaging with external organisations working in the asylum and immigration sector and will continue to work with such organisations in existing stakeholder forums.

9th Jan 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the oral statement by the Prime Minister of 13 December 2022, Official Report, column 885, whether she plans to publish further details on the changes to the asylum claim system.

As the Prime Minister outlined last month, we are radically re-engineering the end-to-end asylum process, for instance, by drafting shorter and simpler guidance, and omitting long, substantive interviews where decisions can be taken on the evidence available. We are committed to engaging with external organisations working in the asylum and immigration sector and will continue to work with such organisations in existing stakeholder forums.

1st Dec 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how long on average it takes for applications to the Ukrainian Sponsorship Scheme to be processed.

The Home Office does not publish data on the average processing times for an application under the Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme.

Applications for Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme are processed as quickly as possible whilst ensuring that the appropriate checks and safeguarding measures are in place.

24th Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what the revenue was for the Immigration Skills Charge from NHS employers in (a) each financial year since 2017-18 and (b) the 2022-23 financial year as of 24 November 2022.

The Home Office reports total Immigration Skills Charge revenue in the Annual Report and Accounts. Whilst some employment data is captured, it is not captured or recorded in a way that allows for the specific categorisation of NHS employers.

Total Immigration Skills Charges is found in the links and pages referenced below:

2021-22 pages 208 and 216

Home_Office_ARA_21-22_Final_-_Gov.uk.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)

2020-21 pages 191and 199

HO annual report and accounts 2020-21 (publishing.service.gov.uk)

2019-20 pages 187 and 195-196

Home Office annual report and accounts 2019 - 2020 (publishing.service.gov.uk)

2018-19 pages 168 and 175

Home Office Annual Report and Accounts 2018-19 (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Data relating to the current financial year will be made available on publication of the 2022-23 Home Office Annual Report and Accounts following closure of the financial year.

1st Nov 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people have been (a) prosecuted and (b) fined for excessive vehicle noise on public roads in each of the last three years.

The Home Office collects and publishes information annually on the number of Fixed Penalty Notices issued and other outcomes for motoring offences, including for the specific noise offence classification 822. This information is published as part of the Home Office’s annual ‘Other PACE Powers’ bulletin and can be found in Table FPN_03 of the Fixed Penalty Notices data tables.

It should be noted that offence 822 does not cover all offences related to excessive vehicle noise and the data does not specify whether the incident occurred on a public road.

The next release of this bulletin is scheduled for Thursday 17th November, and will contain data for the calendar year 2021.

The Home Office does not collect information on the number of prosecutions for excessive vehicle noise on public roads. The Ministry of Justice publishes data in its Criminal Justice Statistics Quarterly publication on prosecutions and convictions for motoring offences.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
28th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many staff employed by her Department were dismissed for misuse of the email system in each of the last five years.

The Home Office disciplinary database has several broad categories to group cases for identification and management information purposes.

However, the categories are not sufficiently detailed to identify particular elements of a case.

Therefore, this information can only be supplied by disproportionate effort.

Tom Tugendhat
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
28th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many staff employed by her Department have been reinstated following dismissal for misuse of the email system in each of the last five years.

The Home Office disciplinary database has several broad categories to group cases for identification and management information purposes.

However, the categories are not sufficiently detailed to identify particular elements of a case. Therefore, this information can only be supplied by disproportionate effort.

Tom Tugendhat
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
28th Oct 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether any staff in her Department were dismissed for misuse of the email system in each of the last five years.

The Home Office disciplinary database has several broad categories to group cases for identification and management information purposes.

However, the categories are not sufficiently detailed to identify particular elements of a case. Therefore, this information can only be supplied by disproportionate effort.

Tom Tugendhat
Minister of State (Home Office) (Security)
6th Sep 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of when the Change Request to the Emergency Services Network necessary to activate 4G masts in Rackwick and Stronsay in Orkney as part of the Scottish 4G Infill Programme will be completed.

The sites referred to on Orkney are EAS0171 Rackwick and EAS0543 Stronsay, they are planned to be activated by March 2023. Both sites are passive build complete with mains power delivered, awaiting transmission and active equipment installation.

They are part of the wider 17 Scottish Futures Trust sites (S4Gi Project sites) that the HO have prioritised with EE, our Transmission (TX) delivery partner. EE are actively working on confirming the TX solutions to the 17 S4Gi sites. The TX contract was awarded to EE in August 22 and have started their prework on providing a full activation plan to the Home Office.

19th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what level of resources her Department plans to allocate to tackling cybercrime in each of the next five years.

Tackling cyber crime is at the heart of the Government’s new National Cyber Strategy which is supported by £2.6bn of new investment over the three year Spending Review period. We are continuing to build law enforcement capabilities at the national, regional and local levels to ensure they have the capacity to deal with the increasing volume and sophistication of cyber crime, which includes ensuring officers are being trained and upskilled.

19th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much her Department spent on ministerial travel (a) in 2019, (b) in 2020, (c) in 2021 and (d) to date in 2022.

We can report on how much the Home Office has spent on official business travel in total but identifying all Ministerial travel expenditure specifically can only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

The Home Office publishes details of Ministerial overseas travel on a quarterly basis, in line with transparency requirements, and this is available until March 2022.

Home Office: ministerial gifts, hospitality, travel and meetings - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
19th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much her Department spent on stationery (a) in 2019, (b) in 2020, (c) in 2021 and (d) to date in 2022.

The Home Office does not publish the information sought to the level of granularity required. Identifying stationery spending specifically can only be obtained at disproportionate cost. However, the Home Office does publish some cost information in relation to stationery and this is grouped together with publications and printing expenditure.

The Home Office records and publishes information on a financial year basis, April to March.

Refer to the links and pages below for the available published information that relates to spending on publications, stationery, and printing:

Page 171 of the 2021-22 Home Office Annual Report and Accounts

Home_Office_ARA_21-22_Final_-_Gov.uk.pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Page 159 of the 2020-21 Home Office Annual Report and Accounts

HO annual report and accounts 2020-21 (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Page 150 of the 2019-20 Home Office Annual Report and Accounts

Home Office annual report and accounts 2019 - 2020 (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Page 135 of the 2018-19 Home Office Annual Report and Accounts

Home Office Annual Report and Accounts 2018-19 (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
19th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much her Department spent on photography (a) in 2019, (b) in 2020, (c) in 2021 and (d) to date in 2022.

In 2020 there were two occasions external photographers were employed by communications directorate with a total cost of £695 (excluding VAT).

In 2022 £5,520 (excluding VAT) was spent on photography for a Home Office recruitment campaign.

Spend for photography as part of social media, marketing and internal communications is not recorded separately.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
15th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much her Department has spent on away days for Ministers and staff in each of the last four calendar years.

The Home Office does not publish the information sought to the level of granularity required and identifying spending on away days specifically from our management systems can only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many members of Home Office staff have roles dedicated to tackling (a) fraud and (b) cybercrime.

The Home Office has a total of (a) 31 FTE to tackle fraud against businesses and individuals and (b) 31 FTE to tackle cyber-crime.

Tackling crime, including fraud, is a top government priority and the Home Secretary meets victims of all crimes regularly.

14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many meetings she has had with (a) victims of fraud or (b) their representatives in each of the last 12 months.

The Home Office has a total of (a) 31 FTE to tackle fraud against businesses and individuals and (b) 31 FTE to tackle cyber-crime.

Tackling crime, including fraud, is a top government priority and the Home Secretary meets victims of all crimes regularly.

14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many meetings the Home Secretary has had on tackling domestic burglaries in each of the past 12 months.

The Home Secretary considers domestic burglary, alongside other neighbourhood crimes, on a regular basis.

This Government recognises the devastating impact domestic burglary has on communities. That is why we are recruiting 20,000 extra police officers and why we established the Safer Streets Fund to prevent these crimes from happening in the first place, supporting the deployment of solutions such as home security, increased streetlighting and CCTV in high crime areas.

We are also taking a range of measures to tackle reoffending, including the tagging scheme for neighbourhood crime offenders released on licence, and work driven by the Residential Burglary Taskforce, driving forward the sharing of best practice about police effective investigations.

The importance of tackling neighbourhood crime was discussed at the most recent meeting of the Home Secretary’s National Policing Board. This was attended by key senior police leaders, representing all forces and Police and Crime Commissioners across England and Wales.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many (a) police stations and (b) police counters have been closed in each of the last five years, by Parliamentary constituency.

The Home Office does not collect data on the number of closures of police stations or police counters.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
14th Jul 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how much the Home Office has spent on communications and public relations agencies in (a) 2019, (b) 2020, (c) 2021 and (d) 2022.

The Home Office does not publish the information sought to the level of granularity required and identifying spending on communications and public relations specifically from our management systems can only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Amanda Solloway
Government Whip, Lord Commissioner of HM Treasury
6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to ensure that Government funding is not used to support the partnership between the London Policing College and Chinese universities with links to policing in Xinjiang, in the context of reports of torture of ethnic minorities in that region.

In 2019 the British Council awarded funding to LPC as part of a regional programme to improve international teaching standards in police education in the target countries.

This included efforts to reduce human rights violations. The British Council have confirmed that they have never funded any activities involving Xinjiang security bodies.

LPC have also confirmed that no Xinjiang security bodies were involved in the programme and that they have now ceased all programme partnerships with China.

6th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the appropriateness of links between the London Policing College (LPC) and British police forces, in the context of reports that the LPC and four British police forces hosted Chinese delegates, including delegates from regions linked to alleged cases of torture of ethnic minorities.

The London College of Policing is an independent company engaging retired officers.

Any previous engagement by the London College of Policing with Chinese delegates (a conference in 2019) included the completion of the OSJA process.

25th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Answer of 25 April 2022 to Question 155600 on Asylum: Rwanda, what the evidential basis is for her statement that the cost to the public purse, per person, for transporting asylum seekers to Rwanda and processing their claims there would be comparable to processing costs in the UK; and if she will publish a cost estimate breakdown of the expected cost to the public purse, per person, under that scheme.

It has not proved possible to respond to the hon. Member in the time available before Prorogation.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
19th Apr 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the costs to the public purse of removing asylum seekers to Rwanda and funding the processing costs for each person relocated.

The UK is funding the processing costs for each individual who is relocated to Rwanda. Every person’s needs are different, but we anticipate the amount would be comparable to processing costs incurred in the UK.

As this is a long-term partnership over five year, payments will depend on the outcomes delivered including the number of people relocated. Funding is only provided while a person remains in Rwanda.

Tom Pursglove
Minister of State (Minister for Legal Migration and Delivery)
29th Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether the visa waiver for foreign workers on offshore windfarms will be extended beyond July 2022.

The offshore wind farm worker concession was extended earlier this year on 2 July until 1 July 2022, to allow foreign nationals to work in the construction and maintenance of offshore wind projects in UK territorial waters.

The Government is committed to promoting job opportunities for local labour and will always encourage employers to look to the domestic workforce first.

We regularly review all concessions and will be considering the future of this concession and its place in the wider immigration system ahead of it expiring in July.

21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when the Government will publish its Fraud Action Plan for 2022-25.

The action plan will be part of the Fraud Strategy which will be published in 2022.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
21st Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress she has made on the pilot for a national cyber-crime force.

The Government takes fraud and cyber crime very seriously. That is why, through the Spending Review 21 settlement and the Economic Crime Levy an overall package over the next three years of circa £400 million is being used to tackle economic crime, including fraud, including support for the National Crime Agency (NCA) and law enforcement.

As part of this, the NCA are increasing their capabilities on fraud. The pilot of a national cyber crime force focused on fraud, based in the NCA was set out in the 2021 Statement of Progress on the Economic Crime Plan. The NCA’s pilot has delivered new tasking, intelligence and strategic communications capabilities in the NCA. This new national cyber crime force focused on fraud will be fully established by 2025.

Tackling cyber crime is at the heart of the UK government’s new National Cyber Strategy which is supported by £2.6bn of new investment over the Spending Review period.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
2nd Mar 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what data the Government used to determine that 200,000 Ukrainian people would be eligible to seek asylum or residence to the UK.

The Government has set no limit to the number of people it will accept under the routes announced to support Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion, but potential use of these routes is difficult to estimate.

A broad estimate of potential sponsors under the Ukraine Family Scheme can be made, taking Ukrainian nationals with settlement or holding status under the EU Settlement Scheme and Ukrainians granted British citizenship as groups most likely to have familial links with Ukraine. Estimates are based on internal analysis. Data on these groups can be found in published statistics:

Table_Se_D01 of https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1055252/settlement-datasets-dec-2021.xlsx

Table EUSS_NON_EEA_02 of

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/eu-settlement-scheme-quarterly-statistics-december-2021

Ukrainian nationals at Table Cit_D02 of https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1055257/citizenship-datasets-dec-2021.xlsx

The Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine) provides support for an unlimited additional number of people.

Latest data on applications to come to or stay in the UK under the Ukraine Family Scheme or Ukraine Sponsorship Scheme (Homes for Ukraine), including totals for visa applications received and visas issued to people is published here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ukraine-family-scheme-application-data

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to paragraph 41 of the Explanatory Notes for the Elections Bill as brought from the House of Commons on 18 January 2022, if she will publish the underlying polling and focus group data cited relating to public attitudes on changing the voting system for Police and Crime Commissioner elections.

As Part of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Review evidence in relation to the voting mechanism for PCCs was gathered to inform the recommendations announced by the Home Secretary in March 2021.

This analysis was produced as internal analysis for the purposes of policy development. Given the Review was an internal Review, reporting directly to the Home Secretary, there are no plans to publish the evidence gathered.

10th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment her Department has made of the impact of crimes of fraud and computer misuse on UK businesses and consumers.

Reports of fraud and computer misuse offences are made to Action Fraud and are recorded as criminal offences by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). The Home Office collects data on these reports. This data is published by the Office for National Statistics on a quarterly basis.

The latest breakdown of fraud and computer misuse offences is available from June 2015 to June 2021 in table A5 below:

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/datasets/crimeinenglandandwalesappendixtables

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
17th Jan 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to extend section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 on transparency and supply chains to improve its effectiveness in governing the activities of financial services institutions, in response to reports of HSBC facilitating investment in Xinjiang Tianye Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, an entity sanctioned by the US for its involvement in alleged atrocity crimes in the Xinjiang Uyghur region of China.

The UK was the first country in the world to require businesses to report on the steps they have taken to tackle modern slavery. The landmark provision in section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires organisations, including financial institutions, with a turnover of £36m or more, to report annually on the steps they have taken to prevent modern slavery in their operations and supply chains.

The prevalence of modern slavery and complexity of global supply chains means that it is highly unlikely that any sector or company is immune from the risks of modern slavery, including those in financial services. The Government encourages companies to monitor their supply chains with rigour to uncover and remedy any associations they may find with forced labour or other labour abuses.

The Government has already committed to take forward an ambitious package of changes to strengthen the Act’s transparency legislation, including mandating the specific reporting topics that statements must cover and introducing financial penalties for organisations that fail to comply.

To further bolster our approach to modern slavery, on 24 March 2021, the Government announced a review of the 2014 Modern Slavery Strategy. As part of the strategy review we will consider how to strengthen our approach to transparency in supply chains, including in relation to financial institutions. A revised strategy will allow us to build on the considerable progress we have made to date, adapt our approach to the evolving nature of these terrible crimes, and continue our international leadership in tackling modern slavery.

1st Dec 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what information her Department holds on where the Cardiff model of violence prevention has been implemented in the UK.

The Government's 2018 Serious Violence Strategy for England and Wales sets out the expectation that, in line with the Cardiff Model for violence prevention, Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) work with local hospitals to implement the sharing of appropriate health data to tackle serious violence. Information standard ISB1594, which applies to all Accident and Emergency departments, sets out the details of the minimum dataset to be provided.

To support local areas in the delivery of their response to serious violence, from 2019-2022 we have invested £105.5 million into the development of 18 Violence Reduction Units (VRUs) in the police force areas worst affected by serious violence, which account for 80% of all hospital admissions for injury with a sharp object in England and Wales. A list of all 18 funded areas is included here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/355m-to-support-young-people-at-risk-of-involvement-in-serious-violence

VRUs combine the collective expertise of local agency partners, including those from health settings, to identify the drivers of serious violence and agree a multi-agency response to them. This includes the proactive sharing of data between health and other partners, emulating the Cardiff Model. The Home Office holds significant management information pertaining to VRU progress across a number of key priorities, including effective sharing of data with partners. As per the published 2019/20 VRU Evaluation, all 18 areas have made good progress in generating and sharing data across numerous partners to inform their direction of travel.

Beyond the 18 areas in receipt of VRU funding, we will also be introducing the Serious Violence Duty through the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which will require authorities and bodies delivering public services, including health, to collaborate in preventing and reducing serious violence in all areas across England and Wales.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to improve her Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

Correspondence within the Home Office is subject to a 20-day service level agreement. Yet there has been a very significant increase in the volume of correspondence following COVID lockdown periods and also more recently following the Afghanistan crisis.

To address these increases in operational/casework correspondence an action plan has been implemented, which includes recruiting additional staff, to clear backlogs and drive up performance.

18th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what visiting rights are planned for the proposed new immigration removal centre for women at Hassockfield for (a) the legal profession, (b) chaplaincy, and (c) friends and family.

The rights of all detained individuals are protected by the Detention Centre Rules 2001 (DCR), published Operating Standards for immigration removal centres (IRCs) and individuals under escort and Detention Services Orders (DSO). This framework includes specific guidance on visits, as set out in DSO 04/2012 ‘Visitors and visiting procedures’.

In addition to the DCR and Operating Standards for IRCs, the provision of religious services is mandated in relevant sections of the service provider contracts and service level agreements relating to religious affairs. All IRCs have a number of appointed religious chaplains in place.

Hassockfield will be operated in line with these provisions.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
10th Mar 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many officials were employed with responsibility for examining and making decisions on asylum applications in December 2020.

The number of officials who were responsible for examining and making decisions on asylum applications in December 2020 is not recorded and held in a reportable format. To obtain this information would require detailed reporting against multiple cost centres and could only be obtained at disproportionate costs.

However, the Home Office are able to provide the number of asylum case working staff for 2019/2020. This data can be found in ASY_04 of the published Transparency data:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-protection-data-February-2021

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment her Department has made of the implications for her policies of recommendation 33 of the Law Commission's September 2020 report, Protection of Official Data.

As set out in the Queen’s Speech, the Government will be introducing new legislation to tackle the evolving threat of hostile activity by states. As part of this work, we are considering a range of powers, including reviewing the Official Secrets Acts.

We welcome the work of the Law Commission in their review on the Protection of Official Data, and are carefully considering their recommendations. This work is ongoing and has not yet reached a conclusion.

8th Feb 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with reference to the Queen's Speech background briefing, published 19 December 2019, when the Government plans to publish its response to the Law Commission's report on Protection of Official Data.

As set out in the Queen’s Speech, the Government will be introducing new legislation to tackle the evolving threat of hostile activity by states. As part of this work, we are considering a range of powers, including reviewing the Official Secrets Acts.

We welcome the work of the Law Commission in their review on the Protection of Official Data, and are carefully considering their recommendations. This work is ongoing and has not yet reached a conclusion.

21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people have been granted visa extensions under the scheme of free one-year visa extensions for health workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

Since the free extension was introduced in March 2020 we have extended the visas of more than 7000 eligible healthcare professionals, and their dependants.

More details of the scheme can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/thousands-more-health-workers-to-benefit-from-visa-extensions

21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people there are whose employers have told UK Visas and Immigration that they are eligible for the free one-year visa extensions for health workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

Since the free one-year extension scheme was introduced in March 2020, we have extended the visas of more than 7000 eligible healthcare professionals, and their dependants. This work remains ongoing.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/thousands-more-health-workers-to-benefit-from-visa-extensions

The available published data shows the numbers of visas granted in each work route but does not provide any data on the specific numbers that have been granted on this scheme nor the number of notifications received by UKVI from employers.

Data on visas granted by category can be found in Vis_D02 at:

entry-clearance-visa-outcomes-datasets-sep-2020.xlsx

21st Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many people's biometric residence permits UK Visas and Immigration has received with respect to the free one-year visa extensions for health workers during the covid-19 outbreak.

Since the free extension was introduced in March 2020 we have extended the visas of more than 7000 eligible healthcare professionals, and their dependants.

The available published data shows the numbers of visas granted in each work route but does not provide any data on the specific numbers that have been granted on this scheme nor the number of Biometric Residence Permits received by UKVI.

Data on visas granted by category can be found in Vis_D02 at:

entry-clearance-visa-outcomes-datasets-sep-2020.xlsx

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she has made an assessment of whether any of the people subject to orders to deprive UK nationals of citizenship on the grounds that it was conducive to the public good for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 were victims of trafficking.

The UK has an obligation to identify victims of modern slavery and human trafficking who are in the UK, and fulfils this obligation through the National Referral Mechanism.

First Responder Organisations, including certain parts of the Home Office, are responsible for identifying possible victims and making referrals into the National Referral Mechanism, as set out in the ‘Modern Slavery: Statutory Guidance for England and Wales (under s49 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015) and Non-Statutory Guidance for Scotland and Northern Ireland’.

Figures for conducive deprivation orders, which are made under Section 40(2) of the 1981 British Nationality Act, have been published as part of the HM Government Transparency Report: Disruptive and Investigatory Powers. Four reports have been published to date in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2020.

Figures are provided on an annual basis and we do not break that figure down further.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when she plans to publish the annual report on Disruptive and Investigatory Powers for the year 2019.

The Government is committed to publishing the annual Transparency Report on Disruptive Powers. The 2018 to 2019 report was published on 19 March 2020. The 2020 report will be published in due course.

19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she has taken to open a review into citizenship-deprivation powers, as required by section 40B of the British Nationality Act 1981 and which her Department’s 2018-19 report on Disruptive and Investigatory Powers described as anticipated to be conducted during 2019.

The first review of the power to deprive an individual of British citizenship under section 40(4A) of the British Nationality Act 1981, as provided for by section 40B of the Act, was conducted by David Anderson QC, Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation. His report was published in April 2016, (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/518120/David_Anderson_QC_-_CITIZENSHIP_REMOVAL__web_.pdf).

The next review of these powers will be commissioned once a suitable reviewer has been identified. To date the power in section 40(4A) has not been used.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th Jan 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many women were deprived of citizenship on the grounds that it was conducive to the public good in (a) 2016, (b) 2017 and (c) 2018.

Figures for numbers of conducive deprivation orders, which are made under Section 40(2) of the 1981 British Nationality Act, have been published as part of the HM Government Transparency Report: Disruptive and Investigatory Powers. Four reports have been published to date in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2020.

Figures are provided on an annual basis and we do not break those figures down further.

14th Dec 2020
What steps she is taking to ensure that people can enrol their biometric data while covid-19 restrictions are in place.

We acknowledge the impact of global travel and health restrictions on people in, or seeking to come to, the UK.

As restrictions eased, commercial partner immigration services reopened in a phased and COVID secure way. UK capacity now exceeds pre-covid levels.

UKVI began reusing existing fingerprint biometrics, for certain UK customer cohorts across summer 2020, allowing customers to progress their applications.

22nd Oct 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether she plans to bring forward legislative proposals to enact the Hong Kong British National (Overseas) visa announced on 22 October 2020.

The Hong Kong British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) Visa route will open from 31 January, and will allow BN(O)s and their family members to come to the UK to live, work and study.

The Immigration Rules for the route were put before Parliament on 22 October which set out further details of the route.

16th Jan 2020
To ask the Minister for the Home Department, whether the 2018 Annual Report of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner has been submitted to the Prime Minister; and what the timetable is for its publication.

The 2018 Annual Report of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner will be formally submitted to the Prime Minister shortly, and is expected to be published and laid before Parliament.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
20th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to his oral contribution of 24 May 2021, Official Report, Column 16, if he will publish the statistical evidential basis for Northern Ireland veterans having been subject to vexatious claims and prosecutions; and how (a) vexatious claims and (b) vexatious prosecutions are defined in his Department's analysis.

It is clear that the current system for addressing the legacy of Northern Ireland's past is not working well for anybody, most importantly victims and survivors. If our focus remains on achieving criminal justice outcomes, we will fail almost every family, as well as wider society. We have therefore put forward bold proposals which focus on information recovery and reconciliation, measures which are most likely to produce tangible benefits for victims and wider society, to effectively address legacy issues and help Northern Ireland to look to the future. The Northern Ireland Office Command Paper of July 2021 sets out some relevant statistics that have informed this proposed approach.

Leo Docherty
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
16th Sep 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, with reference to the report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Democracy and Human Rights in the Gulf, entitled The cost of repression, published on 6 July 2021, what assessment the Government has made of the implications for its policies of the findings of that report that the Royal Saudi Air Force and the Joint Incident Assessment Team, beneficiaries of the Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF), have been accused of perpetrating illegal drone strikes against civilians in Yemen and conducting inadequate investigations into potential war crimes in Yemen; and if the Government will suspend GSF programmes pending an independent inquiry into their human rights implications.

All training and assistance to both the Royal Saudi Air Force (RSAF) and the Joint Incident Assessment Team (JIAT) - as well as any programmes funded by the Gulf Strategy Fund (GSF) - are subject to an Overseas Security Justice and Assistance Assessment (OSJA). These OSJAs consider human rights concerns about the institution/unit that will receive the assistance, are refreshed on a yearly basis, and are endorsed by Ministers.

GSF funded assistance to the Royal Saudi Land Forces is intended to support Saudi Arabia's efforts to protect their national security while improving their compliance with international humanitarian law.

James Heappey
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence) (Minister for the Armed Forces)
30th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what recent progress his Department has made on bringing forward secondary legislation under the Elections Act 2022 to implement his policies on overseas voting.

The secondary legislation to deliver the overseas electors change is expected to be made and come into force in January 2024.

30th Jun 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what his planned timetable is for bringing forward secondary legislation under the Elections Act 2022 to implement his policies on overseas voting.

The secondary legislation to deliver the overseas electors change is expected to be made and come into force in January 2024.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

11th Jan 2024
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people in prison have been held on remand for longer than (a) six months, (b) 12 months and (c) 2 years by offence group.

Information relating to the time spent on custodial remand is not centrally held by the Ministry of Justice. To obtain the data to answer this question would involve a manual interrogation of court records which would result in a disproportionate cost to the department.

Edward Argar
Minister of State (Ministry of Justice)
13th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if he will publish a list of all court buildings constructed during the 1990s.

As set out in the answer of 4 September 2023, Official Report, PQ 197380, Departments have been surveying properties and depending on the assessment of the presence of RAAC have decided to either continue to monitor the structure, reinforce it, or replace it. This is in line with the approach recommended by the Institution of Structural Engineers.

At this stage, the Government does not believe it would be in the public interest to pre-empt that process by releasing piecemeal information which may lead to false assumptions about individual court buildings.

Mike Freer
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
4th Sep 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what recent assessment he has made of the extent of the use of reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) in (a) courts and (b) prisons.

The professional advice from experts on Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) has evolved over time, from advice in the 1990s that RAAC did not pose a safety hazard to more recent advice on identifying and assessing structural adequacy. The Government's approach throughout has been to follow the best technical advice. Departments have been surveying properties and depending on the assessment of the RAAC, decided to either continue to monitor the structure, reinforce it, or replace it. This is in line with the approach recommended by the Institution of Structural Engineers

In line with that expert driven approach, we have been working for several months to identify where we have the potential for RAAC to be present across the HMPPS estate. We are commissioning further surveys and assessments across a number of buildings to assess as soon as possible whether RAAC is present and what further action may be required. Mitigation and action plans from those assets containing RAAC will then be put in place.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
2nd May 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how much of his Department's budget was spent on food in prisons in each of the last five years; and what proportion of the food supplied to prisons in each of those years was produced by UK farmers.

The spending information is not collected centrally and could not be provided without incurring disproportionate cost. Prison food budgets are determined locally (by the Governor in public sector prisons, or the Director in privately managed prisons) and kept under review as part of normal budget allocation planning.

While the contract requires our food supplier to provide a monthly country of origin report, it is not possible from this to disaggregate supply from British farming.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
9th Feb 2023
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many people were falsely imprisoned in the last five years; and how many and what proportion of those people have been held in Serco-run prisons.

This information is not held centrally.

Damian Hinds
Minister of State (Education)
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021.

Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance. The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department.

James Cartlidge
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
2nd Feb 2021
What progress the Government has made on the UK's accession to the Lugano Convention 2007.

The UK applied to re-join the Lugano Convention on 8 April 2020. The next steps are for the existing contracting parties to consider the UK’s application and to provide their unanimous agreement. Switzerland has already agreed to the UK’s accession and Norway and Iceland publicly declared their support over a year ago.

UK participation in Lugano is in the mutual interest of the UK and the EU. It establishes clear rules around which country’s courts will hear a case and enables the recognition and enforcement of judgments between different countries’ courts in civil commercial and family maintenance cases.

Now that negotiations have successfully concluded, we encourage the EU to approve the UK’s application with all appropriate urgency.

Alex Chalk
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
8th Dec 2020
What steps he is taking to ensure the equitable treatment of freedom of information requests by his Department.

It is important that freedom of information requests are handled in the correct manner and it is equally important to ensure that there are steps in place to achieve this.

A freedom of information request is a valuable means to obtain information that is not otherwise publicly available and to increase government transparency in line with the legislation.

The MoJ is proudly leading the way across Government on performance handling freedom of information requests. The Department have met the Information Commissioner’s Office performance target of responding to at least 90% of FOI requests in time for over thirty-six months consecutively.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
3rd Nov 2020
What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on bringing forward legislative proposals to regulate the use of facial recognition technology as evidence.

The Lord Chancellor or Ministers have not held specific meetings on this but regularly discuss a broad range of criminal justice matters with Cabinet colleagues and others.

29th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Answer of 23 January 2020 to Question 4315 on Justice and Security Act 2013, if he will make it his policy to consult (a) civil society and (b) the legal profession on scope of the planned review of the operation of sections 6 to 11 of the Justice and Security Act 2013.

As the answer provided to the Honourable Member’s earlier questions on the planned review of the operation of sections 6 to 11 of the Justice and Security Act 2013 advised, discussions are ongoing and an announcement will be made in due course.

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Answer of 11 April 2019 to Question 240976 on the Justice and Security Act 2013, how he plans to determine the terms of reference for the review of the operation of sections 6 to 11 of the Justice and Security Act 2013; and whether he will consult civil society and the legal profession on the nature and scope of that review.

Further to the answer provided by Minister of State Lucy Frazer MP QC to the Honourable Member’s questions in April of last year on the Justice and Security Act 2013, I can advise discussions are ongoing and an announcement will be made in due course

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Answer of 11 April 2019 to Question 240976 on the Justice and Security Act 2013, when he plans to announce the review of the operation of sections 6 to 11 of the Justice and Security Act 2013.

Further to the answer provided by Minister of State Lucy Frazer MP QC to the Honourable Member’s questions in April of last year on the Justice and Security Act 2013, I can advise discussions are ongoing and an announcement will be made in due course

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
16th Jan 2020
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, with reference to the Answer of 11 April 2019 to Question 240976 on the Justice and Security Act 2013, whether he has appointed a reviewer to undertake the review of the operation of Sections 6 to 11 of the Justice and Security Act 2013.

Further to the answer provided by Minister of State Lucy Frazer MP QC to the Honourable Member’s questions in April of last year on the Justice and Security Act 2013, I can advise discussions are ongoing and an announcement will be made in due course

Chris Philp
Minister of State (Home Office)
9th Jun 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what his Department's policy is on (a) what, (b) how and (c) for how long biometric data that is relevant to (i) ongoing and (ii) concluded Northern Ireland legacy cases is stored.

The Northern Ireland Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill contains provisions which will ensure that biometrics are available for use in future investigations by the Independent Commission for Reconciliation and Information Recovery (ICRIR) into Troubles-related deaths or serious injuries.

These biometrics will only be retained for a finite period to allow the investigations to be completed, and must be destroyed by no later than the end of a reasonable period after the conclusion of the work of the ICRIR.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

The Northern Ireland Office receives a significant amount of correspondence across the Department’s wide and varied portfolio. The Department has a robust process in place to manage and respond to queries in line with our obligations.

16th Jun 2021
What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues on the potential contribution to easing trade flows between Northern Ireland and Great Britain of the UK securing veterinary and phytosanitary agreements with the EU.

The UK is working hard and in good faith to ensure the Protocol operates in a sustainable way that works for the people of Northern Ireland. We have proposed an ambitious veterinary agreement, based on our respective high standards, to reduce checks and controls. We need the EU to meaningfully engage with these proposals to ease burdens in Northern Ireland and provide a sustainable basis for the Protocol.

15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance. The Office for the Secretary of State for Scotland’s correspondence response times are regularly monitored and internal processes have been improved to ensure members of the public are responded to in a timely manner.

Alister Jack
Secretary of State for Scotland
27th Jan 2021
What assessment he has made of the effect of the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement on the Scottish fishing industry.

Leaving the EU means we have left the Common Fisheries Policy and are now recognised as an independent coastal state – something the EU refused to recognise until very late in the negotiations.

The agreement allows for a transfer of 25% of quota, previously caught by EU vessels in our waters, to UK fishermen.

The agreement also provides for tariff-free access to the EU market for Scotland’s fantastic fisheries products.

11th Nov 2020
What discussions he has had with Cabinet colleagues and Scottish Government Ministers on a four-nations approach to tackling the covid-19 outbreak over Christmas 2020.

UK Government Ministers and officials are in close touch with their counterparts in all of the Devolved Administrations about the UK-wide approach to tackling the covid-19 outbreak over Christmas 2020.

9th Feb 2022
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what recent assessment he has made of the potential impact of planned UK trade deals on Welsh hill farmers.

Wales’ identity is intrinsically linked to its landscape and the farming communities who work that land. The Government is committed to supporting Welsh farmers in seizing new opportunities the trade deals bring.

The Department for International Trade’s Wales-based team will help Welsh business, including farmers and food producers, grow abroad.

David T C Davies
Secretary of State for Wales
15th Oct 2021
To ask the Secretary of State for Wales, what steps he is taking to improve his Department's response times to correspondence from members of the public.

The Government recognises the importance of responding to members of the public in an effective and timely manner, and the Cabinet Office published an updated Guide to Handling Correspondence for government departments and agencies in July 2021.

The guidance reasserts the standards for handling correspondence, including a 20 working day deadline for departments to respond to members of the public, criteria outlining when a response to a member of the public is required, and when a piece of correspondence from a member of the public should be transferred to another department. Following publication of the updated guidance, all departments have been reminded that they must follow the processes outlined in the guidance.

The Office of the Secretary of State for Wales has a 15 working day deadline to reply to correspondence where a response is required. Correspondence response times are regularly monitored and reported to the Departmental Board. Internal processes have been improved to ensure members of the public are responded to in a timely manner.

Simon Hart
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Chief Whip)